726. I Wanna Be Adored

I woke up the next day to find glitter and smoke streaked all across the pillows and some shocking red hanks of hair here and there in the bed as if some tropical plant had shed its pistils or something. Apparently passionate enough lovemaking was sufficient to yank some of my extensions out. After a shower and gently combing it through with conditioner (like I’d been told to) I didn’t actually notice the missing ones.

What I did notice was that as I walked through the city (I ran some errands that day and dropped by the office at one point) I was no longer invisible.

I told myself it was the red streaks in my hair making me stand out but I couldn’t entirely discount the idea that my hair was not the only reason I was seeing myself differently. Even in the guitar shop where they didn’t know me–or at least I didn’t think they knew me until I got out my credit card at the very end–it felt different. I felt different. That’s not even a place where y sexuality would normally enter my mind, and if anything I would think it could go 50/50 either way, the hair might be a plus or a minus.

I want to talk about long hair for a minute. At the time when I was born, long hair on men in particular was seen as a definite fuck-you to society’s norms. I never quite understood, though, how guys who grew their hair long to emulate the classic “fuck any woman in sight” rock stars could then get beat up by militant conformist dickwads of various stripes calling them “faggot.” Are the dickwads that dumb? I used to think.

Of course now I know that two things were going on: one, the dickwad who bashes is likely to be the one violently suppressing his own homo urges, and two, sometimes it’s not about homosexuality, it’s about conformity to a narrow definition of masculinity.

By the time I was a teenager, guys with long hair being sex symbols, rock stars, and rebels had been around for my entire life, so I did not think of growing my hair out as being “feminine” in any way. For me it was the only template of masculinity I could see (thanks to MTV etc) that I was willing to adopt for myself. I know it goes hand in hand with the whole identification as a guitarist and musician from an early age. I identified as a guitarist long before I identified as anything else.

It still took me until I was 23 to grow it out as long as I wanted.

Ziggy’s way of rejecting masculinity was to embrace the feminine. I didn’t see my hair (or eyeliner) as anything like that. After all, Ziggy would go all the way to high femme in fishnets and stilletos if he wanted to make a point. I would’ve just felt ridiculous.

I did not feel ridiculous tooling around the city on the Monday after Pride. I felt taller. I felt like maybe people were looking at me and like maybe that was actually a good thing.

And when it wasn’t a good thing, fuck ’em. I was ready to defend myself. My pledge of non-violence didn’t extend to self-defense.

Not that anyone who gave me the hairy eyeball was actually a physical threat to me. There are always going to be people who resent your existence for some reason, and that’s about THEM, not YOU. So trying to change only hurts you.

At the office, Barrett and I sat down and did some headcounts regarding band and crew. When we were done we both sat there staring at the list of names; he had a funny look on his face.

“What is it?” I asked him.

“Nothing,” he said, clearing his face as quickly as if he’d run a squeegee across it. “Oh hey, did I show you the latest from Linn?” He had a wide, white envelope on his desk and he pulled some prints from it. “Prototypes of the costumes.”

He showed me a couple of one outfit that would be similar between the band and dancers. We’d discussed black for the band so that we could fade into the background when necessary, and she’d designed something that evoked a tuxedo tailcoat “But should be nowhere near as hot or constricting,” Barrett said, sounding like he was quoting her.

“We got final approva on the Japanese album cover, too. Here.”

He handed over a glossy print. I’d already known what it was going to be, but it was still pretty wild to see a version in real life of what I’d seen in a dream. That meeting where I’d described the dream to The Aesthetician, the sketch she’d showed me–I realized yesterday I had met the makeup artist who had done what I was looking at, the glittering stars like a galaxy across Ziggy’s eyes and down his bare shoulders, melding into the background. There were Japanese letters in one corner, running the opposite direction from the English that read “Ziggy Moondog.”

It hit me suddenly. Ziggy all in white. Me in a tuxedo. And him taking my name.

