The 4th of July is here and it has caused me to reminisce about some of my earlier holiday performances. This holiday has always been a busy one for “The Longest Day” (my nom de plume). One holiday about a decade ago, I designed and wore one of my most creative costumes. I decided to start out as a fire cracker. I bought a three foot PVC pipe with a 36” diameter. I attached two canvas straps on either side of one end of the pipe so I could wear the pipe like a sandwich board. I then cut an armhole on either side of the pipe. I had a friend cut the pipe on either side so I could screw hinges on one side and put a clasp on the other side to facilitate slipping the pipe on and off. The final touch before painting was drilling holes all over the pipe to hold discarded plastic containers made for new tooth brushes at a downward angle. At this point I painted the pipe on my balcony. The top half of the pipe was painted with a blue background and white stars. The bottom half of the pipe was painted with alternating red and white stripes. The rest of the costume was easy to put together in comparison. I bought a red wig with yellow streaks to look like fire. I wore white French cuffs (no shirt) with red and blue cufflinks. I had a red thong with gold stars made for me. I’m not a fan of thongs. I have a hard time understanding why any man would voluntarily submit himself to a string in his butt crack but there I was. There was a snap at the beginning and the end of the string. Hopefully the string would fall to the ground when I ripped off the front of the thong. I also wore blue pasties with tassels which was unique. The night of the performance I got to the venue early with someone to help me. I had been hired for a “hen” party (female equivalent to a bachelor party) which was being held in the banquet room in a Quality Inn on Harry Hines. I was told to expect about 50 women. Women make a much better audience than gay men. Women tend to be there to have a good time and enjoy the sexual tension. Gay guys enjoy the same things but they also can’t help being just a tiny bit judgmental. Since we are physically the same there is a tendency to compare physiques. There is a little more of a sense of mystery with women. Anyway, I promptly began my preparations. First I attached my trusty prosthetic device. Second, I liberally applied baby powder where the string of the thong would reside during my performance. I then put on the thong which had to be custom made because of the prosthetic device. As I have described in earlier posts, because of prosthetic device the thong required a particularly long pouch. Next I put on the tassels using minimal adhesive so I could pull them off during the act. I secured a red and white bow tie around my neck and, with assistance, donned the PVC pipe. My assistant closed the PVC pipe and hooked the clasp. He then began putting sparklers in each of the holes drilled into the pipe. When I was given the sixty second warning, my assistant began lighting my sparklers. He had just lit the last sparkler when the John Sousa march I had selected for the occasion began playing. My assistant wished me luck and handed me my band leader baton. I marched out on the stage proudly with my arms swinging in time to the music and did several laps around the stage. My pipe had been cut at a strategic level so that my prosthetic device covered by the thong flopped around freely as I marched. As the song was ending and before the sparklers went out, I marched off the stage where my assistant was standing to help me remove the pipe and swapped my wig for an Uncle Sam type top hat. This took less than ten seconds and I was back on the stage wearing my hat, bow time, thong, tassels and a smile. I did bumps and grinds for a while and then began a special dance I had been working on. While my thong covering the prosthetic device was bouncing up and down with the music, I had the tassels spinning in opposite directions. My assistant handed me lit sparklers from off stage and I was holding them in my hands as my arms waved. There was so much movement going on my audience didn’t know where to look. Although the show was over, there was a brief stunned silence. The uncomfortable silence ended when the bride stood up and started applauding. Soon the entire room was showing their appreciation by standing, swaying with the music and some applauding while others were holding lit Bic lighters over their heads. Eager to please, I threw the sparklers off stage and in one smooth movement ripped off the tassels and then pulled off the thong. I removed the top hat and threw it into the crowd. The prosthetic device became the real star but I felt exhilarated. It was a successful show and I felt a winning tribute to our nation’s independence.