Halloween is a national holiday here in San Francisco. This isn’t simply because people get to dress in sexy costumes borrowed from their wives’ closets or purchased at one of our local leather emporiums. Yes, it is a time when people get to come out of their shell and walk around the streets of a major city expressing their inner slut, but there is more to it than that. It’s really about deeply felt convictions about the right to publically express one’s inner slut.
In 1960’s San Francisco Halloween was the only night of the year that dressing in drag was acceptable and legal. Back in those dark, scary days, children, a person could be arrested for cross-dressing, whereas now Senator Dianne Feinstein, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mayor Gavin Newsom do so every day on the job. (Ha ha—just kidding about Newsom.)
Things have changed since those days, but not as much as we like to pretend. Supposedly this culture became more sexually liberated in the past few decades, but as far as I can tell we are all pretty much the same old repressed bunch we have been for a long time now. In a typical office we simply pretend that there is no such thing as sexual attraction, lest someone get fired, sued, or humiliated. Men are still afraid of being seen as too girly (see the aforementioned Arnold Schwarzenegger for more on this). We don’t seem that much more liberated than we were, but I think we are just as confused, if not more so. I mean, our founding fathers were perfectly comfortable wearing powdered wigs and sipping sherry from delicate glasses, whereas many American men today drink only beer or manly vodka-laced cocktails and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a powdered wig.
Except, that is, for Halloween. Then, most anything goes, at least here in San Francisco. Oh yes—we’re repressed here in San Francisco, too. Even the gay men and lesbians are repressed. Really. Those pictures of the Gay Pride Parade with all the drag queens and dykes on bikes and speedo-wearing muscle-sissies, or of the Folsom Street Fair with whip-carrying dominatrixes leading other people around on leashes? Every one of those people is deeply sexually repressed.
I think Halloween in San Francisco is great, In fact, I think we should make Halloween a week long affair, something like Mardi Gras, only without the alcoholic insanity. But to make it work, we can’t tell anyone about it, because the outsiders like Fred Phelps and his ilk and Dr. Laura Schlessinger will come in and ruin things. If I am elected mayor, my platform is going to be week-long Halloween events. Are you with me?