How Prada Made Me Realize I’m Bad at Being a Gay Stereotype

Last week I accompanied a friend to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual post-Pride gala, which happened to coincide with the museum’s current Prada (as in The Devil Wears Prada) exhibition. Apparently fashion is art. I’m not sure when this happened exactly, as I was probably too busy going to grad school to allow myself to walk by a retail display window and think, “Wow, that shoe is so deep. It should be in a museum.”

Two things:

  1. I’ve never really thought of myself as the type of person who’d show up to a fancy gay gala and high-end fashion exhibit wearing an Old Navy shirt and brown shoes with a black belt… but it seems that I am that type of person, and I might be okay with that.
  2. I’m also the type of person who unabashedly takes pictures in high-end fashion exhibits with my phone, and for that, you’re welcome, because those pictures will be featured here to tell the story of how I’m a repressed dominatrix trapped in a Mennonite’s body. Or something. (This may or may not make sense later.)

Given the above, I was of course judged by many a pretentious gay man throughout the evening. However, I was having way too much fun abusing the open bar to really take issue with such trivialities. I was also busy trying to figure out a way to approach Wilson Cruz, who was in attendance, and let him know that I loved him in the season one Christmas episode of Ally McBeal where he portrayed a down-on-her-luck transvestite prostitute.

Wilson and I never connected, mainly because I kept losing him. Between the drinking and the abundance of people, my stalking abilities (which are typically beyond reproach) were challenged.

                            Army of gays invades the Met, Prada to blame.

Eventually, we finished our cocktails and meandered into the Prada exhibit just before it closed for the evening.

If you were thinking that a museum exhibit of Prada fashion would simply look like a bunch of clothes on mannequins, then you would be correct. That is exactly what it looked like. However, some additional details helped to vaguely legitimatize the whole thing:

  • The mannequins had bizarre Lucha Libre-style wrestling masks covering their faces. It was both creepy and awesome.
  • Moody lighting.
  • There were little descriptions of the clothing on fancy plates that used seemingly big words like “subvert” and “harbinger.”

Naturally, I started trying to figure out which Prada mannequin most represented who I am on the inside. The answer came to me when I found one wearing a kick-ass mask and a super-sexy black dress with a plunging neckline.

                                  I’m feisty and will dominate you in bed.

This mannequin, I thought, is in the driver’s seat of her life. She knows what she wants, and she’s not afraid to take it. Wear a crazy mask that makes it look like I might sexually assault my doorman when I get home just because it’s Tuesday? Don’t mind if I fucking do. And I’ll do it with my fake mannequin boobs all up in your face, too! Because I can.

Me relating to this possibly-criminal minx of a mannequin probably lasted for about thirty more seconds until I discovered the more likely representation of my true self:

                            Don’t say the word “sex” around me, I might melt.

Yep. I am any one of these super conservative wives of Republican men who golf. Or if I’m not one of them, then they are for sure my bitches. We definitely have at least, like, ninety-seven things in common — starting with early bedtimes, an appreciation for perfect vacuum streaks, and the crippling need for a husband. The presence of these women was supremely ironic, as they, like me, could clearly give a shit about fashion. They probably showed up just to fuck with people and laugh later, and I admire them for that.

As I stood in amazement of my mannequin soul mates, a well-dressed young man approached from behind and said, “Ah, brilliant! All of the pleating is an illusion. Oh, Prada!

I wanted to respond meaningfully, but all I could think about was how desperately I wished I could sip martinis with my mannequin bitches while having a roundtable discussion about how hilarious his statement was.

Moments later, my real-life friend with whom I came to the event retrieved me and we proceeded to leave. As we escorted ourselves out, I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the Met’s mirrors. I saw the reflection of a snobby fashion-hater who’s marginally attractive but could probably be way hotter if dressed in nice clothes and given a dramatic facial makeover — much like Anne Hathaway’s character during the entire first half of The Devil Wears Prada. I apparently am that type of person as well.

And I might be okay with that.


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