Recent Splats according to Miz Yank

Letting It All Hang Out

Two weekends ago, my father, at 71 years of age, suddenly found himself nearly face-to-face with a bunch of singing, naked people.

No, he had not joined the chorus at a nudist colony; he’d gone with me and my mother to see “Hair” at the Keegan Theater in D.C., and we were sitting in the second row.

Nothing in my life had prepared me for that particular moment, and I’m fairly certain Dad didn’t see it coming, either.  For openers, Dad is not a culture guy.  He loves sports first and foremost, and his idea of high art is watching Roy Halladay pitch a no-hitter.  He appreciates a good play or musical from time to time, but he doesn’t go out of his way for it.  In fact, it usually takes some convincing to get him to trade nine innings for two acts.

It’s particularly impressive, then, that Mom got him to agree to see “Hair,” because the very name of the show refers to something Dad hasn’t had in years. (Not on his head, anyway.)

I wasn’t around to hear Mom’s sales pitch, but I bet she chose not to burden my father with the nitty-gritty of the plot.  She probably told him it was a musical about the ‘60s and left it at that.  Mom would have known that, had she offered a more complete description of the show –a bunch of hippies singing about sex, drugs and war in graphic detail –my straight-laced father might not have left the house.

Or maybe she just wanted Dad to be surprised.  I could relate to that.  I wanted to be surprised, too.  I knew nothing about the show beyond its setting time-wise, and I intended to keep it that way.  I purposely avoided reading reviews, synopses, or any other press.

On the night of the show, our group, which included two of my aunts and uncles and a few of their friends, arrived at the Keegan at 7:45.  The theater is a beautiful, all-brick building near Dupont Circle.  Built in 1905, it originally served as the gymnasium for a girls school.

Since its conversion to a performing arts venue, the Keegan has shed its gym image but not so much the 1905 part.  Nowhere is this more evident than in its two restrooms.  Located in the basement, each is a “one-holer” that features what may be original plumbing, as well as a sign above the toilet that reads: Please jiggle the handle.

My father must have felt right at home on seeing this public endorsement of his lone solution for every plumbing malady.  But any goodwill he was feeling shot right out the window when, during the first ten seconds of the play, one of the male leads performed an extended pantomime of what I’ll euphemistically refer to as an act of “self-gratification.”  (Hey, my mother reads this blog.)

As I sat next to my father, I was truly beside myself.  I had brief hopes of escape by way of spontaneous combustion, using the heat that had sprung to my cheeks.  When that didn’t work, I did what any mature, professional 42 year-old woman would do: I snickered uncontrollably.  Dad’s face looked like something out of Easter Island.

The three of us somehow made it all the way through the first act, despite one song whose title and lyrics read like entries in Roget’s Thesaurus: Human Mating Edition.

During the intermission, my parents and I chatted, pointedly omitting mention of the unsavory stuff and instead praising the cast for its vocal skills, costumes, and willingness to abandon any pretense of grooming habits in order to get “in character.”

Great pic of the cast, thanks to DC Theater Scene!

We returned to our seats and everything was going fine until the middle of Act Two, when the Hippies decided to stage a “be-in” at a park.

Since I was born in 1971, I had no idea what a “be-in” was.  I quickly learned it’s short for “be in your birthday suit” as the ensemble burst into song and out of their clothes, singing as a full Monty chorus line for a minute that felt like a year.  Forget “Let the Sunshine In;” the moons had taken center stage.  I couldn’t bear to look at my father.

The show ended shortly after that—a mercy killing—and the cast began to take its bows.  Dad, who hadn’t so much as applauded once during the show, stunned me by being one of the first people to leap to his feet and clap with genuine enthusiasm.

He saw my surprise and said, “The music wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, and the whole thing’s a little dated, but they gave it everything they had, and they were great.” He was absolutely right, because the production was nothing short of top-notch.

I had underestimated my father, as I’ve done many times over the course of my life.  I should have known that, instead of dwelling on the stuff he didn’t like, my father would look past form, focus on substance, and zero in on the naked truth.

Comments

  1. Ha! Glad he enjoyed it!
    Will his next theater trip be to see a revival of La Cage Aux Folles, or would men dressed in drag just be too much after the nudity?

    • miz yank says:

      Hahaha! Mom and I were just using “Hair” as a training ground. Next week, the three of us head to Alaska, where we convinced him to join us for ziplining and whitewater rafting. How could this possibly go wrong?!?!? (But just in case it does, I’ve updated my will to leave my blog to you, E.G.)

      • *begins writing eulogy, just in case*
        *leaves room for the tragically hilarious “cheez whiz and goat” story*
        *realizes it isn’t true but there will be no one to contradict*
        *leaves story in*

        hehehe 😉

        That sounds like a blast! have a great time!!!

        • miz yank says:

          Haha! I knew I was leaving this in just the right hands…Thanks for the good trip wishes, Guap! I’m just going for writing content, of course. Hey, I’ve gone further for less. 🙂 Wishing you and TMWGITU relaxation, fun, and all good things while I’m away!

  2. Bwahahaha, I can totally picture both your Dad and you with the flushed cheeks. I used to get that same feeling when I was a teenager and the nature shows my (extremely conservative) parents and I watched would get to the mating parts. I will never forget the graphic video of whales mating, and the narrator talking about how long the male, um, equipment was (and said equipment was blatantly on display on the the TV). Spontaneous combustion would have been just the thing at that moment.

    • miz yank says:

      The next time someone asks me which power I’d choose if I became a superhero, I’m going to say “spontaneous combustion.”

  3. Also, the Easter Island comparison is classic!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] unless you count a 4th grade field trip to Jamestown, or time-travel by way of going to see “Hair” with my […]

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