“The symbolism’s intentional, isn’t it,” I said somewhat deadpan, trying to figure out which of the emotions I was having at that moment were valid and which were bullshit.

“You mean tying the moon reference together with stars? Yeah, I guess,” Barrett said. “I didn’t even think of it that way.”

So he wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. “No, I mean–”

“Plus I suppose it’s an oblique Bowie reference-cum-homage,” he added.

I decided not to bring it up. I decided that the emotions that were valid were the ones I wanted to feel–a closeness with him, artistic curiosity and satisfaction, lust, possessiveness, pride–and that the ones I didn’t want to feel–suspicion, anger, helplessness–could go out the window. If Ziggy wanted to turn the concerts into a giant metaphor for marrying me, I told myself there were a lot worse things.

Besides, the tailcoats looked kinda snazzy.

(Wow, a lot of donations have come in from folks wanting the bonus “adults only” scene that ges after last chapter and before this one! So now there’s $58 in the tip jar, only $42 from triggering a Saturday post! It’s not too late to get the bonus, of course. Just donate via Paypal and I’ll email it back to you. -ctan)


  • s says:

    Holy fuck, Ziggy. Did not see that coming.

    • Bill Heath says:

      What? It’s the natural next step of naming the band to honor Ziggy and express the backing folks’ adulaton. Star*Gaze evokes two echoes from the past: Ziggy Stardust, and the Star Baby movie, which was Ziggy’s first move in turning his back on the band to ally with Digger and Mills. And, in the show, the replaceable people will be spending all their time gazing at the real star.

      If “Ziggy Moondog” was used without his express approval, perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree. And, although his methods have moderated, Ziggy’s need for control hasn’t. He approved it. And the tree is a sequoia.

      • s says:

        That is not the same as essentially turning the concerts into a giant metaphor for marrying Daron. He’s used the name “Ziggy Moondog” before, but honoring the former band does not appear to be what he’s getting at here. Marriage may be the next natural step for a lot of people, but Daron and Ziggy? The guys who freak out over the word boyfriend because they think THAT would land them in suburbia hell? Yeah, no.

        • sanders says:

          But what better place to lay down the allusion to marriage than through music and stage performance? That’s how these two communicate best and onstage is the one place Daron has never misunderstood or been oblivious to a thing Ziggy was trying to say. It’s the only way Ziggy could send an unambiguous message if that’s what’s really happening here, because Daron may not trust a thing that comes out of his mouth, but he does trust him to be honest in performance. Which is really kind of screwed up in so many ways.

          • s says:

            That is EXACTLY why I said I didn’t see that coming. If he says it musically, he means it. Shocked the hell outta me.

          • s says:

            Honestly though, now that it’s sunk in, I think I’m more shocked about Daron playing along than Ziggy making the statement.

            • Bill Heath says:

              I’m not sure Daron has processed this. I see a difference between putting a name on a poster and saying something musically. When said musically, the opportuniity for nuance, context and meaning are infinite. This is in-your face, rminisicent of “I signed the contract.”

              I want desperately to believe the best here; since reading the name of the band I’ve been holding my breath. Ziggy accepted Daron providing him a platofrm and tried to wrest control. He’s taken Daron’s love and trashed it, helped destroy Daron’s band, now owns what might have been Daron’s band, took Daron’s creativity to turn it into an advertisement for all things Ziggy, and now wants his name.

              The “love will triumph” view may be correct. Ziggy has a long memory. He’s learned not to execute manipulation through blitzkrieg, but still hasn’t shown the ability to pull off the long con. If it isn’t “love will triumph,” then this is a long con. Ziggy offered the closest thing available to monogamy (“If you need me to keep my dick in my pants just tell me,” Daron turned him down). I’m hoping something clarifying happens soon.

              • sanders says:

                Your absolute cynicism makes me very sad for you, Bill. I’m personally opting to enjoy my squee on this one, because Ziggy has grown, just as Daron has done. He’s let go of expecting the worst, reading the worst of intentions into everything Ziggy does, so maybe you would benefit from doing the same.

