So there I was sitting with Fag Hag Mum the other day talking about one of those family topics as old as time, that thing that 68-year-old mums and their darling little girls discuss all over the world from lake Geneva to the Finland station.
Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prarie discussed it with her momma. Princess Anne will have sat at the Queen’s patent-toed feet and broached the subject. And Jane Austen couldn’t wait to show Elizabeth Bennett and Mrs Bennett having the very same conversation…
The question I refer to of course? Is a gay male family friend top or bottom?
‘Oh darling, he’s top of course!’ exclaimed Fag Hag Mum. ‘Really, are you sure?’ I asked, bowing to her greater wisdom – and her thirty-odd years in the theatre where she claims she’s seen more sights than a glory hole at a ‘Frisco bath house.
‘Yes, darling, it’s obvious!’ she replied. ‘I don’t know,’ I said, shaking my head.
I could sense her disappointment. Like I’d just come home with a report card littered with D’s (or B* as I believe the equivalent is now).
Before long she sighed, ‘This is a ridiculous conversation – he’s obviously top – I really would have thought that was obvious’. And then I realised we were on the brink of a row. And people would one day ask ‘Why did you and your mum fall out?’ and I would answer, ‘Because we couldn’t agree whether someone was a top or a bottom.’
Well, I can think of worse things to fall out over.