This post is part of Not Your Average Week, a TNGG Theme Week.
I never thought a hobby would become a lifestyle. I am part of the Rocky Horror Picture Show: movie, musical, cult. The show takes place every Saturday night at midnight, in a dark theatre, where people dance and yell at the screen, covered in make-up and wigs, and wearing almost nothing.
I have been a part of it for six years, and I’m one of the younger members. I’m hooked.
In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the Cliff’s Notes synopsis: The 1975 film is about a young, “all-American” couple who become stranded at an eccentric castle (think Dracula’s castle) filled with transvestites, transsexuals, and people infatuated with sex. The theme of the film is “give yourself over to absolute pleasure,” an idea that has affected everyone who works at the show and everyone who loves going. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (RHPS) is, in a way, a safe haven for those who love to act crazy, wear something scandalous, act scandalous, and not be judged.
Once I started going to the show, my friends all of a sudden had to “re-accept me” because I was doing something out of the norm they didn’t understand. People join groups all the time without their friends’ approval, yet I needed it. I also needed my parents to accept it, which did not go over well at first.
That’s when I knew I made a lifestyle choice. I don’t know the brain chemistry that results in one person liking the show over another, but most people agree it is a must-see – at least once. (Conservative estimate: I’ve seen the show about 420 times.)
At the show we encourage people to show up wearing practically nothing, to yell in the theatre, and to dance in the isles. Even though it’s the same show every Saturday night besides the pre-shows (short skits or dances) that change monthly – and that the cast rotates every other week – we always have a following. We have people who have never seen the show before, and then we have those who come every weekend to watch and sit in the same spot.
The show is a way for people to step outside of themselves. We have had people from all occupations join the show: Boston Police, firefighters, college professors, etc. The show is a way to escape reality, or for some people, escape a lie and relax in the reality of the show.
Being part of the show has definitely changed my life. I stopped attending outside parties on Saturday nights because I had to go to the show. (However, the show does have its own after-party!) Even if I actually didn’t need to go, I went. I felt awkward not going. At the show we all hang out together, during the film, after the show, outside of the show, and on holidays. Some of us even spend the major holidays together and ditch our families.
We’re the Island of Misfit Toys from the film Rudolph. It’s everyone who was considered “weird” or not part of the “in crowd” during high school, coming together at the show.
People also date within the show, myself included. Dating someone who doesn’t understand the show becomes difficult. They come to see you, this thing you love, that you talk about non-stop, and then they see you in vinyl grinding up on everyone, and then the breakup happens. Significant others outside the show all of a sudden “don’t get you,” get jealous, or freak out.
If the show doesn’t scare them off at first, our after parties might. Although I’m not allowed to say much about our after parties, I can say they uphold the theme of the film. Those that can successfully get their significant other to like the show and join it have a higher survival rate. Either that, or people who date outside of the show end up having to make the decision: the significant other or the show. Most people chose the show, but we have a few strays. I have found that the Rocky relationships usually end up in marriage. There are currently more than six married couples in our crew who met at the show. We also have a few divorces for those who stayed with their “outsider.”
Not only intimate relationships are troubled by the show, but living situations.
Most of the people at the show live with one another. The houses are filled with weirdos, and it’s beautiful. Recently, my boyfriend and I lived with someone who was not part of the show and it did not go smoothly. Others have had similar experiences. We’re a pretty incestuous crowd.
I feel like I’ve known some of these people all my life. I can immediately grope them inappropriately or start up a conversation instantly and feel relaxed.
While some may be confused, or even disgusted by the phenomenon of the cult following of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, at least my parents can say they knew where I was past 10 p.m. every Saturday night. The rest of the week is when they had to worry.
Photos courtesy of author, and Flickr user hyperion327