DATELINE: Way Outted West
Fops Out West
You probably have seen the newly confirmed photo of Billy the Kid.
He was the sociopathic killer and dime novel hero of the great American West. As a dangerous desperado who shot 21 people down, at his minimal serial killer standard, he may have taken a hit to his image with the discovery of his picture playing croquet.
A few people have hinted that now it is clear that Billy was a pantywaist who murdered people to bolster his gun size. Others think he proves that the Old West was not a home for fashion plates.
The subject of 200+ movies, Billy wears a cardigan sweater like a Yalie on holiday at the dude ranch, the Yves Saint Laurent devotee looking like a fish out of water. We can hardly wait for the updated Billy western where he plies his wares with a croquet mallet.
Billy would not have passed muster as a model for Abercrombie and Fitch. His chin is big enough to hang a kettle on, and his acne seems to defy the New Mexico sunlight.
Of course, the news accounts are slightly wrong. There is at least one other photo of Billy, though some still dispute it, but the same points of facial recognition have been counted. He was not the most handsome of young men. And if you are not good-looking at 21, time has run out on the star meter.
Many are making a great deal of noise over the croquet mallet, which easily could become a club and weapon of choice in a robbery while playing the game most favored by matrons of elite 19th century leisure.
Imagine adding hustler to the litany of Billy’s crimes. Billy’s gang of male escorts? That’s why we love Americana.