When I heard that Jay McCarroll — the very first winner of Project Runway — was co-judging with me for the other night’s Mr. Philadelphia Gay pageant at Voyeur, I had a bittersweet twinge of surreal awkwardness.
After all, the first and only time I met Jay, he angrily gave me the finger and glowered with his dagger-throwing eyeballs, for some very fashionable reason.
This time, over dinner at Opa (which happens to be the sound you make when you smash plates), I gingerly asked, “Hey, hon, why did you give me the finger way back when?”
“Maybe it was your reputation,” he attempted.
That didn’t go over.
“No, kidding. Actually, I thought I was hot shit at the time,” he said, sheepishly. “I’ve since come down to earth. I’m sorry.”
“That’s OK, I thought it was kind of cute,” I cooed, ever the gent.
Designer case closed.
But lately, Jay has been giving the middle finger to people in the fashion business.
“They’re mean,” he told me, fuming. “I hate fashion. I’m designing textiles!”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 18, 2011