CW: language that is considered vulgar in many circles but is completely necessary for this post
I’m a slut. A very, very particular kind of slut – a Rocky Horror slut. For those of you who have missed out on this pivotal right of passage, Rocky Horror is a movie experience in which a shadow cast plays out the movie in front of the screen, the audience has call outs throughout the movie to participate, most showings include props for extra participation (#ACrumpetABagelAPoptartAToast), huge portions of the audience dress up, and there are games for newcomers to the experience. Yes, it’s a little bit cultish and a lot bit phenomenal.
There are three [four] types of audience members for Rocky… sluts (who have come at least 4 times), virgins (who have never come), and masturbaters (who have only done it alone at home) – and this weird in-between group who have no name and have come before, but don’t quite have the hang of it yet. As this weekend will mark my 10th (at least… I kinda lost track) Rocky experience (and I wrote my college thesis on it), I’m a hardcore [Rocky] slut complete with steel-boned corset, fishnets, and knee-high boots with six inch heels.
And that’s the amazing thing about Rocky. In my everyday life, I would probably kill someone who called me a slut (especially as my history does not align in any way with the “traditional” definition). At Rocky, I proudly wear a lipstick “S” that signifies my slut status. In my everyday life, I (and most of the other Rocky fans I know) would not dream of wearing a corset [ok, maybe we dream about it, but we wouldn’t actually do it!] or yell the things we yell at Rocky or throw things at a movie screen (without getting kicked out) or run around a movie theatre in our underwear [not all Rocky’s include this but the one in my hometown does] or a million other things we do at Rocky. And we sure wouldn’t do most of those things without worrying about our physical and emotional safety!
But Rocky is different. As the theatre scholar in me will tell you, the Carnival-esque environment created in the liminal space that is the Late Night [Early Morning], Double Feature [Rocky Horror] Picture Show allows for personal exploration that social mores do not allow in our mundane existences. Which is a really long, fancy way of saying Rocky creates an incredible, safe space where we can explore ourselves, our sexuality, our agency, and our autonomy without slut-shaming, victim-blaming, queerphobia, heteronormative hegemony, or sexism being involved. In this in-between space between reality and a very out-there movie, we’re safe to show up, adventure into, and reclaim our sexuality. It’s magic.
Unfortunately, for all Rocky fans in most cities the only time the Rocky Horror Picture Show is held in all its glory is around Halloween. Thankfully, for this little Rocky slut there’s only three more days of waiting with bated breath and shivering with antici…