entry_111People in Virginia, you tell them you’re moving to California and they all chuff and get that same look in their eye. I call it the, “So sleeping with your own family members ain’t good enough for ya now?” look. According to Virginians, we on the west coast all lead lives of frivolity and perversion. I say fine, let them think that. There’s no point in arguing with someone whose idea of couture is possessing lawn furniture that will accommodate their gigantic asses.

I kid them, of course, but they should realize that disparaging divergent lifestyles does nothing but illustrate the same narrow mindedness that would get them kicked right out of the self-administered plastic surgery parties that we in the west enjoy almost every weekend.

Exploring creativity through body modification is a beautiful thing, especially when you do it surrounded by friends. After a long week of protesting there’s nothing that takes the edge off like inviting my closest activist friends over to my solar-powered submersible for a weekend of free love and bacchanalia featuring round after round of cosmetic performance art.

A typical operation will take one to two hours, and always concludes to supportive cheers – and then the real fun begins. Sometimes we like to fashion ourselves after the hottest stars, but it’s far more amusing to carve our faces after lesser known personalities so that our friends can try to guess who we are. It can be a real challenge to see past the swelling and blood, sure, but interpretation is an essential part of any performance.

“Oh. My. God. You are the spitting image of Gina Lollobrigida!”

I’ll blush, which for the first time causes physical discomfort. But my admiring friends really seem to love my self-styling handiwork, and that always outweighs a little discomfort. I tell them, “the neck is Zasu Pitts though, see?” Give me a scalpel and a compact mirror and I’ll give you Pia Zadora before you can write a blog entry.

Nods of approval. “Tres subtle,” one of them says with obvious reverence, until we’re all interrupted by more excitement, “Hey everyone, look! I’m Jesus Fucking Christ!” Good times. The rest of the weekend we spend recuperating as we watch the manta rays and dugongs frolic beyond the bubble dome windows.

I’ve never understood a Virginian’s almost impulsive need to judge, and I would remind them that just because we’re physically incapable of smiling or weeping – temporarily – it doesn’t mean that we don’t have feelings.

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