Friday, August 21, 2009


(Continued from Birthday Bash Pt. 3)

Eons ago, when I was but a small, impressionable child, my mother would often drag me on many of her manic shopping 'benders' at Loehman's. After sternly warning me not to move from a hard, leather bench situated at the front of the store, she would relentlessly roam the sale racks looking for bargains. My mother would check on me every 20 minutes or so, as she knew that left to my own devices, her 'creative & arty' son had the humiliating habit of trying on every deeply discounted, Halston, Yves Saint Laurent or Mary Mcfadden dress that caught his eye.

I wouldn't say that I was a transvestite in the true sense of the word, as I wasn't particularly desirous of being a female as much as I wanted to be something pretty..something different. My mother deeply worried that there was something definitely 'unusual' about her young son, who in addition to his inexplicable attraction to marked-down, couture gowns, exhibited an annoying habit of wrapping her whiter-than-white percale sheets around himself and fluttering around the backyard exclaiming he was 'Madame Butterfly.' My mother would queasily watch these 'displays,' and alarmed, would knock loudly on the kitchen window while shouting 'No!' at the top of her lungs. She would storm out the back door, stomp across the yard and rudely strip the sheets from my body.

"Stop doing that!" she would say.

"Why?" I would ask.

"Because it's faggy and weird."

As I was only 6 or 7 I had only the basest understanding of what 'faggy' meant. I only knew that being 'faggy' probably wasn't a good thing.

"Why don't you play with the baseball glove and ball we gave you?" she demanded.

"I don't like baseball."

"Well, learn to like it. I'm sick of washing these fucking sheets - Jesus, would you please stop acting like such a fruitcake already!"

With that, my mother angrily turned on her heel and headed into the house, my alabaster 'costume' clutched firmly to her breast. While my resolute, determined mother may have clipped my wings she should have never underestimated the power and determination of a 'faggy' boy. As my mother angrily shoved the soiled sheets into our washing machine, I stealthily snuck upstairs and pulled the over-sized terry cloth bath sheets from the hall closet. Within a few short moments, I was attired like a
JC Penny version of Marie Antoinette - the opulent towels piled turban-like on my head, the others used to form my bodice and billowing skirts. I regally descended the staircase, crossed our formal, never-used living room, and even dared to perch myself on my 'throne' which in this case was a tacky, plastic slip covered French Provincial wing chair. I knew that I was committing a supreme act of sedition, but like Marie, was prepared to die for my right to be fabulous. I held court in our ghastly living room for only a few minutes, before my mother caught site of me and furiously chased me from the room. In my haste to escape her, my poly blend 'hair' and 'skirts' would fall away, the sickening smell of Downy left as the only reminder of my short, tragic reign.

Having been summarily dropped by the flirtatious Aquaman, who was surprisingly astute in determining that our personal association would not lead to a 'break-out' role on GOSSIP GIRL, I aimlessly wandered around the maddeningly, over-decorated villa of The Duchess. As I hadn't seen my son Ethan in over two hours, I figured I might want to check on him. I planned to bribe him with whatever toy or treat he wanted so that we could hastily depart.

I gradually made my way to the living room veranda and peered out over the expansive, sweeping lawn of the backyard. Unexpectedly, I caught a glimpse of my son engaged in a spirited game of soccer among the festively dressed Supermen, Captain Americas, Spidermen, and Jokers. His face was joyfully flushed, his rent-a-nanny, hand stitched cape flew behind him as he made a miraculous kick at the ball. I couldn't tell if he had actually scored, for I momentarily lost sight of him among the blur of older, taller boys. He suddenly appeared, surrounded by a gang of high-fiving grade school dudes. His young, soft face beamed with pride as our eyes inexplicably and magically locked. The Mojitos must have finally caught up with me, as strange, unfamiliar tears stung my eyes. Ethan raced over to me, and breathlessly exclaimed, "Dad, do you see that - I scored!"

"You were awesome!" I choked out.

My son grinned, waved and happily rejoined the game. The desire to leave abated, and like Marie Antoinette, I daintily took a seat on a rented, gilded chair and cheered on my young 'champion.'

As twilight fell, the party finally began to break up and my son who had gorged himself on cake icing and gummy worms, had had enough. As the valet fetched our car, Ethan bid goodbye to his super hero pals. He obediently boarded the 'Bat Prius' and instantly passed out. As I stared at him peacefully asleep in my rear view mirror, a bright red juice mustache covering his mouth, I couldn't help but envy his having no desire to be 'pretty' or 'different.' Ethan was destined to be the popular, 'normal' kid whose ordinariness my parents would have loved, but were denied.

The house was dark and slightly forbidding when we arrived home. I scooped my sleepy child from the car, and as he laid his sweaty head on my shoulder, he held me very tightly and slurred in my ear, 'I love you, dad.' As I mounted the towering staircase leading to our home, I had to steady myself several times, for the extraordinary and weighty treasure I held in my arms nearly caused this queen to lose her head.

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