The deep bass of the dance music pounded our chests as we tried not to walk into anyone while letting our eyes adjust to the semidarkness as the lasers and fog rolled over us. It was immediately obvious to me that we have come inappropriately dressed. My black T-shirt, khakis, desert boots, and Carhart coat would have been okay for an evening out at any bar or concert that I have ever been to, but here, I looked like the biggest "square", or "straight" you could possibly imagine. I felt like a nun in a biker bar. The crowd was dressed in mesh, fishnets, and black leather anything, but skin was the most predominate apparel. For example, there was a gent I passed as I was entering the men's room and he was wearing a straw cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and a speedo so small it could have been an eye patch. He also wore an enormous smile and walked like he owned the place. For all I know, he may have.
Most of the women wore variations of the bustier/teddy in various fabrics, most of them black, but there were a few reds in the crowd. The clothing was tailored so that it held their breasts up and out straight, to the point that they appeared to have a "shelf" a few inches under their chin that you could set your drink on had they held still long enough. The big trend seemed to the black electrical tape. All of the topless women and most of the men wore large X's of black electrical tape over their nipples, and it was always an X. Never a plus sign, or even a diamond or something. Always X's. I could picture them all out in the parking lot before coming in, passing around one role of electrical tape and trying to make sure it was on straight. The only exception was the balcony bartender who wore a giant furry, purple top hat and her pasties were mirrored daisies. She smiled politely as she charged me $8 for two bottles of Budweiser. It was only by the glint of her pasties that I could distinguish my $10 bill from my $5.
By my count, at least two-thirds of the men that were there came in drag. One notable was a tall, slim gent with greasy, stringy hair and glasses who spent the entire evening leaning over the balcony. He was topless and sported tall, black, patent leather boots, fishnets, and a short, quirky plaid school girl skirt. He seemed to be waiting for someone.
The most interesting person that I saw that night, bar none, was the baby. Here was a grey haired man, in his early sixties at a guess, dressed in a bonnet and bib, diaper, complete with rubber undies, booties, with his own diaper bag slung over his shoulder. I watched as he hailed a passing red headed girl, spoke to her briefly, and then knelt down on the sticky carpet and casually licked and suck her toes. He stood up, smiled, and thanked her and she waved as she plunged into the crowd after her friends. He brushed his gray mustache with his index finger and headed into the crowd the other way. We would see him, off and on again, chatting with people and making his way around the substantial room for the rest of the evening.
Originally, I wanted to wear a tuxedo to this affair, as it was to be a ball, something black and dignified seemed the best choice, but money prevented that. As a fall back plan, I considered a tweed sports coat and a tie, my good vest, and my bowler hat, mostly because I own a bowler hat and I seldom have the occasion to wear it. I'm glad I didn't wear it either. There was one guy in a coat and a tie, with waist length hair, and he looked like some academic who had wandered into the wrong night club to meet someone on a bad blind date. Another guy wore his bowler hat, but he had a huge river-boat gambler mustache, and he could pull it off.