Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Life Scripted

My friend, Brian, recently unearthed some old Brady Bunch scripts while helping clear a friend's father's place. He asked me if I would like to have them to possibly auction for Precious Paws (our animal rescue charity). I eagerly accepted them and when I got them home put them in a box noticing that the one on top was “Cyrano De Brady” This is the episode where Peter, unable to come up with the right words to impress a girl he likes, enlists the help of Greg who hides in the bushes telling him what to say. I didn't have a chance to look through all of the scripts before this one had a magical influence on our household.

My son has a very androgynous look. He's a lucky boy in that both girls and guys find him attractive and at this stage he finds them both attractive too. I would predict that he will wind up being straight but have made it very clear that if he is gay, he'll get no grief from me. God knows there are enough people who think it's their duty to impose any hurtful and stupid judgements that their equally ignorant belief system may have on homosexuals. Since I will never ascribe to such a perverse misuse of human intellect, he is safe with me but I have advised him that a “don't ask don't tell” approach is simply common sense. He definitely likes girls and he currently has one that he is very interested in. In an effort to please and impress her, he agreed to go with her and other friends to a Halloween dance. This group of kids decided they want to dress up as characters from “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. I was surprised that he knew what this was and then he reminded me that he'd seen the movie at the Bonaduce (as in Danny) house. The kids had gotten impatient and he never saw the whole movie. He assumed he was being asked to play the lead role which in his mind would be Frank N. Furter.

He was pretty excited about finding a corset and fish net stockings, I was surprised that he had the courage to be willing to don such a get up. But my son is quite the artist at heart and had he grown up when I did, he might have been in that whole Tiffany theater Rocky Horror scene that several of my friends actually created. I spoke to one of my friends and asked where to get a proper corset for the Frank get up. It seems the market is dominated with a one size fits only large men version that would never do for my slightly built 14 year old son. We discussed various options and when I next spoke to my son I said I was pretty confident that we could pull this off. I showed him pictures of Tim Curry as Frank and Mike said “Yeah that’s the guy, that’s Rocky”. “Well no, “ I corrected, that’s Frank. “She says she wants me to be Rocky”

But this is the star, this is Frank.

You mean Rocky isn’t the star?

No. He’s the creature Frank is making. He’s at the end of the movie.

My son said he’d find out for sure and soon came downstairs saying that he had called another girl to ask details about these costume plans. He isn't calling the girl he likes because he's too shy. “Valerie says that Liz says she wants me to be Rocky, not Frank. She says he's the one at the end of the movie. Rocky. What does he look like?”

Then I turned into Fog Horn Leg Horn. “What... I say what? Let’s get this straight Boy! That! ... I say, THAT is a whole different story!” All of my coolness about my son’s sexuality just went flying out the window and I realized there was a huge difference between “gay” and “just plain faggy ass”. “NO!! I WON'T LET YOU!” Were the next words that flew out of me. I then tried to explain. “That’s just not cool! If you’re going to go out in public wearing nothing but underwear, it needs to be cool!” I explained that dressing up as Frank was taking a big risk, it’s a brave thing to do and even if this girl decides she doesn’t think it’s cool, you will have made a strong statement that you can still feel OK about. Frank is cool. Frank is attractive to both men and women. But Rocky, well Rocky is just a TOOL in gold underpants. TOOL not COOL!

He talked to the girl’s friend who was the liaison for the whole thing. She texted back to him something about how much this girl will like him if he dresses like Rocky. OK now my fears are peaking . I realized that it was entirely possible that my son was being set up. What if they were insisting that he be Rocky just to get him to do something humiliating? And even if this was a simple oversight on their part they will surely realize what a bad move it is after about a minute. This reminded me of the time that the Billboard Awards wanted to reunite us Brady cast members as the Silver Platters. They wanted us to dress up in the old outfits and perform a song. In theory this was fine but in reality it would be glorious for about 15 seconds. The rest of the song would be sufficient time to carry us into irretrievable depths of humiliation. The same would be true for my boy.

Honey, even if she thinks it’s great, you will be stuck for the entire evening wearing nothing but a spray tan and gold underpants, it will not be pleasant; I can't let you do this. I showed him what the character looked like. He hated it. He went back and texted the friend of the girl to tell her that he wasn’t going to do it. He was willing to be Frank but not Rocky. She replied that it meant a lot to the girl he liked and I suppose she inferred that he would score points with her. He was getting frustrated with me. He wanted to give in but I knew that if he did, it would lead to years of therapy. I knew I could just put my foot down and not let him go but I wanted him to work through this. I was also getting very suspicious of any girl that would try to entice my son to go to a dance wearing nothing but gold underpants. This was making me mad! I told him that he needed to tell this girl directly that he was not going to make a fool of himself. I figured that if she was simply toying with him as I suspect that she is, she really needs to see him stand up for himself and his own dignity. Through the day we went about our regular business while we discussed the matter. While pumping gas I asked him if there was a girl she was jealous of that she thought was really pretty. He mentioned Megan Fox. I said “Tell her that you wouldn’t even dress as Rocky for Megan Fox.” I kept throwing out suggestions until we got home and he handed me his phone and said “Can you just write it?”

That seemed simple enough and so I did. In a minute or two he got a reply saying something to the effect of "you promised now you aren't going to do it, some friend you are! Now we won't include you in any more of our costume collaborations... " This pissed ME off. I discussed his reply but since my ability to word things was better... My fingers were flying as I typed another text explaining that humiliating "me" should not be a necessary element of friendship. "I'd" given a more than adequate substitution of Frank and am now more than a little disappointed in how little respect she had for “my”feelings.

Having done more than my share of meddling I handed the phone back to Mike and told him what had transpired in his texted conversation and what “he” had said. I then left for another errand. When I got back he was beaming. He said she had apologized to him and said she was sorry for not appreciating his feelings. He was very happy. My texts did the trick. I looked at the box on the coffee table and saw the script on top “Cyrano De Brady”. I thought about life imitating art and decided that I'd better stop texting for my son lest this girl falls in love with me through my texts.

So I guess I don’t get to help my son dress up like a sweet transvestite. The kids all changed their minds and decided to dress to the theme of super heroes, Mike is happier because he's going back to his original idea of being a character from his favorite Video game franchise: Super Mario Brothers.

He's going to be Princess Peach.


pat said...

Hmmm have you thought about maybe, Eli Manning and a NY Jets costume?

Susan said...

A football player? I don't think I could bare to see that!
I am encouraging him to be this very macho heavy metal guitar player though.

James said...

Ask Craig sometime about how often I wrote (and still write) the "script" for him to follow in dealing with situations with people.

Jenny said...

Just got around to reading this. This is a touching story, not only for protecting Michael from a Carrie like humiliation, but appreciating the fact that he thinks both girls and guys are attractive, and you supporting your son in whatever choices he makes. Great Susan