Saturday was one of those how-can-you-not-love-this-city days for me. The afternoon and early evening were spent with some of my Metblog pals and company shooting guns and eating enchiladas. At night I journeyed back to the valley (aka the inferno) for a friend’s birthday party. The invites had what seemed to be an after-thought-ish line at the end that said “by the way there’s a superhero theme,” and while I will admit I conjure up images of Lynda Carter when I’m in a bind and need to pretend I’m more than I actually am, I didn’t really pay any attention to the theme. Nor did anyone else apparently. Except my friends, L & N, who came dressed as a superhero banana and villain banana (the latter complete with drawn-on tattoos that said things like “wild bunch” and “nana”).
I came a bit late to the party (if this sounds like a metaphor, fine) and when I got there, I asked after L. “Oh she’s in the back,” they said, “She’s in a banana suit.” And here’s the thing about Los Angeles–even in a whitebread (if you ignore the porn) suburb like Chatsworth at a party in a yard with a gazebo, you can come dressed as a superhero banana and, while that’s notable, it’s not bizarre. It’s really, really hard to be weird here. If you’ve lived here all your life, you may not realize what a gift that is. Me, I grew up in Washington, DC where every grown woman dresses like a flight attendant. Open-toed shoes in the workplace are oeutre, and “business casual” means you can maybe take off your jacket if you’re a man. Nor were my years in the upper midwest, as you might expect, spent surrounded by fashion-forward risk-takers. “You’re wearing that to the party?” my former mother-in-law might say. “Well, that’s different.”
I remember at one point in my early 20s I was visiting a friend in Manhattan and we had parked the car in a tow-away-after-8am zone. We were deliriously tired at 8am, but A, my friend, threw on a bathrobe and went out to move the car. She looked like an extra from a John Waters movie, complete with ratty, fuzzy slippers, but it was Manhattan and no one cared. LA grants us this same freedom. It’s really hard to be a weirdo in this city. I love that about this place.