The stylists and makeover mavens of Manhattan are freaking out. They are itching to get their controlling paws on a Park Slope resident named Christine Marinoni. Ms. Marinoni is the New York State campaign director for the Alliance for Quality Education. She is also Cynthia Nixon’s new girlfriend, and she dresses like Huey Lewis.
Ms. Marinoni’s startling disregard for the accepted norms of celebrity dressing has sent shock waves through the entire fashion community, with the exception of one person: moi. Christine and Cynthia, don’t listen to these fashion fascists! I, for one, am delighted that you two have found each other and applaud your happiness, your incredible openness and your Eddie Bauer outfits.
And to you fashionistas: Leave Christine alone! Based on my extensive knowledge of the lesbian community, I can state categorically that a Marinoni makeover would be a complete disaster. A radical style change would upset the delicate balance of lesbo dynamics that have brought these two lovebirds together.
Lesbian culture, just like gay male culture, is filled with jarring paradoxes and fishy conundrums. The following pointers may help the uninitiated:
Fact: Some gay women live in a wacky opposite world where the conventional rules of attraction are often reversed. If you’re a lesbian and you are unfortunate enough to look like Brigitte Bardot or Kate Moss, you will probably sit at home most nights, dateless and depressed. If you look like Johnny Cash, then your dance card is probably full.
Fact: While gay men are used to having their subculture publicly dissected with sweeping generalizations, gay women tend to be more sensitive. I anticipate getting a bunch of irate letters-postmarked Park Slope-about this column.
Fact: Most gay women aren’t very keen on straight men-often with good reason-and yet they suffer from an overwhelming desire to resemble them. This factoid also applies to gay men who, though terrified of construction workers, will go to any lengths to duplicate them.
Fact: Ms. Marinoni bears more than a passing resemblance to Cynthia’s ex-partner, Danny Mozes. Make of that what you will.
Fact: Most of the lesbians in Park Slope are not-I repeat, not-racking their brains to figure out how Christine snagged a glamourpuss like Cynthia. Au contraire! They are wondering why a gal like Christine-a gal who could have any women she wanted-settled for a skinny, pretty Hollywood flibbertigibbet like Cynthia.
Fact: It would be a huge mistake to imagine for one minute that Christine is not conscious of her appearance. The codes and nuances which come together to create her particular brand of nonthreatening, ultra-cozy Park Slope chic are every bit as nuanced as Carrie Bradshaw’s kooky urban trendiness. Fanny packs are the Blahniks of Park Slope.
Talking of fanny packs: My gay sister Shelagh recently had a close call. Earlier this month, she and her friends converged on the house of a friend in South London for an evening of herbal tea, polite discourse and Janis Ian. Upon arriving, they all dumped their anoraks and fanny packs on the hostess’ bed. (N.B.: In the U.K., “fanny” means “vagina.” A “fanny pack” therefore sounds, to English ears, as if it might be some kind of poultice for the nether regions. As a result, fanny packs are known as “bum bags.”) After two or three hours of sisterly conviviality, they returned to their respective homes, only to find that their front-door keys no longer seemed to work. It turns out they had all unwittingly gone home with THE WRONG BUM BAGS!
Back to Ms. Marinoni: If Christine were to come to me on bended knees begging for advice on how to streamline her image, I would make only one teensy-weensy small suggestion. Her current version of masculine lesbian style could use a little more Rat Pack sizzle, if you know what I mean. Simply put, I would encourage her to butch it up a bit. Manhattan tailoring genius Thom Browne could make her a light gray three-button tux with his signature grosgrain ribbon-lapel trim and covered buttons. A custom suit from Thom costs $5,200-more money than the entire lesbian population of Park Slope has ever spent on clothes. Not to worry, Christine-the missus can afford it.