                Daron directly says he’s not processed all of it, but is actively choosing to take it as a positive sign and something joyful rather than view with suspicion, anger, and fear. This matters.

                • Bill Heath says:

                  Thanks. I want it to be good for both of them. The most likely explanation is that Barret did it and his off-hand mention of the fact was lost on Ziggy. THAT would make me happiest, because it will allow for Daron to process, to discuss it with Ziggy, and for clarity to be brought.

                  It was 1995 before I met my first gay married couple. It’s how they referred to themselves, so if they thought they were married they were. Most couples referred to themselves as partners, which I thought strange. If you think you’re married, you’re married.

                  I recently finished a gay wedding scene in a book I’m writing, 2009, South Carolina. I did my research and learned that it was possible to get nearly every one of the benefits of marriage between two people by agreeing to a series of contractual documents, whether same-sex marriage was banned or not. Then contract law applies, and an outside entity has a huge roadblock to overcome to establish standing to sue.

                  My cynicism is far from absolute. Ask Steph or ctan about my personality type; I’m able to consider mutually exclusive possibiilities simultaneously without cognitive dissonance. Add that my thirty lost IQ points stll leaves me in the 140s, and I’m 68. I hope that it’s a Barret action unknown to Ziggy, or that Ziggy heard it but didn’t hear it, or that Ziggy had a brain fart and never considered alternate interpretations. This would hardly be the first time. His sex before “and” after quote means he can consider alternatives. Like most of us, he rarely considers all the important ones. And, his lethal allergy to specificity of speech leaves him often vulnerable here.

                  • s says:

                    Come on, Bill. This is the good part! Ziggy knows he screwed up and chose his career over Daron before. He’s admitted it and made up for it the best he could. This wedding theme has Ziggy written all over it. He knows Daron will get it even if no one else does. He’s said again and again that he wants a commitment from Daron and this is his way of saying, in language Daron will understand clearly, “I love you enough to spend my life with you.” Sure he can be a jackass (can’t we all?), but unless Daron has been very badly mistaken lately, I don’t think Ziggy is being one here. I think it’s great. It surprised the ever-loving hell out of me that he’d take this step, but I’m rolling with it. Daron’s happy. Ziggy seems happy. So I’m happy.

                  • sanders says:

                    For the record, there’s video footage of gay wedding ceremonies as far back as the sixties. All of the joy, all of the cake, none of the legal status.

                    Contract law doesn’t replace or equate to marriage and doesn’t allow for all of the more than a thousand rights and privileges granted by a marriage license. One of the larger issues in the push for marriage was the lack of federal rights available even when a state did move to allow same-sex marriage, and that some state and the majority of federal benefits remained out of reach in the case of contract agreements.

  • Lenalena says:

    Ziggy Moondog? Whoa. Has that been discussed before and I missed it?

    • s says:

      They used the names Daron Moondog and Ziggy Moondog in an interview. I think it was either Jonathan’s Spin article or in the interview shortly after the explosion. I remember wondering if their adoring fans read anything into that. I didn’t know he was STILL using it though.

      • s says:

        Or maybe it was one of the interviews in one of the omnibus volumes? Idk, but I know he’s used it before.

    • daron says:

      Uh, well, he used it sometimes as a stage name back in the beginning of the band, akin to the Ramones all using Ramone–Chris used it sometimes, too. (Bart didn’t–he already had a stage name and stuck with it.)

      But in things like billing for the movie etc. Ziggy has always been just “Ziggy” a la “Madonna” or “Sting”. So I really wasn’t expecting to see it here.

      • Lenalena says:

        Thank you for clarifying that. Neither was I.

        I didn’t think I’d miss a ‘hey, when I go solo, I am going to keep the name’ discussion.

  • G says:

    Holy shit! Ziggy’s really good at the subtle hints, huh? Go with the flow; he’s trying so hard to tell you something. I’m glad you stuck with the positive feelings.

