My Son, The Prince Of Fashion
13-year-old Abe Chabon went to Paris Fashion Week and dragged along his dad, writer Michael Chabon.
“The Pigalle show,” he said.
“That was your favorite. I wish I’d gone.”
He looked at me, a funny expression on his face. I realized that the reason he’d had such a great time that night was because I had not been present. I had not been his father, or his friend, this past week. I had only been his minder. I was a drag to have around a fashion show, and because I could not enter fully into the spirit of the occasion, neither could Abe. He was worrying about me, watching me, wondering if I was having a good time or not, if I thought the shaggy Muppet pants, for example, were as stupid as the look on my face seemed to suggest.
“It wasn’t the show, really,” I suggested as his eyes filled with tears. “Was it? It was the people you were with, the GQ guys, the buyers, that dude who owns Wild Style.”
“They get it,” he said. “They know everything about all the designers, and the house, and that’s what they care about. They love to talk about clothes. They love clothes.”
You are born into a family and those are your people, and they know you and they love you and if you are lucky they even, on occasion, manage to understand you. And that ought to be enough. But it is never enough. Abe had not been dressing up, styling himself, for all these years because he was trying to prove how different he was from everyone else. He did it in the hope of attracting the attention of somebody else—somewhere, someday—who was the same. He was not flying his freak flag; he was sending up a flare, hoping for rescue, for company in the solitude of his passion.
“You were with your people. You found them,” I said.
“That’s good,” I said. “You’re early.”