Saturday, July 21, 2018


by C. Reagan (writer), WEST HOLLYWOOD, October 14, 2006


The process of getting dressed for a night out is long and complicated. A heap of clothes looks utterly insignificant on the bathroom floor. It’s not until I begin to pick each article up one by one, twist, pull and tuck them onto my frame, and model them in a full length mirror that they begin to become something much more meaningful.

Each and every combination alters the blank canvas of my body. All of them are struggling to be chosen as the night’s featured exhibit. But, it’s up to me to decide what theme to choose.

The purple polka dot tie, the grey dress shirt and the tattered, destroyed jeans jump out as contenders. This combination cries “Frat Boy” in the loudest possible shriek. Immediately, I feel respected, known, well-liked and recognized in this outfit. I am swept back to the Thursdays of half-a-decade ago in which I was forced into an ensemble very similar to this to signify my solidarity to Sigma Phi Epsilon.

If I pull a Red Sox cap over my messy, brown hair, I can reflect the eccentric behaviors of a Boston Fan. People will know that I am loyal and passionate, as all Red Sox fans are.

But, the frat boy look has become too predictable and comfortable for me, so I toss it aside and kick my way through the pile.

Out emerges and expensive t-shirt bought at a trendy boutique, baggy khaki shorts and stylish but scuffed Pumas. The safe frat boy look is still evident, but now, I’m athletic, sporty and seem to rise above the urges of “high-fashion”. In this outfit, it seems that I don’t need to fit in with the other boys. I am comfortable and flattered by these clothes, but my eyes shimmer with the truth. I’m not nearly ready to not “fit in” at a gay bar in West Hollywood. It lands on top the other clothes with a soft, but familiar, thud.

Black is the new black. In pinstripe pants, a dark, tailored button down and polished black Ferragamos, I can pass for the east-cost hipster I really long to be. Not complete without a venti double soy latte and dark aviator sunglasses, I’ve found this to be the perfect shopping outfit. At a trip to Barney’s, sales people would be impressed with my sleek, simple style. When I make a small purchase and manage to get my paws on the shopping bag embellished with the Barney’s logo, I know that respect will be heaved in my direction. As I stroll from shop to boutique to store, people will ponder who the dark clad young man is shopping all alone. They will debate over what I do on the east-coast for a living and never be able to guess that I serve coffee and sandwiches to real hipsters every day. When someone asks where I bought my great slacks, they will never know that they come from a Salvation Army Thrift Store in my hometown. Instead, I will explain that they are simply “vintage”. A knowing nod is the only acceptable response to such an in-the-know fellow. But, for a night out in L.A.’s Boys Town, I would seem unapproachable. The whole idea is to be approached. The blacks join the growing pile of cast-offs in the corner of the bedroom.

The light weight crimson cashmere sweater, dark jeans and camel brown shoes. Now, I’ve become the cute, every-day, boy-next-door. As I shape my hair into a messy, gel infused coif, I beam at how the canvas has turned out. Accessorized by a blinding smile and lime wedge perched on the edge of a vodka tonic in my tan hand, I can almost already see the friendly glances from the other boys right there in my bedroom mirror. I turn to the left and right, experimenting with different poses and various stages of chest puffs. With this collection, I could meet a nice, educated guy. Maybe he would be a boy-next-door too. Perhaps, we could end up happily ever after.

I stop for another glance at my reflection in the glass of the sliding patio door in the living room. I pause at the drama I’ve created just over getting dressed. I ponder if anyone else gets so worked up every time they get ready to go out. My thoughts are cut short as the roommate descend the staircase,

“This doesn’t look too slutty does it? Hell, I don’t care, it’s a gay bar!!”

She has her canvas complete as well, her brown hair flowing over bare shoulder. Tonight, her theme is that of “fruit-fly”. She can relax because the gays all love it when she shows some skin. Of course, this look would never work at a straight bar. She’d be a completely different piece of art in a whole new gallery.

Pulling myself from the mirror, the thoughts about my creation are lost with the excitement of “going out” in L.A. I smooth the sides of my hair and the roommate takes my arm and we jet off into the cool, October night.

Across the hall, a neighbor glances out the window at the young couple leaving for the evening. She thinks to herself,

“That boy looks so charming! What is he doing with a girl dressed like that?”

She sighs and turns out the light, pulling the blanket over her legs wondering what the boy-next-door was like in the sack….

About the Writer

C. Reagan is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Canvas

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By Denise M on November 14, 2006 at 06:38 am
This piece exuded a cool and calm flow the entire time. You could really follow the narrator and imagine the small glances he gave himself in the tinted and somewhat reflective sliding glass doors in his WeHo apartment. Amazingly, I know this whole hour-long process, and I think you've captured it beautifully. :)
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