Brother Justin


by Jeffrey Marquis
November 2005, v1.0

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Justin wandered about the Men’s Department of Macy’s—when suddenly his mind came out of a fashion-denial hiding. He perused the racks of clothes that scream luxury, being the finest loungewear which he normally stays away from. Not today, not when he’s been dreaming of Lindsey. His self-consciousness vanished, allowing him to. . .

Hold that thought.

Justin only happened to be at Macy’s because his brother mentioned the “some cologne or something” he wants for Christmas, which wouldn’t even arrive for a few months. He wandered through the fragrances not knowing—not caring—what “Jo Jo’s Tooty Frooty” smells like as he thought, “Hell, I haven’t even used deodorant today.” But then he thought of his beautiful Lindsey and wondered, “Does she want me to dress like the other boys at school?” He thought about the mademoiselle, looking for his brother’s cologne as he gawked at the ridiculous prices. “This could buy a legit version of Photoshop.”

He’d have to give up a respectable sum, errr, a “ridiculous lot of fucking cash” to buy his “damn brother” the “damn cologne.” And then something happened. Something made Justin sniff the air, searching, “Now that’s a cologne I’d wear! *sniff* Yes, Lindsey would appreciate it.” He looked at the label—reading what his brother had mentioned—drenching himself in the fragrance like a pretty little girl. Picture this, here’s Justin, a rough around the edges sort of guy spraying himself all over in a sweet aroma, inhaling through his nose and smiling. He knows that he’s broken the mold for the time being, and he laughs, thinking, “If only these people knew what they’re witnessing.” He returns the fragrance to the counter. “You must wait! Something has come over me; something piquing my fashion senses; something I’ve never felt before!”

He throws caution to the wind as he dilly-dallies down the rows of garments, skipping almost and running his fingers through the clothes on hangers. “Just like a chick, but it feels so … so good,” he thinks. A Levi-Strauss advertisement catches his eye, and he reads aloud the ONE DAY SALE banner with glee, “Men’s outerwear forty percent off! I must try something on.” Leather jacket, check. Ferrari sneakers, check. But his jeans, hmm Lindsey would appreciate him wearing something free of paint stains.

“Okay, Jeff likes Gap, Polo, Nautica—but I’ll impress him with Strauss the next time he visits,” Justin thinks as he thumbs through stacks of Levi’s jeans. But what is his size? He knows his many shorts read 32W, but what length should the pants run? He doesn’t know, and he fears the thought of a flaky fashion man measuring him; instead he reasons, “It’s either 30, 32, or 34 L.” And then he disapprovingly looks at his pot belly, which Lindsey is not so fond of, “Or I could always get a larger waist.” He struts off to the dressing room with three pairs of jeans to try on—before he can shop for a stylish shirt—and before he retrieves his ‘damn brother’ the ‘damn cologne.’

He wanders up to the dressing room—with confident steps—and carrying the Strauss jeans he anxiously awaits. “May I try these on?” Step right in good sir! He walks into the closet-size room and takes a good look at himself—goodbye old friend—as he disrobes. He looks at himself in the mirror, admiring his appearance, and he flexes his arms like a wrestler. “You’re so sexy,” he lips to himself as he slips into the first pair. “Look out boys, you’ve got some competition!”

A great while passes as he tries on the three pairs, but he’s proud that he’s found the right fit. “But wait,” he thinks, “I must get a new shirt to impress Lindsey—a full ensemble!” He rejoices, knowing that Lindsey will be pleased; with merely a glance of his chic; with merely a sprinkle of his fashion sense into her day. “It will be grand,” he says to himself. “But, WAIT, wait, WAIT, this is getting WAYYY too fucking gay! Justin, compose yourself,” he thinks as he comes to the sudden realization that he’s become semi-queer, partly faggot, in his quest for fashion. And Justin won’t have this!

Okay, okay. He knows he must retreat from the elegant shoppe—in fear of a lurking desire to know what it feels like for a girl. Okay, okay, just buy your brother his smelly shit, and you’ll be on your way; smoking your MANLY cigarettes, listening to your MANLY music, and doing MANLY things! The fabulous and flamboyant side of him recoils as he shoves the jeans onto a random shelf.

Justin exits the store, but he knows, the people around him have witnessed a jubilee, the security cameras have recorded his playful frolicking, and most of all—he knows that he will never, ever, ever go into that damn fashion-faggot-fucking-fairy-beauty store again.

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