Recently I tried to share something that I enjoy with some friends. Actually it wasn’t my idea, our friends asked to share the experience with us… I was like “Great! The more the merrier!” My partner and I go camping quite regularly at a gay campgrounds and have spoken of it often to our friends. So these two guys (a couple) told us that they wanted to go. They were very excited about it and in their anticipation invited us over for dinner to discuss the campgrounds and what would take place. The campgrounds are gay and lesbian and clothing is optional. At first it seemed they were both very excited and while we discussed the upcoming weekend we enjoyed a couple of drinks and some great food, our friends went all out to make us feel welcome. Its hard to simply describe the experience so we went online to the campgrounds website to show our friends that the place looked like. They were totally excited…at least until the younger of the couple (the one that really wanted to go) jokingly said to us “Help me find a nice 18 year old”… to which his partner blew a fuse saying “If that’s why we’re going then you can count me out.” (Later I found out that the older of the two had told another friend that he was not looking forward to it… he would not walk around naked and he didn’t want to look at anyone else naked, honestly I for one didn’t want to see him naked).
So the day of our big camp trip with our friends arrived. I was very excited to share the experience with them but I should have thought the whole thing out a bit better, these guys are really not the “camping” type… they generally try to associate with people and experience things a little more upper scale than our weekend was about to afford them; the most we had to offer was a camper, something inside me was saying “This is not a good idea”. So as to make our guests more comfortable we kenneled all three of our dogs which is something I hate to do, I felt so bad putting our dogs in prison just so my friends would be more comfortable.
I was nervous as we set up our site, our guests would be arriving shortly and I wanted to make sure that the site was clean and orderly before they got there. When they arrived I was relieved when my friends toured our camper and commented “This is nice!” among other exclamations of approval. Its appeared that my nervousness was unfounded. Unfortunately nature had other things in mind, before the night was out it started raining… I mean POURING! So our camp trip was off to a rough start. If it weren’t for the dance club I think our friends would have packed up and left however they stayed and dance the night away. Now I can understand that they got a bit miffed that night because my partner had a bit (or I should say a lot) too much to drink and even in our confined area had trouble finding the bathroom, when he gets that drunk he becomes confused, especially when stumbling from a drunken stupor. Unfortunately he woke up or guests trying to find the toilet. Something that my “real” friends would have laughed it off and it would have later become an amusing talking point when recounting this unique weekend, and to our faces this was the case however we later learned that they described by husband as an out of control alcoholic that ruined their weekend by interrupting their slumber.
Of course, in their phony insincerity the next morning they laughed about my partner’s midnight exploration. It was going to be an amusing anecdote, or so I thought. As the day progressed the older of our two guests starting being the most critical of everything… critical of the naked people, critical of the weather, critical of the size of the camper, critical of the smell of the bathroom… even critical of the fact that the campgrounds referred to the body of water on the grounds as a lake when he insisted at the most it would qualify as a pond…. on and on and on, he began referring the “lake” is I had proven it was based on the definition of a lake versus a pond on Google as the “Lakey -Lakey” in his attempt to be derogatory and attack the campgrounds in any way or manner possible. I actually found myself avoiding the two of them because I was so tired of hearing the complaints, god damn-it this was only one weekend. If you are miserable chalk it up to an experience you won’t repeat but don’t ruin it for everyone else.
The only relief was that the campground had planned a big party that afternoon so I knew that there would be something for them to look forward to, in fact, everyone else we had ever brought to this particular themed weekend enjoyed it so much I was sure that they would have a blast, it was a mini Mardi-Gras… but wouldn’t you know, even though it was sunny for most of the day a few minutes before the party was set to start it started to rain. It rained and rained and rained. The party still went on but since it was outdoors everyone carried umbrellas and ran from one covering to the next. I knew my friends were disappointed but just think about the people that had thrown this shindig… I mean they had spent a fortune planning it and invested a huge amount of time only to have it rained out preparing, needless to say it was not the time we had anticipated nor looked forward to but my friends certainly could not blame me for mother nature…could they? Yes. We found out later that they had indeed implied that the weekend was ruined because of all the rain. They were miserable.
As miserable as nature was making things for my friends, my friends were making me equally miserable. I was honestly getting tired of trying to entertain them, explaining over and over again, “Its not normally like this, its beautiful here when it doesn’t rain. Don’t let this bad weather influence your thinking.” Where did they think they were going for crying out loud… it was the WOODS! How could two gay men… even as sophisticated and snobbish as these two had to realize that they would out in the wilderness and at the whim of mother nature. Okay so not only was I beginning to feel bad about bringing my friends because I knew at this point it was not what they expected, I was actually beginning to blame myself for the weather. The real pisser was that despite having forewarned my friends that these were a party campgrounds they started bitching about the fact that they were severely lacking sleep because of staying out late at the dance club and of course brought up again my partner’s midnight bathroom run, only this time not recollected in a fun way.
