A Facebook friend writes, “Please tell the story behind this picture!”


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Happy to do so, Barbara, particularly because I have so little to lose with this tale ever-imprinted on my Facebook history.  I’m not getting any younger, however,  so my memory may not be one hundred percent.  Halloween, preceded as it is a few days earlier by my birthday, prompted me this week to muse about a temporary Facebook profile picture.  This one is part of a series of photos taken on a silly but festive occasion, in 1991 or so I believe, when my natural hair colour was not gray (as it is now) and I kept it long enough for my friend William to tease it up within an inch of its life – “the higher the hair the closer to God”.

It was not Halloween or, as my friends call it, “Amateur Night” (or would that be New Year’s Eve?) but a warm spring evening.  It was a mock Prom Night, the idea being to dress with as much glamour or humour as we were willing.  I went for something in between, open to the possibility that it might only be interpreted as humorous.

My dear friend Jim, who would die just a couple of years later, was my handsome date.  (I’ll refrain from showing how great he looked in a tux out of respect for his eternal privacy.)

This was my first, and the second-to-last, time I would do “drag”.  It’s never been my thing, my svelte 140 pound figure being trumped by my awkward 6’3” height (two inches higher in the white, webbed heels I bought without noticing how far the soles of my feet squeezed out the back).

I was on my own, either at Value Village or the Sally Ann, when I found the outfit.  The clerk didn’t bat an eye.  The neighbourhood.  Before he started on my hair, however, William sent me down to a corner store for white panty hose.  (I thought I’d get a side look, but didn’t.)  I’ll never forget, by which I do not mean that I wish to repeat it, the feel of that fabric pulling against whatever stubble which might have remained on my legs.

As for the face, well, again it was William’s complete, patient make-up work which taught me about not blinking when the eye-lashes were being done and drinking from a straw from the moment the lipstick was applied.

Jim and I took a taxi to the dance location, oh so self-conscious was I in a town where weekends bring out any number of heavily-perfumed, husky-voiced cab fares.  There was a lot of fun as we all shared in the laughs of taking that extra moment needed to recognize friends.  The highlight of the evening was a contest for Prom Queen and I was first runner-up!  I was thrilled but, for the life of me, I can’t remember who was crowned. 

The cow! (I suppose a look at other pictures might tell me.)