It took me 20+ years to find this picture funny. The only reason I'm in possession of it today is that I stole it from my mother's photo album in my twenties out of shame. Why? That particular Halloween was one of my first moments of awareness that I was different than other little boys and that different did not always go over well with one's parents and friends. I very clearly recall my mom encouraging me to be something else, my dad asking why the hell I wanted to go trick or treating as a woman and getting teased a bit by my friends. This photo was hard to look at for a long time. Now, I just feel sorry for the kid in that picture for not having someone around to give him a squeeze and let him know that he should hang in there for another 8 or 10 years at which time he can get the hell out of that little town and see there is a world full of people just like him.
Today, I get a really good laugh out of this picture. There are just so many things wrong here- the hair painted on my legs, my trailer trash makeup (which is the only makeup I could ever do- my upbringing I suppose), the fact that in a gay universe my exaggerated feminine pose would be just as it should be, but in Decorah? I was also a tall child. The other two in the picture are a few years older than me. I could have passed for a really trashy 15 year old. Had I had my wits about me back then, I might have wandered in to the Corner Bar and seen if the locals would have bought me a drink. Mmmmmm. Locals.