Some of you, mainly the people who've known me a while, or worked with me, or attended a formal event that I've gone to, or helped me celebrate a birthday, will know that I occasionally make and wear kilts. Not for any real ancestral reason, although the Dandy line is almost certainly blessed with a bewildering array of Scottish blackguards and jackanapes.
I just like messing with people's heads, and, as has been mentioned in multiplicity before, I am a massive show-off - And there're few things more likely to get you noticed in public than having your knees out and not wearing any underwear - You ask any woman between the ages of 16 and 40.
However, there are times when even wearing a kilt sees you fading into the background, Highland events for instance, or weddings of whacky and/or self-important people. The thing to wear on these occasions, for the fashion concious Dandy at least, would obviously be something like full Roman Imperial battledress or the rear half of a pantomime horse. This situation vexes me greatly, the Chimping Dandy does not do 'fading into the background' easily.
Which is bizarre really, because on one occasion, I was in a room with over a thousand, like-minded, people - And I was probably one of the most conservatively dressed people there, and I had a marvellous time.
Many, many, years ago, I used to work with a young lady, quite pretty, moderately shy, and very efficient at her job. If you looked up the phrase 'Butter would not melt in her mouth' in a dictionary of phrases (if such a thing exists) there would be a picture of her. After we both left the company, we kept in touch by eMail, as Facebook etc. did not exist at the time.
One day, I received an email from her that said something along the lines of, 'We're going to a show in London and can get you some cheap tickets if you're interested'. Now, not being blessed with children at the time, both Mrs Dandy & myself jumped at the chance and immediately started to prepare.
Prepare? I assume that you're asking, 'Why would you have to prepare for a London Show? Unless it was Rocky Horror? Was it Rocky Horror?'
The young lady in question, and her significant other of the time, had developed certain... erm... Shall we say 'Peccadillos'? that made them very popular with other, like minded, couples (Don't get excited, that's not where this story is headed - Not exactly anyway) - And the show in question was: Skin-Two Magazine's Rubber Ball.
Google it... But probably not at work...
It's a jolly get-together for people who enjoy dressing up and pushing the envelope, or being naked and being sealed in an envelope. And they really won't let you in if you're wearing 'Smart-Casual'. So I put on my Seamstress' head (The one I keep in the freezer for situations just such as these) And knocked up a couple of costumes. I made a PVC hobble-skirt for Mrs Dandy - Which was more zips than PVC. And for myself, I made a kilt, also out of PVC (Which, for those who wish to replicate the experience, is a right, royal, bitch to iron pleats into).
We booked a VERY nice hotel in London, a couple of First-Class train tickets, and waited.
On the night in question, we'd all agreed to meet in a pub around the corner from the venue in, I think, Hammersmith. Of course, when we got there, they were nowhere to be seen (Turns out that they'd 'bumped into some old friends in the hotel' - repeatedly, in several different positions, I'd imagine), but the place was full, almost to bursting, of clinically odd people. We found a table with a couple of spare stools and proceeded to wait.
We shared the table with three giant transvestites, I don't mean they were really, really, transvestite... I mean that they were all just shy of 7 feet tall. I really wish that I could remember their actual names, but I'm just going to have to make them up, they were great... guys?... And introduced themselves with both their male and female names - 'I'm Patrick-Mary, He's Brian-Fifi and that guy at the bar's Steve-Tracey'.
One was dressed in an outfit completely made of car-mats, which gave... him... a distinctly Female Klingon vibe, one was dressed as a bald Nun, with a PVC habit (the clothing item, not the lifestyle choice), but with the buttock area cut out, and the other was dressed in sort of a neon Flashdance ensemble which left very little to the imagination for either his male or female 'identities'.
We spent a happy couple of hours, swapping stories, such as we could with our limited knowledge of this type of thing - it turned out that we'd all turned up unfashionably early. And 'Patrick-Mary' was just telling us about the time his wife came home early and found him dressed in her wedding underwear and pleasuring himself with the toilet-brush when I felt a hand on my shoulder and a German voice said,
'Excuse me, may I haf a vord?'
I looked up and saw a bald, stocky gentleman, with a magnificent handlebar moustache, wearing a tight white T-shirt and a significant amount of rubber/leather.
'My friends unt I noticed vat ju are vearing vhen you vent to ze bar, ve vere vonderink if you minded us takink a few photos?'
I looked at Mrs Dandy, she shrugged, I looked at our new found friends, they grinned and excitedly gave me the thumbs-up. I stood, and then followed the German chap to the other side of the room, where a table of similar gentlemen, clad in various wipe-clean outfits were sat, along with a collection of suspiciously professional looking cameras.
'Ju stand zere und ve take a few photos, yes?'
I nodded, still not 100 percent comfortable with the situation, but did my best to strike a pose that didn't make me look like I'd stepped from the pages of the Littlewoods catalog.
'Nein, nein, nein... More... er... GRRRRRR!'
I did the 'Hulk-Smash' pose, you know where you grit your teeth, and sort of bring your arms into your chest and bend over (towards the camera, before you ask).
'Jah, Jah, ist gut... Now er... More sidevays!'
We were starting to attract a bit of a crowd, and if I'm honest, I was well out of my comfort zone, but it was all in fun and no-one seemed to be taking themselves too seriously (apart from one of the photographers, who REALLY looked to be enjoying himself) - It probably didn't take more than five minutes, it felt like a lifetime though.
'Gut, jah, I sink zat iz enough... Can ju just sign zis?'
They handed me what I assume was a model release form and offered to buy us all a drink, which we accepted. We were there for about another hour before we decided to head off to the event proper. As we left, the chap with the moustache waved and called,
'The magazine should be out next month!'
I might save the sights, sounds and smells of the actual Ball for another episode - I think it probably deserves one of its own.
So, if you ever find yourself rambling in the German countryside, and happen across a gentleman's art pamphlet, designed for one-handed reading, lying unloved in the bottom of a hedgerow, and think you recognise someone in a two-page photospread...
You might not be wrong.