Friday, June 05, 2009

Why I want to be Dutch


I heart the Dutch. From the first time I went to Amsterdam, when I was adopted by a whole bar full of older gay boys and their fabulous cross dressing leader, I was hooked. Strange things happen in Amsterdam, strange things that are good natured and so full of joie de vivre it just reaffirms my faith in humanity.


It’s not like bad things don’t happen there, of course. I see some really fucked up people, and you occasionally are accosted by some out- of- his- head druggy who mistakes you for his long lost 3rd grade teacher that he hated. But it is so far outweighed by the good and the goofy and the odd that  I tend to forgive trespasses against my person much more in Amsterdam than anywhere else.


Like, our first day in Amsterdam. There was this VERY drunk (so I thought?) guy laying by the side of the canal, wearing only pink women’s panties and a pink feather boa. Some friends of his were holding his arms and legs and were preparing to fling him into the canal.  Some cops came over and told them that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to do this. They checked out the guy in the pink, who genially waved them off and let them know that he wasn’t THAT drunk, really.  The cops weren’t pushy or aggressive or authoritarian, they were rather more concerned and advisory than anything. The cops backed off, but stayed nearby, watching, just in case. They didn’t interfere anymore.


After much hollering by the gathering crowd, some hooting and hollering from the boys doing the throwing, and a countdown, the guy in pink was summarily tossed into the brown murky canal water. (It can’t have been warm.)  He was a good swimmer, I was happy to see. Near where the guy was thrown in, some people were passing by in a boat. Just a nice family, having wine and cheese, on a little family canal cruise. They stopped and let the guy climb into their boat. So here they are, a nice normal family, having a day out, when suddenly they now have a new passenger, a wet bedraggled dude in pink feathers and pink panties.  What do they do? The lady of the house, with great aplomb (Dutch people are full of plomb) hands the guy a glass of wine and passes over the cheese plate as if she has known him her whole life. He ate some cheese and the crowd cheered.


I fucking LOVE that. LOVE that.


So very Dutch. You just wouldn’t see that in the States. I love the way the lady on the boat just coolly handed him some cheese, like, “Hey thanks for dropping in. Cheese?” I love the way the cops were concerned and not stern. I love the way the guy’s buddies first checked that it was safe to throw him in. And I love the way they guy just laid there, calmly, waiting to be thrown in, and reassured everyone that he was fine with it.


So polite, so strange. Right in the middle of the Red Light District.


Shit like that happens all the time in Amsterdam.


 A guy walks by in the Red Light District with a feather up his ass. Why? Why not!


A boat goes by on a canal and everyone is naked. Why? Why not!


A transvestite in 18th century dress prances about, oh so very Marie Antoinette, full white wig with feathers and lace and brocade, then lifts up his skirt to show you his long boxer briefs. And frilly garter.  And converse all stars. Why? Why not!


A Brazilian bongo wedding parade marches by, the bride in white surrounded by topless dancers in feathered  headdresses and sequins, marching up and down the Prinsengracht to celebrate the new couple’s marriage. Why a Brazilian wedding? Why not!


(Also, lots of feathers in Amsterdam, why is that?)


I love Amsterdam.



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