People are Silly . .
. . . says Bob Leahy. Especially when it’s Halloween, raining and cold and you’re celebrating at Halloween central aka Toronto’s gay village at Church and Wellesley. Not that silly is bad, In fact, Bob argues, silly is very, very good.
Hurricane Sandy didn’t take a big bite out of Toronto and environs this week, but it did dump a lot of rain. Which lingered – and lingered – and lingered. Lingered right over Halloween in fact. How dare it! Gay Christmas (OK, that's Pride, but you get the point), not ruined but dampened mightily.
But who cares if the makeup was running a bit.
So the umbrellas were out on Church Street this past Wednesday, but so were the boys and girls, unfazed and dressed to the nines. I somehow thought they would be – that’s why my partner came out from our rural hideaway to enjoy the fun. And there was lots to see. There is nothing that can stop a wet but determined drag queen strutting her stuff, after all, or any of the others for whom this night is a big occasion, not to mention a huge opportunity to act silly.
But let’s face it, Halloween is not really about the scares anymore, is it? True we go through the motions of dragging out the ghouls and the goblins along with the pumpkin-themed tack, but who’s scared by all this? No, this holiday is all about being unselfconsciously, outrageously silly. Or at least for those that celebrate. And there is something really quite admirable, I’d suggest, for a grown man wanting to look like a fairy princess for one night – and then doing it. In the rain.
No way you’ll find me badmouthing silly here. Silly is a very good thing in my book. We have far too little silly in our world, so it’s great to see it in full flower on places like Church Street, whatever the weather.
And maybe the connection with HIV is a little tenuous here. But I can’t help thinking that, of the fun-loving gay men parading up and down here being truly outrageous, at least one quarter, maybe a bit more, are HIV-positive. That they were cold and wet, maybe skimpily dressed even, really matters not a bit on this one night of the year. I admire that immensely.
We should all be more silly, I think.
Even the guys from AIDS ACTION NOW! were out on the street, being inventively silly and serious, dressed as old hags, handing out leaflets that highlighted the witch hunt that is criminalization these days. Good stuff!
In any event, here’s the silly video I made. See what you think.