May 24, 2007
Re: Dude in Dress
Becka sent me just one of the many emails in response to yesterday's post about our cross-dressing space pal...
I've included a bunch of the other responses and theories, as well...
My Dad is a hardcore trekkie, so I got my lifetime's worth of trekkie trivia and knowledge. Concerning the man in the dress, I do believe there might have been more than one. This was done as a bit of an easter egg, referencing how all the women in the original Star Trek series wore a similar mini-skirt clad uniform, and the controversy that surrounded it (Women's Liberation in the 60s, the skirt was sexist, yada yada yada). Therefore, as a joke, they had men wearing the mini-skirt uniform in the first season of The Next Generation.
Before I get on topic, let me first take a minute to say I absolutely love The Sneeze. I first discovered Steve Don't Eat It a few years back, and I've been hooked on The Sneeze ever since. Every time the little RSS thingy at the top of my Firefox window tells me you've added a new post, my day gets a little brighter. Thanks for such a wonderful site.
Anyway, let's talk about the Star Trek dress guy. He's a common source of fun conversations among us Trekkies. And by the way, when I say "he", I don't mean just the one guy in the picture you've got on The Sneeze. The first two seasons of Next Generation was chock full o' dress-guys. There were even a few in the pilot, Encounter at Farpoint.
We tend to refer to the whole lot affectionately just as "Dress Guy", or at least I do.
I think Dress Guy is a distant cousin of Red Shirt Guy from the original series, and that in the 80 years that passed between the two shows' time periods, the family made it a point to evolve better survival skills. Unlike his ancestor, Dress Guy is at least smart enough never to leave the ship. In a stroke of pure genius, he came up with the ultimate excuse to avoid those pesky away mission deaths, "Uh, I've got a run in my panty hose, guys. You know how it is. I'll catch up with you; I promise. Don't wait for me; you go right ahead. See ya."
I've never actually gone through and counted all of Dress Guy's appearances in the early TNG episodes, but there were quite a few. The dress, called a "skant", was a regulation Starfleet uniform for both sexes. Counselor Troi has the honor of being the only lead character ever to wear one, but it did appear many times throughout the first couple seasons of TNG on extras, both male and female.
Personally, I think the real story is that the TNG costume director was a transsexual, and that the whole wardrobe department was doing way too many recreational drugs. But hey, it was the 80's after all.
I do have a couple of alternate theories about Dress Guy himself, although Red Shirt Guy descendant is still my favorite. First, he might have been some sort of renegade alien, posing as a human, and he didn't get the whole male/female thing quite right. Second, he might be an escaped mental patient from Tantalus V, and when they put him in that brainwashing machine, someone had a copy of Eric the Viking playing in the background. Dress Guy now gleefully runs around the ship yelling "You can't see me! You can't see me! Hahahaha!" just like Tim Robins did with that towel on his head. Where Eric had The Cloak Invisible, Dress Guy has The Dress Invisible. Yes, The Dress Invisible.
In any case, the fact that we're still discussing Dress Guy after 20 years is pretty amazing. How many other fictional fashion models are so talked about after so long? Not many.
"These new uniforms are pretty snappy, eh, first officer?"
I have no further insight.
Space is a funny place it seems.
Assuming this e-mail got past your spam filter with the subject line
"One of the bizarrest things about "The Next Generation" was that they still wanted to show the women's legs (remember Counselor Troi's perky cheerleader outfit?) but they wanted to pretend that the 24th century wasn't as incredibly sexist as the 23rd century had been, so on occasion they'd have a man walk through the background wearing the same little cheerleader skirt. Any time you'd see a shot of the four or five extras who represented the 992 people who had to evacuate the ship before the engines almost exploded, there was always one guy in a little skirt. They called it a "skant"..."
From http://www.kibo.com/rawdata/2002/2002-03-27%20Kibo.txt (search
Live long and prosper,
Maybe the Trek creators are fans of The Who?
Steve, having just read your post on this, I too a close examination of both photos and have come to the following conclusion.
The gentleman only stood there once in this dress and this scene was shot for general purpose use. The close up was used in the #106 episode to show his intense listening, but the overall shot was used as filler scene (which happens a lot in the taping of shows, etc.) in episode #115.
This does not explain his desire to have the cool breeze and freedom a dress brings to the table. That part I'm thinking you may have got right in your post.
I was looking at your most recent post and i noticed something.... both pictures are from the same scene, if they are indeed from different episodes they must have used the same clip over again... look carefully at the top picture, notice where the lines from the background hit his body, they are in the same place in the 2nd picture, also, in the top picture there is a blurry greenish spot on the bottom left, that is the dress of the lady in the left of the lower picture. I can't tell you WHY he is in a dress, but i can at least tell you that he wore it only once, unless you can find other pictures of him in a different location. btw, love your blog.
- Mary Ann
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