Over at Killings, the blog of the wonderful Kill Your Darlings journal, I wrote about a day I spent with my brilliant and delightful new pal Jon-Jon Goulian, author of The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt…
The first time I heard of Jon-Jon Goulian, I was flipping through US Vogue, and a personal essay called Fish Out of Water caught my eye. I’d already become fascinated by androgyny in men’s fashion – from the ethereal beauty of Andrej Pejic to Marc Jacobs in his trademark kilt – so this nostalgic story of an anxious and insecure teenager finding solace by dressing in sarongs and high heels naturally caught my attention.
Set against the romantically retro backdrop of California in the 1980s, the essay centres around the writer’s unlikely friendship with a gorgeous and popular girl called Courtney. Jon-Jon – a nickname I already felt entitled to use – remembers afternoons they spent at the beach after school in matching seashell necklaces, giggling in a shared changing room as they tried on leggings and halter-tops. With my love for the dramatic and people with more courage than me to be themselves, the story made my little heart leap. How could I not be entranced by a guy who would show up to his high school prom in a skirt, tights, high heels and red lipstick – with the hottest girl at school on his arm?