September 2004 (v7 i1)
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The clothes make the man
Flamboyance and Natty Light just don't mix
by Todd Nienkerk, Editor-in-Chief

Friday night. You're sitting around with the "Travesty" staff, watching infomercials and prank calling outsourced customer service reps. Somebody walks in with a box of costumes, and suddenly you're wearing leotards, wigs, and spray-painted galoshes. What's the next logical step? Clearly, you have a parade.

With keyboard accompaniment in tow, that's exactly what we did. Things were going well. Surprised tenants lined the balconies, and drivers honked with approval. Though some were unamused — too cool for school, I suppose — most welcomed the spectacle.

There was a party at Building 14 that had spilled out of the patio and into the parking lot. Being the friendly types, we decided to introduce ourselves.

Imagine that you're an obnoxious blonde drunk. You're burying your insecurities beneath uninteresting babbling and sexual promiscuity, and you're approached by a guy in three-sizes-too-small ski pants, suspenders, and a sequined bowtie (see above photo). What would you think? Would you think it's funny? What would be the first words out of your mouth?

"Go away!" she shouted. "We're voting for Bush!"

Apparently, anti-Bush sentiment is most effectively expressed as a troupe of leotard- and animal costume-clad collegians parading around Riverside apartments at one in the morning.

Moments later, a crowd had formed. "What the fuck is this?" snarled a frosted-tipped fratdaddy.

"Looks like a bunch of fucking fags," someone goaded.

"Get the fuck out of here!"

After several failed attempts at conversation, the crowd became hostile. Cheap beer was doused, eliciting melodramatic "Ooohs!" and "Awww shits!" Another guy rushed our keyboardist, grabbing his helmet and throwing it into the parking lot, narrowly missing a brand-new Escalade. The blonde girl tried to push me, shouting something about how Building 10 was the "Kerry building."

One of the more lucid partygoers approached me matter-of-factly: "Look, these guys are really drunk. You need to leave, or somebody's gonna start some shit."

He was completely right. The air bristled with misplaced homophobia and stubborn ignorance. We made a hasty retreat and continued our parade through the complex.

The frosted fratdaddy, however, wasn't satisfied.

"Yeah, you better go away," he shouted, following us. "That's what I thought. Fucking go away!"

"Please don't hit my friend," said my dog-nosed compatriot, referring to the guy in blue spandex. "He has diabetes."

"What the fuck did you say?" Fratdaddy shouted, increasingly enraged. "I don't have diabetes — I don't have an STD!"

We were speechless.

"What's wrong with being unable to control blood sugar levels?" I asked.

Frosty wasn't phased: "Did you just fucking say I have diabetes?"

"Uh, no, actually. I didn't say that at all," said dog-nose.

"Good," he spat, puffing his chest. "'Cause I would beat you the fuck down."

He paused. "The fuck down," he repeated for emphasis.

His intimidation ritual complete, he stepped back and flashed the you're-not-worth-the-trouble sneer. Finally succumbing to the persistence of his trophy girlfriend who'd been pulling at his sleeve throughout, he walked back to the party, looking behind him every few steps to make sure we weren't making him gay.

I learned a lot that night. When I see a bunch of people in costumes, for example, I'll know that they're gay Bush protestors. Oh, and that diabetes is an STD — and probably a gay one, at that.
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