I need to back up a bit because before the party started and before the rain the sun was shining. It was beautiful… the pool was packed with people sunning… many in the nude but just as many in their bathing suits. Two other friends had arrived that morning. Unlike my current camper guests these two friends enjoy camping and were well aware that sometimes its rains. These two new arrivals often stayed in our camper with us, they like the couple that were our guest are well off financially but not as snobbish. So the six of us enjoyed the pool and cocktails prior to the rainstorm debacle. (For consistency to this story I need to mention there was also another friend camping on his own that weekend and we saw him off and on too.) Now our new friends that had arrived that morning were camping on a day pass which meant that at 6PM they had to leave. While swimming the one friend asked if they could stay the night saying they would upgrade from a day to weekend camper. I saw no problem with this because our camper sleeps six. I told them this was okay because while our other friends were staying on the roll-out sofa bed we could break down the kitchen table because it too converted to a bed so we had the room.
Now fast forward to after the party… our late arriving friends upgraded their pass from a day pass to an overnight pass and stayed after 6PM in anticipation of staying in our camper with us, and of course since they were not limited by a long drive decided to imbibe along with the rest of us. I did not think that inviting our extra guests to stay would be an issue with our original guest as we had all net some 20 years earlier… we were all very familiar with each other so it wasn’t like I was dumping strangers on them. It was just that I didn’t know the two planned friends were so “foo-foo”. I should have known better, these guys were going to bitch and fuss about anything the weekend wrought, I mean after all, all we were going to do after a night of drinking was go to bed and everyone would be leaving in the morning (or afternoon depending on when they woke up).
These guys were so infuriating and one person had even commented they were surprised the snobby couple had even chosen to come with us because they generally only consider 5-Star hotels as acceptable. These were things I didn’t know about our friends, I had always believed them to be easy going, I thought they were sincere. I had no idea they were so stuffy. As I noted older of the couple the guy I was saying bitched the most “Why are they still here? Where are they going to stay” and I said that I had told them they could sleep in our camper and this was when I saw his true side. His features changed, no longer the snarky stodgy stuck-up queen he had been all weekend he was now angry and said “They are not staying with us! There’s no room!” Now this bothered me a bit because this was my camper and I pretty much felt like I could have anyone I wanted stay in my camper, it was designed to sleep 6 comfortably. When I tried to explain that they asked me in pool that afternoon, what was I supposed to say? We were all there for a good time and we were all friends I never got the opportunity as he turned and stormed away. I was in shock. This wasn’t the same man I had known for years. This was a nasty creep who did nothing but bitch and complain and make everyone miserable, even his own partner said he goes over the top at time. I didn’t know what to do. My friends whom I had already committed to sleeping in our camper had now been ousted, end of subject, drop the mic!
I mentioned earlier that we had another friend that was camping on his own. He has a rather large camper, its a “party camper” that’s meant to sleep large groups of people, I believe with all the pop-outs its sleeps 10 and he was all alone. Still seething a bit because I was allowing someone else to dictate to me who and who could not sleep in my own camper I went to our friend and told him I was in quite a bind. He didn’t know the couple that was now homeless as well as I did, in fact that day may have been the first time he ever met them so I really didn’t know how to broach the subject but I did, I obtained permission for our late arriving friends to stay with him. Why was I doing all this? Why should I care about anyone’s feelings at this point??? All I was doing was trying to please everyone. Here I was inconveniencing on friend for the benefit of two other friends because two other friends didn’t was to share sleeping space with people who were supposed to be their friend. I was getting sick of all of the above, I was doing my best to not lose my temper. This is CAMPING for heavens sake… even the most posh person in the world has to be prepared for thing to happen when your camping. Rain, mosquitos, flat tires, animals, poison ivy… and sometimes campers accommodate other campers who are in a bind.
Okay, so as I’ve said, “The Woods Campground” is a party experience. You don’t go unless you expect heavy drinking and late nights… It’s gay, it’s adult, and it’s camping…what less or more can you expect? So I’ve told our “rude” guests whom at this point I even question are still friends that our other friends won’t be staying with us. The “bitcher” tried to lighten the mood by saying again “There just isn’t enough room”. GOT IT! NO ROOM!
