By Amanda Gillooly
That summer, the nights could be both hot and dangerous. The college experience wasn’t that extravagant when you lived in a crappy apartment building with no air conditioning, afraid to even leave your ground-level windows open because of a criminal who had become known as the East End Rapist.
One Friday, as friends and I lounged on one of our second-hand couches, pounding beers (to keep cool), one of our most audacious acquaintances came in with his usual flair.
“OH MY GOD, you guys,” he exclaimed. “You will NEVER believe what just happened to me.”
If past experiences – and the peasant skirt Derek was wearing – was an indication, he was probably right. We probably DIDN’T have any idea what just happened to him.
For the sake of clarity, Derek is one of my more outrageous gay friends – the kind of guy who had no qualms wearing a skirt in public. He wasn’t a transvestite; he just wanted to be cool and comfortable.
All Derek’s friends, myself included, warned him about wearing women’s garb, all for the sake of his safety an not for the sake of someone else’s idea of masculinity. Yeah, we went to Point Park College, and there was a substantial gay and lesbian community there. But we always tried to explain to him that although we knew he looked fabulous in that particular pattern, other people may not be so accepting of his, well, style.
But he never listened to us. Not when it came to fashion. And not when it came to comfort.
And so his story began:
“So the PAT bus pulls up and I get on and show my pass, right? Then I look up and OH MY GOD, all these, like, really burly mean dudes are sitting there, staring at me. I was, like, so scared.”
At that point someone asked the inevitable question: “Well, what did you do.”
He paused for a minute as if he didn’t know how to respond. He looked serious. Then he said very simply.
“I did the only thing I could,” he answered us helplessly. “I worked it!”
He then snapped his fingers and sashayed fiercely across the living room floor, showing us his best catwalk.
Indeed, he had worked it.
So as you get buzzed and ponder your New Year’s resolution, I suggest you emulate Derek. It doesn’t involve wearing a skirt.
Eric Clapton said, “It’s in the way that you use it.” Tom Petty said, “Think of me what you will, I’ve got a little space to fill.” Derek said, “Work it, girl.”
I think all three men will agree that maybe that maybe this year, the best resolution is to simply be you.
Happy New Year.