  • chris says:

    What is with the funny look on Barrett’s face when looking at the tour headcount? I starting thinking of tour support contracts, funding, will costs over a certain amount be taken from Ziggy…foreshadowing of problems for the tour… GAH! (PS, I still have a thing for guys with long hair).

    • Bill Heath says:

      The biggest potential problems for the tour are highly unlikely to be financial. In speaking with road managers for music stars’ tours, I find that they generally agree the problem is managing complexity. One told me it’s an n^n proposition.

      So, a solo tour is basically a complexity level of one. With four in the tour, it’s a complexity level of 256. With ten in the tour it rises to ten trillion. With 65 in the tour it goes to 6.9 times ten to the 114. Obviously, the larger numbers are inaccurte, but indicate the trend.

      If Carynne road manages, she knows how to keep costs constrained and I expect her to excel at that. There’s a reason Otto took her on when the numbers with Nomad got bigger. With 65, I don’t see how he managed it without at least a staff of four or five, including someone wrangling the roadies and one or two gophers.

  • Alan Katz says:

    This is PRIDE + 1. It’s just symbolism, but it’s a harbinger of things to come – first comes rights (1996 Romer v. Evans, 2003 Lawrence v. Texas), then comes equality, starting with Marriage (2013, U. S. v. Windsor, 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges). Next comes institutionalized discrimination (U.S. v. North Carolina, McCrory et al).

    Historically, it’s a mad rush toward justice for LGBT Americans, unlike any before seen in its scope and speed. And Ziggy is foreshadowing it already. Vermont instituted civil unions in 2000, Massachusetts instituted marriage in 2004, so Ziggy’s ahead of the curve, but honestly, not by much.

    Things are about to change and, like all major change, the changes happens first with the victims – like the slave revolts, the underground railroad, John Brown, Stonewall, etc. It’s nice to see the boys feeling the change, and the first and most important one is when their hearts change, and they refuse to lay down as passive victims any more – they refuse to internalize the hate and discrimination any more.

    That’s why it’s called “Pride” across the globe. And it matters, big time.

    • sanders says:

      And there’s the marriage suit happening or about to begin in Hawaii concurrent with DGC’s timeline, which led us down the path to all of the state marriage amendments.

      The refusal to be passive victims, yes, exactly.

      • Alan Katz says:

        You’re right. The reason I didn’t mention the Hawaii ruling that actually set off Clinton’s infamous DOMA is that the marriage ruling didn’t stick. No one got married until years later. But youre right, it was the trigger. Unfortunately, it set off a huge backlash as opposed to huge progress.

        • sanders says:

          We’ve been stuck in such an amazing cycle of one step forward-two steps back due to the inherent fear of change. North Carolina is just the most recent case, and possibly the most illogical. On the local city level, the 90s sparked a flurry of anti-discrimination legislation including public accommodations. A small amount of research reveals nearly no complaints have been filed in any jurisdiction over bathroom use, but suddenly we’re being forced to pivot and fight against that idiocy. I think one of the biggest struggles we face as an LGBT community is how often our agenda and aims are determined through the need to be reactive rather than proactive, because bigots just keep finding new and more bizarre ways to attack us.

          • Bill Heath says:

            If you’re familiar with the entire bill, the “bathroom” part is really a footnote. Other provisions ban people from suing for discrimination. Those parts, the vast majority of the bill, cannot withstand a constitutional challenge. With the vast majority of the bill intended to accomplish unconstitutional ends, I cannot see a federal court not throwing out the whole thing on the reasonable assumption that the “bathroom” part has the same intent.

            • sanders says:

              Yes, and the bathroom part is what’s being manipulated to create a moral panic. My point is at each turn, conservative voices and bigotry claim the ground to frame the fights we’re having. The bill is far more damaging when it removes jurisdictional ability to craft and enact non-discrimination laws. The salient part is not, of course, who pees where, it’s a much larger issue of the rights of individual communities and individual protections in all areas of life. However, we’ve been forced to attack it starting with the bathroom issue because that’s where the emotional reaction is coming from. That’s the easiest place to appeal to fear and irrationality to say “See? Citizens support this legislation to keep them safe” while maintaining the implication that LGBT people are not also citizens deserving of protection.