This LONG weekend was almost over, thank goodness, there was one more “mid-night” party and we decided to go dancing arriving shortly before the event started at mid-night. It was a lot of fun. We were drinking, dancing and the rain had finally stopped. At last maybe this was going to end on a good note. I was in a 5 way dance group with my guests (my partner won’t dance so I was on the floor with the two who were staying in our camper and the two who had been banned from our camper) and as we danced the younger of the two starting moving away from our small group followed by his partner… they ended up on the other side of the dance floor so leaving my two friends I danced my way over to them… I jokingly said loudly over the BUMP, BUMP, BUMP of the music “You left me” and the younger responded… “You need to hang with the beautiful people” and that’s when I noticed we were surrounded by what they call in the gay world “Twinks” or very young(ish) men. They all looked to be in their late teens, early twenties. Anyway, I didn’t need this phoniness, my guest might have needed the company of young beautiful men to pretend they too were still in their youth, however I was not there to try to coax or cozy my way into some drunken group of young people in hopes that I would end up with an “18 year old” as seems to have been the goal of at least one of my guests (remember his partner’s ire at the comment made in their home when we planned this debacle of a trip).
Mid-night was quickly approaching; 11:45 to be exact and we were standing around the bonfire, the campgrounds burn these both Friday and Saturday and they are huge. So much fun to sit around an talk, quiet away from the dance club and just fun to watch all the young gay people (men and women) frolicking (not sexually) in a playful way, just having a good time.
So of my guest that were staying in my camper, the older and bitchier of the couple was complaining as usual, the rain, the smells, the whole experience was not what he expected. I have to digress a moment and explain that generally after the dance club closes (actually before it closes) men start gathering around the lake area for trysts, little sexual romps in the woods, in the dark. I have engage in midnight walks myself but I generally go to watch, I have but rarely participate, I’m getting to be too old and its just embarrassing to try to pretend that any of these young fellas would be interested in a man that was old enough to be their father (and in extreme cases grand-father). As he comes to the end of his own drunken rant he tells me “I barely got any sleep last night so tonight at “midnight” I’m locking the camper door… No ‘LAKEY, LAKEY'” (again his derogatory term for the lake which he continued to insist despite being 5 acres in size, was only a pond.). Can you believe this! This guy was threatening me to lock me out of my own camper at midnight! I was so angry I said “Fuck this” and I went to bed leaving the party. Frustrated and disappointed, still hearing the Bump, Bump, Bump of the dance clubs some 500 yards from my camper, still hearing the laughter from the campfire, I lay alone in my own camper for the threat of being locked out at midnight. In all the years (9 at this particular campground and total of 15 if you add the other gay campgrounds we have visited) this was my “WORST EXPERIENCE EVER”! These friends had RUINED my weekend. It was as if everything and anything that didn’t meet with their approval or didn’t go their was my fault. Sharing this experience with them was not the best decision I had ever made. I vowed I would NEVER invite anyone to the campgrounds again. NEVER!
The next morning our friends made it a point to pack up as quickly as they could and were gone, they didn’t even stay for breakfast, they just wanted out. Of course they gave us the “obligatory hug” and thanked us for the weekend… but they and we knew that this was not a sincere gesture.
So months later I have broken my rule… I invited another couple to come to the Woods with us and it turned out to be a much better time… these guys are very different… they didn’t care as much about status or income or prestige and IT DIDN’T RAIN!!! We had a great time, again, that’s what I thought. The reason I’m bringing up this second couple (besides breaking my “NEVER AGAIN” rule was that they told us that our previous guests had related their experience to them; they told these friends not to go saying the camping trip had been “Their worst vacation experience EVER” and that they would “never go again”. Apparently they ranted about everything from my partner waking them up to the smell of the bathrooms to the weather, all the same things they bitched about all weekend long. My response is while this may have been their worse experience they, in turn, ruined my weekend and made that weekend my “WORST EXPERIENCE EVER”… So they know who they are, and I doubt they would ever read this blog but if they do then this message is for you “Don’t have to worry about going again as our guests and we won’t have to worry about nagging, complaining, whining and bitching because we will never ask you again..and please remember, never forget “YOU ARE THE ONES THAT ASKED US TO GO, I DIDN’T BEG YOU!”.
I have to say thought I am SOOOOO LOOKING FORWARD TO MY NEXT CAMPING TRIP!!!
- Rainy weather doesn’t scare Memorial Day campers away (ktvb.com)
- Campground Signs For The Perfect Outdoor Experience (campgroundsigns.com)