Confessions of a fashion victim

Out There: It has occurred to me that a stint on the other team might free me from the hellish bondage that is being straight and single
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Indy Lifestyle Online
My fashion antennae are too finely tuned. My sleep is disturbed by seismic style eruptions on the other side of the planet, in different time zones. The Japanese wake me up at all hours, excitable little rascals. Hysteric Glamour are the worst, but the signals can come from any direction, affecting my speech and behaviour before I can even register their arrival: Xuly Bet cuts himself shaving, and I start cursing in French. Anna Sui buys a packet of sequins and next thing I know I'm walking down the street with a mirrorball on my head.

In one way, it's very exciting to be manifesting the next step in our evolutionary process. Humans are developing psychic abilities, and fashion is a kind of test card, a non-verbal psychic language to tune us all in. You can see these new powers getting stronger and more active with each successive generation. That's why, long before they can count, children develop a powerful aversion to cheap trainers and start yearning for their Nike birthright.

But there's always a downside to progress, and I'm finding this whole thing a little claustrophobic of late. In fact, my antennae are now so sensitive they automatically pluck ideas from the ether and convert them into T-shirt slogans. Worse still, the signals keep getting scrambled. For example, with fashion turning itself inside out to find new angles, right now it's a pretty safe rule of thumb that the straightest-looking blokes are gay, and vice-versa. What with gays looking straight, and straights going camp, lipstick lesbians everywhere you turn and androgyny back in a big way, there's a lot of confusion out there.

Last week I was in a mixed-gay West End club, swathed in shiny synthetics, lounging on a banquette with a beautiful creature called Nikki, a woman with something extra. It was something that I normally prefer my women without, but Nikki was so charming I decided to let it ride. Besides, everybody knows that any bloke who gets the full attention of a gorgeous drag queen has to be straight, no matter how camp his outfit - and mine was emphatically limp-wristed, as you might imagine. As a final flourish, I broke my booze taboo, guzzling Red Stripe from the bottle and belching loudly. This, I presumed, would telegraph my inclinations: 100 per cent hetero.

Unfortunately, it was not enough to convince Glenn, a charming lad from Chigwell, who spent the best part of an hour mumbling into my skinny-rib vest. "I like girls, Glenn," I told him for the umpteenth time. (Hey, I wasn't going to send him away - a pretty 20-year-old at your elbow trying desperately to pull you is flattering, even if he has overdone the stubble `n' eyeliner look.)

"Yeah, sure, you're straight as a dyke," he chuckled, "Anyway, nobody's a hundred per cent anything." True, a few months ago my fancy was taken momentarily by a young Scotsman with a beautiful mouth. And it has occurred to me that a stint on the other team might free me from the hellish bondage that is being straight and single (especially at Christmas). To be honest, I weighed the pros and cons carefully and asked myself if it wasn't just a matter of rigid conformity.

The whole issue was put beyond doubt when Michael Barrymore finally stumbled out of the closet. My fashion antennae throbbed and flashed like belisha beacons at the thought of following this double-decker debutante over the top and into the sexual battlefield, if barrymore's queer, i'm staying here, read the T-shirt slogan that flashed across my mind. Not that I don't sympathise with Mr B, and wish him well in his new role. But my real concern lies with all those queers who are reeling in pain, clutching their fashion antennae, screaming, "No! Ahhh! First Jimmy Somerville, now this!"

Glenn was still pushing. A wicked thought entered my head, which involved us coming to some arrangement that included his 18-year-old sister, who also happened to be at our table. I decided not to pursue it.

"Glenn, I'm straight. Can't we just leave it at that?"

"If you see something you want," he said, eyes twinkling, "you've got to grab it, haven't you?"

"No, Glenn. If you see something you want, let it go. If it comes back to you, then it's yours."

This baggy-arsed truism erupted from my mouth before I could censor it. A voice started wailing in my head. "Help!" screamed the voice. "Someone is beaming fortune cookie slogans to my fashion antennae!"

Fashion victims? You don't know pain. I know pain. Evolution is pain. And by the way, I'm getting a signal... hmmm. Michael Jackson has had a pair of shoulder pads surgically implanted.

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