Thursday, January 17, 2008

Someone a Bit Like You


Tranay and Chris used to call drag queens 'Larries': Hey Chris! Get a load of that Larry at 3 o'clock!
I think it came about because of the transvestite prostitutes that used to hang around Lawrence and Broadway in the late eighties, not far from where Tranay used to live back then. You know, Larry is short for Lawrence...
I call anything that starts with the letter L, Larry. Lost is Larry. Law and Order is Larry Order, Larry is a Pigsty, Little Red Larry, well, you get the idea.
Tranay also coined a good description for the mood created while walking around having to go to the bathroom, when you know you can't: poo stress. I have the worst poo-stress right now! Tranay would say. Just go! Chris would yell back. I can't! The bar's too crowded I'll sneak out to the restaurant across the street later! Chris and Tranay used to work at Neo together, back in the 80's, and being there a few weeks ago brought back their memories...
Speaking of Larries, I call Madonna, Eadozza, because of a poster of hers I had on my kitchen wall in 1990; her name ran down along the side: EADOZZA; the M turned into an E. It's pronounced ee-doe-za. Just something I thought you should know...

Sometime during the summer of 1988, I decided to become classy. Going to work as a goth or a hipster started to become tiring and time consuming, and I needed to sleep off the previous night's debauchery for as long as possible. I was inspired by one of my new co-workers, Patty. She was a legendary beauty, party girl, and trend setter. She could pull off any look, and all clothes looked great on her. On the eve of her first day of working at my salon, we all went out to celebrate and welcome her. The boozing went late into the night, and I barely got a few hours sleep, and the next day Patty confessed to me she got a ride home to change and came to work without any sleep at all. She looked fabulous. Her outfit from the night before was scandalous and futuristic; her style could best be described as Dale Bozzio meets a WWII fighter pilot, but her outfit that day was all about clean lines and order, aside from her huge, multi-colored, spiked hair, and her slight, yet still becoming, hang-over grimace.
What a great idea! Save the kooky clothes for the clubs!
My boss back then always dragged us to hair cutting classes around town, and a few times to Minnesota to the Aveda school. The well paid stylists who taught these classes all had the Hairdresser on Fire look, and cut hair like they were doing Tai Chi. They were taken seriously, and took themselves seriously. I've found when you're feeling crappy or hung over, a perfectly cut and designed outfit enters the room before everything else. You stand up straighter; you have more poise.
My ex-boyfriend Doug was a master at dressing that way. When we went out, I would stare at him from across the room as he chatted and giggled with his equally poised friends, praying to someday posses their unaffected nonchalance. His clothes were simple and modern and timeless, but always with a dash of Excalibur-like eccentricity thrown in: only he would think of wearing, and could pull off, a double strand of pearls with his brown vintage blazer.
But the secret is to don that perfect outfit, and forget about it as you walk out the door. You must have faith in it's power, for if you don't, your clothes wear you.
The wild girl Patty never dressed at work how she did in the clubs, the short time we worked together, and her taste rubbed off on me.
I bought my 'classy' clothes from Le Chateau, Flashy Trash, Xanadu, or Russo, if there was a sale. Once a month, I would shoo away the crazy teenagers who worked at Le Chateau, and looked at everything they had, and tried it all on, and did the fashion algebra (as coined by the great Anna Piaggi) in my head: What all in my closet will this go with? Can I make this look cooler somehow?
Russo was like dying and going to heaven, only to find the gates locked. Richard, the buyer and manager, had the most perfect taste, and called me (thank god!) the second things went on sale. (I creamed my jeans every time he complimented my ensemble: his approval meant I got it 'right') We both loved fashion, and I would hang out at his store and talk for hours about it, as we studied the clothes as if they were paintings by old masters. He and his boss, Mrs. Russo, were the perfect example of how to wear and not wear clothes: she wore a Gaultier jacket, he wore a great jacket. She wore Moschino pumps, he wore great shoes. They had on the same designers, but she was all too aware of the price tag.
One week, in 1988, I contemplated buying a 250.00 Gaultier t-shirt for hours. I visited it everyday. I loved it; it was black, with a cartoon of a 1940's teenage girl and a 1940's older businessman, dancing by a little portable record player, with 45's strewn about, and if you looked closely, you noticed they were wearing weird punk accessories in odd places, and the 45's were punk classics. It was brilliant. I settled for the not quite as pricey, but still pricey 100 dollar Moschino one. I still have it.
I still shopped at thrift stores to find clothes, but I usually only could wear them out to clubs. I had better luck thrifting in the early 90's, jumping on the 70's revival bandwagon before it was all snapped up. Shockingly, in thrift stores, I occasionally run across some of the clothes I studied at Russo and other expensive stores, and buy them, regardless of the fit, just to finally be able to put them in my closet.

Link: Gary Numan, Morrissey


Anonymous said...

If you come visit me, we can go to Le Chateau and buy classy clothes. Back in the day, I got the best dress of my life there. Simple, black jersey, empire waist, flare skirt, scoop neck, short sleeves...aah, I miss it. Someone burned a cigarette hole in it at Smart Bar.

Thanks for the Ciao Manhattan tips just might have to rent it this weekend.


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