              • Bill Heath says:

                Sanders, agreed. When any one right is denied to any one citizen, every right for every citizen is at risk. I’m astounded that people who claim to be for small government want to limit what jurisdictions below their level can do that harms no one.

                It never occurred to me (I can be damnably slow) that the bathroom issue is the one being pushed to the fore to provide emotional response cover to the toxic parts of the bill. It sure makes sense now that you pointed it out.

                There are some objectively thorny issues contained in the bathroom brouhaha. Transgendered people have the right to use the facilities of their choice, but others do not. The right to privacy protects a woman’s abortion rights, but does not protect anyone from being forced to pee in mixed company. I submit that these, and probably other, similar, issues, have no socially-sustainable resolutions based on knee-jerk ideology, sound-bite arguments, nor the hubris required to stop listening. The NC bill is one such non-sustainable resolution.

                • sanders says:

                  Moral panic and the ability to incite it has been the source of nearly every human conflict since the dawn of time. Just think of the Salem witch trials, the root of Jim Crow laws, the initial reaction to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the US. There have been strains of it in the fight over same-sex marriage (think of the POOR CHILDREN), over local-level and state-level anti-discrimination laws cover LBGT people, and now, the same kind of message very finely honed to argue that somehow girls and women are inherently unsafe by allowing transwomen to use the same restrooms. Think about the fact that no one is using the argument that transmen are a danger to cismen and boys, and that, in fact, very few of the arguments have hinged on placing transmen back in women’s restrooms, or the dangers inherent in forcing transwomen to use mens’ rooms. Once again, it’s all reduced to perceived dangers to children and cis-women, two categories of people guaranteed to pull at the basest emotions of ignorant people while feeding on sexist ideas of female victimhood (both in the sense of men wanting to protect women and women internalizing the idea of victimization).

                  In a more succinct form, examine every argument for the emotional hook, and then see what general media latches onto. That will be the central frame for the fight, whether we want it or not, and it will appeal to the most basic ingrained behaviors and ideologies.

                • sanders says:

                  Also, Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point talks a lot about this concept, iirc. Fascinating look at how things move from single incidents to perceived society-wide trends, whether it’s truly widespread or not.

  • sanders says:

    Am I the only one who pictures Effie from The Hunger Games every time The Aesthetician comes up? This may explain why she creeps me out so badly. Daron’s skepticism with her reminds me so much of the way Katniss reacts to Effie.

    • s says:

      Omg YES!

      • sanders says:

        One thing to imagine: Ziggy and Cinna.

        • s says:

          You know Cinna was my favorite character. Lenny Kravitz played him perfectly! I’ll be having dreams about that now. Lol

          Speaking of Lenny, a friend posted a video of him and Prince covering “American Woman”…We were all in agreement that we’d like to be the middle of that yummy sandwich. 🙂

          • sanders says:

            Ziggy looks at the man before him, bronze-brown skin and dark eyes rimmed with a fine line of gold, and he smiles. “Cinna?”

            Cinna nods and extends his hand. “Good to meet you, Ziggy. Linn’s spoken highly of you.”

            “You, too,” Ziggy says, grasping his hand. “I look forward to working with you. I think we could do… interesting things together.”

            • s says:

              Ziggy didn’t let go of his hand, instead twisting slightly and looping their fingers together. He gently tugged and Cinna followed him down the hall.

              No one was around when they entered the cavernous room, each wall lined with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of costumes, bright colors, billowing fabrics.

              Ziggy glanced at Cinna. His face gave nothing whatsoever away. But he could feel the tension in Cinna’s fingers.

              He was excited. Oh, but was he excited.

              Ziggy smirked.

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