Yesterday I met a woman named Dutchess. She was in her seventies and wore a catsuit. She had bright purple shadow painted around her eyes. She was incredible.
Dutchess is an icon in her own right. She held court at a birthday party for one of her best friends, making an alternative celebration for herself a few doors down. “I need that crown,” Dutchess said of her friend, who some refer to as a queen. Dutchess has an eye on the prize.
Although a septuagenarian, someone like Dutchess has an incredible lease on life. She looked sexy and could chat up a cool storm and spoke a language of her own queer making. At one point, she spoke to the merits of a “smart cocktail,” a single drink with a very direct purpose: to unstiffen you. (Her smart cocktail of the day was a screwdriver, a little vodka and a little orange juice.) When speaking with a friend about a jail sentence, she tipped a demure acknowledgement of the time by asking, “You were in film for fifteen years?” (Indeed, her friend had been “in film” for fifteen years.) When speaking of her burlesque dancing background, that was a time when she worked “trade.” (This, of course, is a common queer lingo that is used all over the country, specifically in relationship to the trans and drag community. It means anything from sexual work to non-gay men. The latter is not the usage I mean, nor is it the usage I’ve heard by anyone in America.)
The best turn of phrase from the Dutchess speech factory was one that came out as she sat with a friend sharing a blunt overlooking the Hollywood Hills. “Would you like some flowers?” she asked. I declined but I did have a question: why call marijuana flowers? “Weed is a flower,” she said. “It’s a weed,” someone else said. “It’s a flower,” someone gesticulated with the blunt.
Isn’t that nice? Calling weed flowers, taking it back to a plant basis and throwing it all up into the air: I like that. Why don’t we all call weed “flowers”? It’s such a gentler, subtler, less-ugly way of referring to such a wonderful gift from nature: flowers.
Of course, Dutchess didn’t invent the term flowers as it relates to weed as it is a somewhat common slang term. Yet, she did perfect it. I think I’ll call weed flowers from now on.