I stand at the bathroom mirror, the portal of narcissism, too embarrassed to enter. Where are my enablers? The foundation. the clothes. The curling iron. The hairspray. The eyebrow pencil. They hover over me, and when they are done, I am hidden, but I am here. Now I can go there.

They’re all eyes. Eyes that are scanners running across my barcode. Scan. No beep. Scan. No beep. They’ll have to enter it manually. They ask: “So. What are you?”

I smile. “Glam Rock Peter Pan.”


“Or Prince as a Pirate.”


“Or a character from Velvet Goldmine.

I bag and carry myself away. No merchandise in the public restroom! But I go in. I am not doing this to impress people. I am doing this to impress that person, now standing on the other side of the portal. That person who looks like me, but so much more lovely. I mistake myself for them. We are Annie Lennox at the end of the “Who’s That Girl?” music video: opposite sex symbiosis. Male and Female He created them. Male and Female I combined them.

This is not a costume. It’s a confession.

I don’t need your lust. I don’t need your love.

All I need is His indwelling. All I need is this instant.

In the iris of imagination.


I read the lettering on the awning.  I read the lettering on the door.  I read the lettering on the Preferred Customer Card in my hand.

Then I walked in.

I made certain not to notice everyone noticing me.  I scanned the shelves uncertainly, then made a little-lamb-lost-in-the-storm face at the woman behind the counter.  “Could you help me?”  I asked, at once humble and confident (the signature of charm).  She smiled.  “Sure.  What is it?”  I looked at the card, then at her.  “My wife wanted me to pick up her – ” I paused, grinned at my ignorance, and made an ambiguous gesture.  “Her – foundation?”  She guessed, encouraging.  “Yeah,” I leaned in and stage whispered the confession, “she asked me this morning if I remembered what kind, and I said ‘of course I do,’ but I don’t.  But I don’t want her to know that,” and then I offered the card, “could you look that up?”  She smiled again as she took the card, “Of course.”  I beamed, a quarterback correctly answering a Trigonometry question.

She started typing just as someone else started tapping their fingernails on the counter – they duelled for a bit, then her voice declared it a draw: “It’s called medium beige.  Let me get that for you.”  She opened a drawer, took out a container, wrapped it up and handed it to me.  “Thank you so much,” I gushed, like I was meeting a celebrity and getting out of a speeding ticket at the same time.  “I’m glad I could help,” she said, stamping the card and charging my Visa.  I thanked her again and thought,

I could just tell them it’s for me.

But then I couldn’t play this character anymore.