On Detail of the Day: A Vintage Red Door in Washington Heights


In which The Gay Recluse remembers an old obsession with the color red.


Years ago, we went through a phase when we wore only red shirts.


But here’s the thing: you couldn’t find any good ones that were new, so we were required to scour used-clothing shops all over the country in a mostly vain attempt to find the perfect color. Fortunately we were touring a lot at the time in our band, so this wasn’t a problem.


Obviously it couldn’t be quite flannel-shirt/pajama-top red, but even the slightest trace of burgundy ruined the effect, and inevitably we would place these shirts back on the rack.


We finally found a couple of shirts in Seattle; they were used, but someone had recognized the rare perfection of the color and priced them accordingly at over $100 each. What did we care? Even though we  hadn’t spent $200 in clothes in the previous year, we had to have them!


We wore them a lot, too! For a while, red shirts were our trademark. That was pretty much the extent of our stage presence: one red shirt. (In certain indie-rock circles, this was considered outré; or maybe that was just our twisted, closet-case perception of it.)


But that phase passed, and we now realize that our obsession with red was really a manifestation of the anger we felt toward so much, but which we had yet to acknowledge, even to ourselves.


It’s a relief not to be so obsessed with the color red anymore, although we still have about fifteen shirts quietly hanging in the back of our closet (just in case!).


Someday a vintage store is probably going to make a killing, selling them to a young closet-case like us.


We fell in love with this door the second we passed it.


But we are kind of relieved not to live here; it was better to simply appreciate it for a few seconds and then continue our walk.


One Response to “On Detail of the Day: A Vintage Red Door in Washington Heights”

  1. Um, for TGR fans who read this, the band is obviously the same band that spent the summer in TGR’s Riverdale compound (don’t know the name of it) perfecting their art. At any rate, I think it is really worth taking seriously and cultivating when an artist embraces a complete aesthetics programme, eg–so red was speaking to you: you don’t say a lot about where you were at with your music at the time, but there must have been some kind of synergy. It’s about power and presence and maybe a latent refusal to hide in the end?

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