When I spoke to Steve, he told me about a gay demonstration in D.C. that he was considering attending. Our friend Ron had called him the night before to ask what to wear. I could not believe it; to me, this was hilarious, and I said, : "I'd say go right for the blue chiffon. What did you say?"
Steve said "I told him to wear a hat."
A hat? I make hats all day. It's barely a living, but it is what I do, and frankly that would be the last thing I would have said. I would have been thinking practially: dress in layers, be comfortable, use sunblock, wear something approriate for tear gas, or that would not come apart if you are dragged off by your feet. That's the way I am, hopelessly pragmatic.
What made you think of wearing a hat, I asked him.
"I just thought, it could rain, or it might be really hot and sunny and you would be more obvious, too."
I'm not sure that one would want to be noticed during a protest, but the rest made sense.
"Well, after the hat suggestion, Ron asked me how about a hood?" Steve went on, but before finishing I interjected "What?, Like a ski mask? That would be swell."
"No," Steve soldiered on despite my attempts to throw off the line of discourse, "No, like a parka or a windbreaker kind of thing?" Then Steve said "I told him absolutely not."
So then Ron asks "Well what then, a pith helmet?"
"And then Steve recalls" by that time, I was so disgusted by the conversation, that I said no, I meant something like Lady Di would wear."
"Now Yer talkin' ".
I just could not get over it; who asks what to wear to protest in? You just decide do I want comfort or do I want to project an image, such as: I'm gay and I want to look white collar, or military, or truck driver.
Come to think about it, the whole affair is starting to sound like the Village People, and maybe that's the point....