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Thursday, July 27, 2006

WAR PAINT

THE SECOND OF THREE WEB COLUMNS ABOUT THE BURNERS' JULY 15 SHOW:

As I stood in a powder room applying eyeliner, after having already applied shiny black nail polish to seven of my 10 fingers, I wondered what I ALWAYS wonder whenever I do this.

Am I a frustrated drag queen?

I DO have an excuse.

That night, I was to sing with The Burners, "South Jersey's hottest rock band" (according to us). These girlie accoutrements are part of my "rock star" getup.

My rationale is this: We're asking people to pay a $5 cover to see us, and dammit, I'm going to do everything in my power to make them feel like they're getting their fin's worth. And if that means dressing up like my Aunt Peggy, well, pass the Aqua Net.

Of course, volumes have been written about this phenomenon. It's a guy thing. It's a tribal thing, It's war paint.

My brother-in-law Tony is about the manliest man I know. He's a coach, a community leader, a family man, a machinist, a union guy, the salt-of-the-earth, with a heart of gold and season tickets for the New England Patriots. But he's also a face painter. (If you never watched television during the '90s, ask the nearest "Seinfeld" fan for a definition.)

Don't get me started on the Mummers.

So I'm hardly alone. Not even that night in Lindenwold. The Maestro's eyeliner was two shades darker than mine, bless him. (I could only find "charcoal.")

But being a guy -- and a brand new widower at that -- I don't have the follow-through essentials. The morning after the gig, I tried to remove my nail polish using gasoline and sand paper, with hideous results. "Haven't you ever heard of nail polish remover?" a young lady I know taunted me. But I'm not about to start loading up my medicine cabinet with more girlie stuff. Or the next thing you know, I'll start looking like a New York Doll -- albeit, a fat, greying, 48-year-old New York Doll.

Perhaps I should end this column before I REALLY start sounding pathetic.

NEXT POST: WHAT HAPPENED AT THE GIG

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