On the heels of a comment from a previous entry I was reminded of my tenure in the KISS Army.
At age 10.
It was a heady time. Songs like “Hotter Than Hell” and “Strutter” were redefining my ideas of lots of things. Girls. Music. Rocking out. Did I mention girls?
I was so into the whole extravaganza that at Halloween that year I decided to dress up as my favorite KISS member: Gene Simmons. My grandmother, who was a phenomenal seamstress, put together a wicked cool costume, complete with shiny wrist guards, the bat-wing cape, giant shiny shin guards, and the shiny… codpiece, I guess. Weird for a ten-year-old to wear a shiny codpiece, but that shows you how happily oblivious I was.
I added a few touches of my own: I made the chest chains out of tin foil that I crushed into chain links. I made a guitar out of oak tag. (WTF is oak tag? This.)
The finishing touch was, of course, the makeup. A friend of Mom’s named Mary Lou came over and did the makeup. Perfectly. It was insanely good. I remember the greasepaint made my skin feel funny – like I was sweating cold water. I didn’t care. I looked fscking AWESOME!
When it came time to go to school, I was looking forward to emulating my rock and roll hero Gene by going bare-chested under the costume. For some unknown reason Mom put the kibosh on that. I remember being really upset, near tantrum-level upset. In the end I had to compromise.
I wore a long-sleeved beige shirt under the costume to create the illusion of bare-chestedness.
To this day, I still refuse to wear long-sleeved beige T-shirts. Thanks, Mom.