Jon-Jon Goulian

The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt

Growing up in La Jolla, Jonathan Goulian played soccer, did well in school, and generally kept up with the Joneses. At least he did until the summer after 10th grade, when a trip back east gave him the necessary distance on his loving but perhaps overprotective parents and the bro culture of his San Diego friends to embrace his inner weirdness.

In the intimacy of a faraway dorm room, and with the help of a sympathetic young woman, Goulian invented Jon-Jon, the man in the gray flannel skirt—a straight-acting, cunningly cross-dressed California hypochondriac and body builder. This memoir, which details Goulian’s journey through the thickets of familial resistance and social incredulity, combines the laugh-out-loud factor of David Sedaris with the poignancy of a genuine original.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Observed Altercation Leads to State Street Car Chase

Crash at De la Vina and Alamar precedes hours-long search for occupant.

Santa Barbara County Sets Carpinteria Cannabis Grow Cap

Neighborhood activist Anna Carrillo scores a victory in limiting pot acreage.

Evacuees Across Santa Barbara County Allowed Back Home This Evening

Mandatory evacuation order lifted for all burn areas.

New Scam Involves ‘Ground Stability Testing’

Fake 'land tech' tried to enter a home on the Westside.

Family Sues Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for Wrongful Death

Five deputies shot Bryan Carreño 20 times.