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)