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Jul 05 2013
Room With A View: My '80s Walls Comments (4)

I didn't come out until the very end of high school, but I was slowly, inexorably working my way out via the décor of my room. I started slowly. The first poster I had up was Cyndi Lauper by Lynn Goldsmith. I'd bought it in Hawaii, but it had gotten a little crushed, so it was waved through the entire poster. I learned quickly that posters have souls.

Next up was a fairly ugly photo by Herb Ritts of Madonna as "Susan." It was the only "off" shot from that iconic photo shoot, yet they made it into a poster. Her hair looks like it was styled with bacon grease. The eyes were great, though.

After that, it was a flood of stars, most prominently Marilyn Monroe, who I held in equal esteem with Madonna.

Glancing at these photos can be confusing because I had full magazines in protective baggies tacked to my walls, giving a disorienting 3-D effect, and I also had shit tacked to my ceiling. No, I didn't hang the only FUCK-I'M-SO-HORNY poster (of Corey Hart) up over my head; that honor went to an image of Marilyn luxuriating in silk sheets. She died in bed, but I didn't focus on that, except that I achieved the little death many times thanks to Corey, whose pinup was to my left. Maybe that's why I'm, for no good reason, a southpaw when I—to quote Cyndi Lauper—wanna go South/gitme s'more.

From these photos, I can see Marilyn, Madonna, Cyndi, Debbie Harry, Boy George, Sade, Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, Cybill Shepherd & Bruce Willis (Moonlighting was like a secret language for my Mom and me), Eurythmics, Faye Dunaway, Lucille Ball and Bette Davis. I konw for a fact I also had Tina Turner, Stacey Q, Marlene Dietrich and Pet Shop Boys, among many others, including some of my own art.

In college, I maintained most of the core group and added Kate Bush (it was college), Gore Vidal, Mapplethorpe art, International Male tear sheets, Joe Orton and anything else that said FUCK-I'M-SO-GAY. I also took to cutting out awkwardly sexual words from magazines and taping them onto other photos to make funny—and sexy—statements. My favorite was a photo of Dan Quayle caught in mid-sentence with an "O" face, into which I inserted the erect member of Mr. Chad Douglas, who was posing hands on hips. With one tack through Chad's mid-section, it was all set: One just had to pivot him to give Dan Quayle what he really needed all along. He once said teenage boys are fascinated with huge members, after all, so it's not much of a stretch to say he might've been young at heart himself.

I toned down my decorating later in my 20s and a lot by my 30s. Now, it's creeping back in via the art I'm collecting. It's really much more grown-up,'s really all the same, isn't it?