I am out, on foot, walking briskly to meet my baby son and his mother. They are in a bar on Queen Street West. She has been at a party and she has been carrying him in a sling. I have to meet them with the stroller, and we will all walk home through the crowds of women in fishnets and garter belts, which is the mandatory costume this year.
I am dressed as Me At 19, which involves looking as much as possible like a member of Siouxsie Sioux’s entourage, the so-called Bromley Contingent, at the Roxy Club in Covent Garden in 1977. So I have raccoon eyes, black lipstick, a torn T-shirt that says “White Riot” and is held together with safety pins, shiny PVC trousers and a leather jacket. (Yes, I really did go out like that at 19.)
So I am pushing this black stroller as quickly as I can, near 11 at night, past the drunken revelers of my neighbourhood, which includes walking past the largest mental hospital in the country, an area that looks like Halloween every day. People look first at my frightening face, my very rapid gait, and then down at the stroller, and then they see it is empty, and you can see their expressions change: the smile drops, they step out of my way: It’s not a costume, it’s another crazy with his imaginary baby! Some frat boys even yell at me, Hey, you pretending to have a kid to score candy? Asshole! Nutbar!
It’s not even easier to get into the restaurant with my stroller and my Marilyn Manson face and my safety pins and go and confidently scoop up the baby that’s sitting gurgling on a banquette. There is momentary alarm, until I show my deftness with the bottle that’s been hiding in my jacket pocket (nice and warm, against my chest the whole way). I don’t know why anyone was frightened of me, and not the baby – who was himself clad in a brand new black onesie with a large white skull (actually the Misfits logo) covering his torso.
See, I am starting him early on black clothes. So he will never be nervous about walking into any bar he wants wearing anything he wants. And also because it is going to be immensely fun, at least for the next five years, to dress him.
Image courtesy of ephotography on Flickr.