Years ago, when we were still new to SFO, hubby and I were invited to a fundraiser ball for SFMOMA. A friend had bought a table and we were one of 4 couples invited. The invitation specified that this was to be a costume ball, and the theme was “to come as you are not.” And so for a few nights, we deliberated on what we were not and we drummed up possible “dastardly duo” ensembles only to end up shaking our heads at how ridiculous our ideas ended up. Well, it was fun to imagine and challenge our imaginations.
Someone recommended for us to visit a costume and formal wear rental place on Hamilton Street in Palo Alto (not there anymore. I checked). It was a small and overfilled little place where just about anything and everything was for rent. After trying on several things, we zeroed in on a zuit suit (alternatively spelled “zoot”). My, my! The one we chose had burgundy and black pinstripes with fine gold woven lines. The sales person helping us brought out all the accouterments which, aside from the pegged trousers and long coat with wide lapels and thick shoulder pads, included a satin vest, a white shirt and shiny silk tie, long pointy shoes, and a fedora hat with a long feather accessory. She offered a long chain that’s supposed to hang from the belt in a loop. We looked at each other and nodded.
I proceeded to find a simple black gown with an open back. There was a one-sided slit to mid-thigh. The sales person gave me elbow length satin gloves, fake blings for my ears and wrists, a faux feather stole in racy red. Then she handed me a foot-long cigarette holder made with lacquered material. Cool!
And so, we went to the ball as the pimp and his vixen. The costumes were quite interesting. There was a man who came as an unshaven nun with a cigar in his mouth. There were three geishas in mint green, sky blue and baby pink. But on looking closer, they were men. There was a tall woman dressed on her right side as a man in a tuxedo and a woman on the left in a red cocktail dress with red heels. There was a couple in very elaborate French period costume. They came as Louie XVI and Marie Antoinette. Another woman came in a Nancy Reagan wig, the standard DC designer suit, pumps, and name brand shopping bags on her arms. She was supposed to be a republican wife. We were having fun just watching people come and go!
At the end of the evening, we went to the coat room to collect our winter coats. It was a long line. Ahead of us were two gentlemen, both wearing what looked like custom-made zuit suits. Theirs was certainly a modern take on the look.
As we were nearing the end of the line, they noticed us. Both of them approached us and took a good look at our costumes. Their eyes went from looking at me to my hubby. Back and forth. Back and forth. They both smiled to each other. One of them asked, “Are you gay?” He was asking my hubby and me.
I replied, smiling, “No. We’re married to each other.”
They looked at us some more. Then, they laughed. One of them said, “Well, you look fabulous, you two. If that’s the case, then I hope you’ll have lots and lots of beautiful babies. And may they all be gay!”
We laughed at their comment as we headed home. It was a fun evening. That was more than a decade ago.
We have a daughter. Unfortunately, she’s not gay. It’s all right. She’s perfect. We love her. She fights for gays, as much as she fights for women, people of color, and religious freedoms.