Toronto
3 min

Bearing your soul in the wilderness

I love nature, but it scares the bejeezus out of me

Happy mid-summer!I hope you are all enjoying your lazy hazy crazy hollandaisy days of summer, and that there are vacations galore to write home about. Get out of the city and have some fun. Send us a postcard. Summer vacation brings with it so many options for gay good times. Indeed, my gay-lesbo-tri-bi-trans-curious friends, it’s summertime in Canada, and the world is your oyster.

You could go to a cottage. Straight people have been doing it for years, and now the gays are moving in. Cottages are good for learning things like how to read really old magazines as if they’re new and exciting. Or for the gay boys, I’ve seen them master the gentle art of lighting a mosquito coil, while still fancifully holding a gin and tonic and taking a haul off a DuMaurier cigarette. Impressive.

Sometimes I wish I could have gay-man flair. But we’ve all seen the shoes I’ve chosen with some outfits. I’m not even close. Sometimes I wish I had a little more of the feminine side. When I see a gay man arrange flowers, I feel like Big Foot. The frilliest thing I do is an occasional manicure. The last manicure I got, the girl kept trying to convince me to file my nails square-shaped. I was like, “No, that’s okay,” with a smile. She kept pushing. I was like, “No, really, it’s not really me.”

She wouldn’t give up: “Why not?” Finally I blurted out: “Because I don’t want to look like Barbra Streisand.” At which point — yes, that’s right, you guessed it — she showed me her own square-shaped nails and looked hurt. What was I thinking? I’m too gay for manicures.

But I digress. We were talking about cottage life. Ooh, the cottage is great for games! There’s the quintessential cottage game — I know you’ve played it — called Have You Seen My Tennis Racquet, There’s A Bat In The Bathroom?

You could play Clue, Yahtzee or there’s always the funny game I once played at the cottage: It’s Morning And Your Friend’s Crabby Girlfriend Is In The Kitchen Making Coffee Naked. That wasn’t pretty. Others maybe, but not Sharon. If I can quote from the most overheard Pride phrase: “Why is it the ones you least want to see naked who always are?”

If I could have removed my eyes, I would have. That’s not quite as fun a game as Clue; instead of Miss Scarlet in the library with the candlestick, it’s nude Sharon in the knotty-pine kitchen with the Mr Coffee filter. I am thinking an actual murder with a lead pipe in the library might have been less frightening to come upon. You never know whose girlfriend is a nudist until you get to a cottage.

But, oh, the cottagey sounds of the wind in the trees, the call of the loon. Oh, wait. No. It’s Sharon again. This time, she’s in the canoe with a beer and her boobies flapping hither and yon. Please, God. If you have any mercy, sink the canoe.

And who hasn’t at some point been lulled to sleep by the sound of the water against the dock and the dulcet refrain, “I think something’s wrong with the toilet.”

The cottage is a wonderful place to learn new things about yourself. In fact, if you, like me, thought you were a bit jumpy at the sight of a patchy squirrel making its way toward you in the city, the wonder of a blue heron on the water near your canoe, spreading its seeming 25-foot Pterodactyl-like wingspan, might cause you to scream like Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween and desperately start paddling your canoe backward yelling, “Back it up! Back it up!”

I love nature, but it scares the bejeezus out of me. Oh, wait… no, that’s just Sharon again, squatting down to pick up some kindling in the forest. Oh dear. Ooh, that’s a nasty place to get a mosquito bite.

Then there’s camping. Whoa. I totally give it up to the camping lesbians. I don’t know how they do it. Hearty souls from braver stock than I. Camping is beyond cottage terrors. I don’t know what frightens me more: the snap of a twig implying tromping animal nearby or eating food that bark has fallen into. Not for some gals, though. I’ve met them personally, the lesbian who can stir the macaroni with a stick and happily trundle off into the woods with her copy of Teen People and two leaves to take care of business.

Come to think of it, this summer I might stay in the city. If you do go to the cottage, wear sun block, drive carefully and bring bear repellent — Sharon’s going to Muskoka.