|by Rich Barnett
|A Lady Summer
Well, I've gone and done something wild this summer. I've rented my back cottage to a group of ladies from Washington and I'm not sure what to expect.
The first time we ever rented our house was to a church group. Of course, we didn't know it at the time and I had my doubts. But, they proved to be a very quiet bunch of guys and girls. Except for the Sunday hootenannies on the front porch. Around cocktail hour they'd break out the soft drinks and guitars. The clapping and singing would start up and go on for about an hour or so until the spirit subsided. To my great dismay, no one ever spoke in tongues. They spent two summers with us and mostly kept to themselves. We always wondered if the "transformation" literature left behind at the end of the season was aimed at us or left over from one of their members with tendencies.
One summer we rented to a crazed antiques dealer and her nervous Chihuahua dog. She dealt in religious artifacts and wore a dozen rosaries around her neck. She swore there were snakes living in the basement ceiling.
Then there was Billy...who liked to show off his willy.
One year a birthday cake decorated with petite firecrackers rather than candles exploded all over the furniture and walls.
Some people ask me why I bother with it, and I simply reply that I like the money. It's not uncommon in places like Nantucket for homeowners to move into smaller quarters and rent out their places for exorbitant sums of money to the summer people.
Over the last dozen years or so, we've mostly rented to gay boys, so I pretty much know what to expect. There'll always be plenty of vodka and laundry detergent in the house, should I need to borrow a cup. They'll neglect the potted geraniums on the front porch, but they won't get up get up early on Sunday mornings. A trade-off I can live with.
Despite the expensive beaded drink coasters from Bergdorf's placed around the cottage, someone inevitably spills some lube on the bedside table. The air conditioners run non-stop. A few wine glasses get broken. And some adventuresome fella always gets aroused by the weed whacker and the smell of Milford fertilizer in the basement and sneaks a trick down there for a yard boy quickie.
Yes, I know what to expect with fabby boys. But with lesbians, I don't know what's gonna happen. Will they turn my side yard into a putting green? Sit around topless in the Adirondack chairs? Hot wire my Ford F-150 and go joy-riding? Who knows?
Back in the '50s and early '60s when a group of girls summered in Rehoboth they might have stayed at a place like the Betty Newman Cottage for Girls, which I've recently learned about. It was on Delaware Avenue, a few houses away from the Boardwalk. The girls would spend days at the beach and evenings playing the piano and singing and telling stories on each other. Everyone was mad for canasta back then. The doors were locked at 11 p.m. and boys were only permitted in the common areas. There was a full kitchen and a wait staff at the Cottage. And get thisonly outdoor showers. No beach clothing was allowed inside. At any one time there might be 30 girls in the third floor dorm room.
I've got plenty of playing cards, but I worry there are too many highball glasses and not enough casserole dishes in the back cottage. Will I need macram hanging baskets for the purple pirouette petunias or will my white plastic baskets from Ace Hardware suffice? And what about chintz? Do lesbians like floral chintz, or do I need to reupholster some chairs in a nice plaid?
You see what I mean. Uncertainty abounds.
All kidding aside, I'm looking forward to my lady summer. Over the years, my renters have for the most part been wonderful people and we've established some nice friendships. I enjoy showing people a different side of Rehoboth and I'm hoping the gals will drag me into some new situations too.
I've already purchased my first pair of Crocs. A couple of gals shopping for Crocs at the Sea Shell Shop helped me pick out a butch pair.I'm getting ready. Bring on the summer! Bring on the ladies!
Rich Barnett, an unabashed gay, liberal, tree-hugging, whiskey-drinking, Rehoboth cottage-owning story-teller, is working on a book and can be reached at Greenbarn@aol.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 06 May 30, 2008