Daylesford ChillOut

Benjamin-riley_new-e1359604418483Last weekend my boyfriend and I packed up his car and drove to Daylesford for ChillOut; four days of drinking, camping and browsing the kind of antique stores gays retire to the country to run. We camped in my cousin’s front yard, hanging out with her partner, their twin two-year-olds and their friends.

This was my second ChillOut. My first was a few years back, and because I hadn’t yet met my boyfriend, and because my cousin was still unencumbered by children, our entourage consisted of me and about 10 of my cousin’s closest lesbian friends. I mention this because it explains how I ended up one night of the festival at an event called Cream – a lesbian live music night in a local pub.

I learned a painful life lesson that night: it’s very difficult to piss at a urinal when a row of drunk lesbians are screaming abuse at you. It’s even harder when much of that abuse concerns the progress of said piss, and speculation about the size of your dick.

Being one of about five men in a completely packed pub I couldn’t really begrudge the women their presence in the men’s toilet, but with considering my steady intake of beer throughout the night, I couldn’t just hold it in. After a couple of failed attempts to get things going, I eventually skulked out to a nearby paddock to piss on a fence. The cows were much more forgiving.

The experience was not much fun, but I would hate to perpetuate the kind of anti-lesbian sentiment that unfortunately pervades some sections of the gay male community. Considering the disproportionate number of male-only venues and events in Melbourne, I was happy just to avoid Cream at my next ChillOut. So, boyfriend in tow, this year we peeled off from my cousin and her friends to go to the mostly-boys event on the night, a bush dance.

We stripped the willow. We do-si-do’d. We heel and toe’d. It was every bit as ridiculous as Cream but wonderfully gay, and being surrounded by burly men in cowboy hats and flannelette didn’t hurt either.

As much as I like the idea of venues and events where gender and sexuality matter less than whether or not you’re there to have a good time, maybe sometimes it’s okay for us to do our own thing. At the very least, I was glad to be able to piss at the bush dance in peace.

Follow Ben Riley on Twitter: @bencriley


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