A gay friend has come to visit. However he has decided not to stay with us. It is not because he is gay, but that comes into it just a little bit. It is not us. It is not our house, as ramshackle as it is. It is not our children, he adores them. It is not our dogs, he ignores them. It is not the cats, he pampers them. He is staying at a bed and breakfast about five minutes away. We have to collect him after breakfast then take him back before bed. Then what is it?
It needs a little explanation. It is not as simple as it may seem. He is Argentinian. His paternal grandfather was French and he has an entirely French name but speaks very little French, just gets by one might say. His mother is Irish. He learned some English from her as a child but she mainly speaks Spanish having arrived in Argentina as a young girl. He arrived in Zurich when he came to Europe, so learned Swiss German and parallel improved his English. He spent quite a lot of time in England as well. Then he met somebody and moved to Italian speaking Switzerland and on the basis of his Spanish learned Italian like falling off a log. Now what has that got to do with this visit or his choice?
Well, he is an actor. He went to drama school in Buenos Aires and rounded off his studies with more courses in Zurich and London. He mainly does stage work, specialising in works by Dario Fo. To earn a better income he also does small part acting for films using his several languages. So, what has this to do with staying in a bed and breakfast instead of here?
His professional life takes him to a lot of places. In most of them he now has friends. Most of them are like him, that is to say gay. Because they have that in common he is treated as though he, as he puts it, was made of porcelain. He is rarely allowed space and time to himself. That goes to the extent that even if a friend offers him a room with en suite bathroom or even a little studio flat, they are ever present. It is not that there are seduction scenes or anything like that. Indeed, everybody knows he is in a single, permanent relationship. Occasionally his partner travels with him. He also feels that never pays his way. For him that is as though something is stolen from him. His pride and independence he concluded. He decided that whilst visiting us he would treat himself. He explained and asked us to book the bed and breakfast. He calls us when he has had breakfast, has showered and so on and in the evening tells us when he would like to go. He is not beholden to us and we are not always on top of him. As he said last night, it also allows him neither to be gay or straight, just with friends.
We talked about it after he was gone last night and know what? We wish that friends and relatives who kind of plonk themselves in the middle of our home, start having opinions about our life we do not want or need, keep us up after we are ready to fall off our chairs and then get up demanding breakfast literally minutes before we have lunch would occasionally do the same.