We were playing our songs.
“Why” they asked?
That’s quite a big question. We said that we were responding to the billboard.
“Are you for it, or against it?”
“I think we’re against.”
“And why is that?”
“We resent the power that some have to spoon-feed the people an endless and oppressive juxtaposition of men in clothes and women in underwear in the name of profit.” I may not have said that exactly, but it was something eloquent to that effect.
“What’s wrong with wearing underwear?”
We both knew that was an absurd question. I said that I was wearing underwear, but our point was that women are generically represented to us all in a particular way, and that it isn’t so often that you see a man represented in public space all sweaty and pert in his underwear.
Then warden number two pitched in, pointing to a giant empty billboard across the street. He said that until recently there had been just such a picture of a man in boxer shorts. He specified; “it wasn’t sweaty, but it was pert.”
It was the way that he said that…
It was like he was a policeman saying something like “listen son, three people died in traffic accidents on this road last year…” eyeing us with gravely serious brows over imaginary spectacles, lips pursed and watching for the weight of his words to kick in…
But what he said was, “It wasn’t sweaty, but it was pert.”
We didn’t really know what to say to that, so, since they didn’t mind, we kept on playing.