This is the first weekend there this year, and is therefore the first weekend there since the living-without-masks new year resolution came into effect.
On Saturday night we went out to dinner. My mother, my brother Richard, his girlfriend/nurse Tamsin and his son Lee.
I had a couple of large glasses of wine at Richard's before we went out, two (three?) pints of strong local cider at the pub before dinner, and loads of wine with the meal. I was fairly drunk, and so was Richard. Mother was sober (driving). I don't know how far gone Lee and Tamsin were -- I wasn't watching.
So we talked. No masks, precious few inhibitions. I started with the talk about how I've deliberately decided to discard my masks.
Now Richard has no masks and no inhibitions in his daily life anyway. Richard, being Richard, turned the conversation round to sex and asked if I was getting any. He was honestly surprised that I wasn't.
Richard claims that, if Tamsin ended up under a bus, he'd be in the market for rabid-monkey animal sex with anyone available. He says that after his divorce and before he started with Tam he would take any skirt available except the nurses on his ward. He made it very clear that he thought every male on the planet was wired the same.
I'm not. I said so. For me, the first 85% of the sex act takes place in headspace. If the right combination of switches inside my head have been flipped, I'm ready for action. If not, the whole sex thing doesn't happen for me. This is, it seems, a completely new concept for him. He has his share of fetishes, but he's quite happy with plain old random animal sex.
And all this conversation goes on over the table we're sharing with our mother, his girlfriend and his son.
Life without masks. Will it always be this interesting?
Tamsin knew what Richard was like before she took him on.
Mum's watched him grow up. And I grew up alongside him.
Lee sums him up best. "My dad's strange," he says, "we all know that."
But I don't know that any one of them knew quite how strange I was until last night.
And they're immediately, totally accepting.
I love my family.
And was there a poem about it? Of course there was. It's on a postcard on the way to Rutland. It'll probably appear on the back cover of the Eastercon edition of Convers[at]ions too.