Taylor, 29, is less a person than a work of graphic design. His ensemble, with its big red button and vertical black lines, puts one in mind of a beheaded lollipop, or that Technicolor star of The Red Balloon when it bops ahead of its string. The look is sassy but demented, and so color conscious it verges on color irony: The red button represents Paul McCartney in 1968's Yellow Submarine. Taylor is not a Beatles fan. Still, he says, "It brings me more attention. I need as much attention as possible at all times."
Narcissism in the psychological, as opposed to the poetic, sense was first identified by Paul Näcke (director of an asylum in Saxony) in 1899, and elaborated by such notable figures in the field of psychology as Havelock Ellis and Sigmund Freud. But it was not placed at the center of a psychoanalytic theory until the work of Heinz Kohut, who was born in Vienna but fled to Chicago to escape the Nazis. Because Kohut was an introspective psychoanalyst in the style of Freud, we know a lot—perhaps too much—about his childhood, including his early sexual fantasies. According to his biographer, Charles Strozier, between the ages of 5 and 11, Kohut fantasized primarily about scenes loosely derived from Uncle Tom's Cabin, which his mother had read aloud to him. They involved being enslaved by a woman and being forced to drink her urine. Once he'd relocated to the United States, Kohut decided that Freud's thinking was best suited to repressive societies, and that psychoanalysis in America was a different beast. He began to elaborate his theory of narcissism with three major papers in the 1960s.
The '60s are a critical inspiration for Taylor, perhaps stemming from his preference for skinny ties. "I'm skinny," he explains, "so my fashion should be skinny as well. I look funny in a fat tie." Besides the skinny black tie (under $5, bought at a thrift store), Taylor is sporting black leather shoes ($35, purchased from a friend) from the '60s and dark sunglasses (under $5, Goodwill, 1400 S Lane St, 860-5711) from the '60s. His skinny black pants ($50, Urban Outfitters, 1507 Fifth Ave, 381-3777), however, are contemporary. The cream-colored blazer ($5, bought at a thrift store) with pushed-up sleeves makes Taylor look even slimmer, at least against pale siding.
The crowning glory of Taylor's ensemble has to be Zoloft the pug, pinned into a cozy lobster costume ($5, Target, 302 NE Northgate Way, 494-0897). The red in the lobster is crucial, because it reflects and emphasizes the red of the Paul McCartney badge. The sad fact of this lobster costume is that only boiled lobsters are red. Live lobsters are almost always greenish, with a touch of blue in the joints of their claws. On very rare occasions, a lobster is born with a mutation that causes its exoskeleton to omit a pigment or two, sometimes (perhaps one out of every 10 million births) resulting in a live, red lobster. Let us hope that Zoloft is dressed as a very special mutant and not a dead crustacean.