“Nice girls don’t wear cha-cha heels!”: John Waters is such a “rabid sucker” for Christmas

By on December 27, 2015

In this memorable clip from John Waters’s 1974 dark comedy Female Trouble, Dawn Davenport (Divine) learns she doesn’t get the cha-cha heels she wanted, knocking over the Christmas tree which falls on her mother — a scene based on the true story from Waters’s own childhood, when his grandmother got trapped beneath a Christmas tree when it fell on her.

Waters has been pretty vocal about his lifelong obsession with Christmas, and in his essay “Why I Love Christmas,” included his 1986 book Crackpot, he wrote, “In July I’m already worried that there are only 146 shopping days left.”


Here’s a few highlights from the essay:

“Of course, to many, Santa is an erotic figure, and fore these lucky revelers, the Christmas season is a smorgasbord of raw sex. Some people just go for a man in a uniform. Inventive entrepreneurs should open a leather bar called the Pole where dominant wrinkle fetishists could dress like old St. Nick and passive gerontophiliacs could get on all fours and take the whip like good reindeer. Inhaling poppers and climbing down mock chimneys or opening sticks ‘n’ stones from the red-felt master could complete the sex-drenched atmosphere of the first S&M Xmas bar.”

“Christmas day is like an orgasm that never stops. Happiness and good cheer should be throbbing in your veins. Swilling eggnog, scarfing turkey and wildly ripping open presents with your family, one must pause to savor the feeling of inner peace. Once it’s over, you can fall apart.”


In this Flavorwire interview, Waters talks about being a “rabid sucker for Christmas,” and also talked about how Divine loved Christmas too:

Did Divine love Christmas as much as you?

Waters: “He was a criminal at Christmas. He almost went to jail for Christmas, because he was so obsessed by it! He never had enough money, but he never let that stop him. Even at the very end of his life he gave his mom a swimming pool for Christmas, and then didn’t pay for it. I think she had to fill it in! He lived well, but Christmas drove him crazy. He loved it. I have a beautiful cashmere blanket he gave me for Christmas. I hope he stole it. That’s a question: are stolen presents nicer? But they aren’t really, because I have friends that own shops now where they catch you and then make you pose naked. It’s a naked shoplifter website called Yes You Do Look Fat.”

Female Trouble was written, produced, and directed by John Waters and starred Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Edith Massey, Michael Potter, Cookie Mueller, and Susan Walsh.


Two years ago, when the New York Times asked Waters “What kind of gifts do you give?,” Waters said this:

“I always give books. And I always ask for books. I think you should reward people sexually for getting you books. Don’t send a thank-you note, repay them with sexual activity. If the book is rare or by your favorite author or one you didn’t know about, reward them with the most perverted sex act you can think of. Otherwise, you can just make out.”


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.