On the agenda — since we know that all gays have one — for our first full day in NYC, Megan planned for a big ‘5th Avenue day’ for me. I’d get a chance to either play like I belong or have my Julia Roberts Pretty Woman moment. We’d get my Tiffany & Co. mesh ring steam cleaned while finishing up some delicious post-brunch dessert treats from Má Pêche so we could claim we had Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
“…the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!” Holly Golightly
Treated to coffee/tea service and pastries while awaiting the cleaning, we felt valued, respected and cherished. Holly was on to something.
Tiffany & Co. is located two doors down from Trump Tower and next door to Gucci. The security out front of Trump Tower was disturbing to say the least — touting semiautomatic weapons and bullet proof vests. And, this was on a day when none of the Trump cabal were in the vicinity.
I insisted on visiting the Gucci flagship store. Gucci has always been a designer who has inspired me. The bold patterns, primary colors, stunning textures, and impeccable Italian craftsmanship entice my eye, typically only discovering after the fact that I’m admiring Gucci couture. On each of the 3.5 floors (there is half of a floor dedicated to boy’s wear), sales associates from each room commented with affirmation and excitement about my style. Though they weren’t sure that anything in their sections would catch my eye, they were never-the-less overly enthusiastic to answer questions and geek out on fashion.
As the day progressed, we eventually made our way to Bergdorf Goodman — a bucket list item of mine since being awe-struck by the documentary Iris — dancing through the store as if on the silks in Cirque du Soleil. My 3-piece custom suit I designed with Leon Wu of Sharpe Suiting was barely obscured beneath my brilliant $5 thrift store find of the decade — an Etro coat that seems to be patterned after your grandmother’s couch upholstery. Always one to take it up 2 notches, I topped off with ensemble with my Goorin Bros. Circa 1880. We made it over to the Gucci boutique at Bergdorf’s when Megan’s eye was instantly caught and offended by a coat. I didn’t recognize it until she insisted that I try it on for pictures. It was the coat that Kellyanne Conway wore on inauguration day.
So, we were now on a covert mission. We’d secretly snap some shots of me wearing the coat. Once Megan secured one of me standing wearing it, she coaxed me over to a chair in the boutique. She whispered, “Quick! Do the Kellyanne squat on the chair.” After watching Kate McKinnon parody the pose several times on Saturday Night Live I thought I had it down. I gently lowered myself on the chair making all efforts to respect the coat and the furniture. Megan grabbed a few more pictures on her phone.
Suddenly, the woman working the boutique approached us. ‘Busted!’ I thought. But, I was so wrong.
She began by asking me what I thought about the coat that I was still wearing. I said in all candor, “I actually find it much lovelier than expected.” In truth, if it had not been tainted with the image of Kellyanne, I might have even tried it on unironically. She shot back, “No. I mean, what do you think about it since the inauguration?” She really wanted to go there. Alrighty, you asked for it.
“I find it a bit of an abomination,” hearing it in my head as I said it ‘Obama-nation.’ I wasn’t sheepish. She took this as her opportunity to unleash all of her #FWP rants about how the upper-crust of Manhattan elites cannot abide this administration. She further revealed that more than a dozen of the coats were returned after the inauguration and they cannot seem to sell anymore, at least in that location. Digging deeper, she tried to relate to us by sharing that she had many gay and lesbian friends and would stand by us to ensure our civil liberties and safety.
I will take allies wherever they may hide. Though, I do want to take a moment to tell our allies that there is no need to roll out your alleged credentials to ‘allyhood.’ You don’t have to have transgender, lesbian, gay, Muslim, black, Hispanic, female, etc. friends in order to appreciate the Golden Rule. Civil Rights shouldn’t only be made possible by those with whom we associate. They should be based upon the self-evident truth that we are all created equal, that we are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Now, back to Gucci. The woman at the boutique went on to ask me if I had taken a picture of myself in the coat doing the ‘Kellyanne squat.’ When I said I had, she asked to see.
“No, no, no. That’s not it! You have to cross and squat like this, and spread your knees a bit more.” As hard as I tried, I couldn’t do it quite right. My legs simply wouldn’t spread far enough. Megan suspects it is because I am a ‘proper lady.’ I more realistically suspicion my bad knees. We took a few more pictures.
After this ‘guerrilla staged photoshoot,’ a cisgender heterosexual couple stopped over to the Gucci boutique. The woman tried on a blazer as her male counterpart was taking out his phone for a picture. Our ‘Gucci-ally’ quickly turned from Megan and me and said sternly to them, “No photos in the boutique! Can you please put your phone away?”
It ends up that the only thing that does a soul any good sometimes is to jump in a Lyft and go to Gucci. Lights me up right away. The posh and circumstance of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. Fortunately for me, I’ve found my real-life place that’s made me feel like Gucci’s – We bought some furniture, legally married and kept our own last names!