Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jump to the Left, Put Your Hands on Your Hips, And...

I was ten the first time I saw Rocky Horror Picture Show live. I know now that I have a genetic pre-disposition to deviance and weirdness but that night, although I didn't understand most of what was happening, I knew what I witnessed in the theater aisles and on the screen were right and good.
My best friend at the time ruled his mother with a bratty whine and temper tantrums that pierced the ear. She bought us near-beer and gained a promise that I wouldn't tell my mother as a comprise when he started in on his dad's supply of Milwaukee's Best. Somehow he had heard about the Rocky Horror Picture Show and decided that it was something he also wanted.
Back then (am I really old enough to use that phrase), Rocky Horror was only shown in shabby dollar movie theaters at midnight.
Dutifully she drove us to the theater, bought us tickets and popcorn and sat down with us for the show. His mom was a southern Belle of the genteel persuasion. Her perfect coif was shipped directly from the fifties. She spoke in the most polite and honeyed southern tones.
The show started and I had found my world. I leaned forward eyes wide, darting to and fro the costumed people in the audience throwing hot dogs, doing the time warp, trying to fuck the narrator's butt chin. Beside me my friend greedily chomped at his popcorn and chuckled at the tits on screen. The mom didn't move. She tried to entreat her son to leave but he silenced her with a 'shut up, Mom'. She gripped the theater seat and squeezed her eyes shut the entire time. On the occasions she opened them, there would be a huff and an 'oh my god'. I tried to feel guilty but the pull of weirdness was too much for my ten year old soul.
As I got older I became more refined in my tastes for the odd but that first Rocky Horror, like a first love, will never be forgotten.
When the lights went up and we dusted the rice and confetti from our laps, the crowd began to leave and one of the audience members dressed as Frank-N-Furter pointed us out and yelled, “Holy shit, this lady brought her kids.” They all laughed. The mom was horrified. I felt like the baddest ass ten year old in the world.

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