Thursday, February 23, 2012

Life's a Drag

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite things—drag shows. I absolutely love going. There's such a fun, flirtations feeling in the air. The performers are beautiful, and their outfits are so creative. From ball gowns to sexy little fishnets, there's nothing like watching a man twirl around on teensy tiny high heels.

Half the time, if forget they're actually men under there. I think that's because I'm such a visually stimulated person. I don’t need to know what the plumbing looks like in order to be attracted to a person. Plus, I'm an ass man and there's always at least one nice round ass on display.

Another reason I like drag shows is that I find men in frilly women's clothing sexy as hell. My computer in my writing office has shots of hunky men in lacy panties and fancy skirts. Oh. Wow. Nothing's sexier. Maybe that's due to my own gender issues, but I don't care. Men in drag are S.E.X.Y. I mean, think about it. Imagine the sexiest guy you know. Maybe he's the hot fireman downtown. Maybe he's the geeky guy at the bookstore. Maybe he's the slightly plump guy next door, with chest hair that just won't quit. Now imagine him shimmying out of his jeans (or his slacks, or his sweatpants, or his whatever-the-hell-you-want-him-to-be-wearing) and imagine those pants coming down to reveal frilly, lacy red panties…or silky satin white panties with a sweet little pink bow. Tell me that doesn't get you going!

I know plenty of women who think drag shows are unnatural and odd. I've even heard a woman say drag queens were just out to steal men from "real women." Funny, but a lot of the drag queens I know are in committed relationships. Some of them are even married. (You know we can legally do that in a few states now.) They've already got their own men, and they don't need yours, honey. ::snap:: Shock of all shocks, I even know a heterosexual drag queen who is married to a woman. Not every guy in a dress is trying to get in your hubby's pants, darlin'.

I find, though, that a fair amount of men don't like drag shows either; my own husband being one of them. Don't get me wrong—my husband is not homophobic or a bigot. Like me, he's also visually stimulated, but he's very grounded in reality. It takes the fun out of it, for him, because he knows they're not really women. He can't get past that, mentally. So, no matter how pretty she is, she's not a she. If he's going to watch women dance, he wants to watch women. Still in all, he's gone to a few shows with me, and he always enjoys himself. 

My youngest son is a drag queen magnet. He's been to about a dozen or so shows with me, and at every one, he gets attention. He's been petted, pawed, had lap dances, had queens ask other audience members to take their picture with him. I don't know what it is about him. He's always kind and friendly, and isn't really bothered by any of it. He's as baffled as I am about why they pick him, but I think in a way he's probably sort of flattered. Who wouldn't be? 

Although, I'm not sure which is worse—those who don't like drag shows, or those who like them too much. Case in point: I recently went to a show with my son and some friends and coworkers. Things typically start off slow, until either the audience has had a few drinks or one of the queens does a number to a song everyone knows and can sing along to. I contend to this day that you can't fully appreciate "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey until you've experienced it in a small, dark gay bar, surrounded by drunken audience members singing along at the top of their lungs. 

Anyhow, during the aforementioned show, this one particular man—who was already quite drunk—kept jumping up to hug all the queens. He followed one around during her song. Now, while I was watching the guy in question, from my nice little seat in the corner, I assumed he knew the queens. After all, the drag community around here is fairly close-knit. A lot of people who attend the shows are relatives of the queens and kings, or are their close friends. Then, after speaking to one of the queens I personally know, I find out that not only do none of the queens know this asshat, but he'd also accosted my friend in the bar, grabbed her by the arms and told her she had great legs and that he wanted to hold her down and touch them. 

WTF? I paid closer attention after that, and was amazed at the liberties some people felt entitled to take. I thought to myself, they don't go anywhere else and act like this. What gives them the right to at a drag show? You don't go to McDonalds and tell the guy behind the counter he's cute and you'd like to blow him. You don't go to Wal-Mart and tell the cashier she's wearing nice shoes and you'd like to jack off in them. What the hell gives anyone the right to treat the queens and kings so rudely? True, the queens and kings were being flirty and touchy with some of the audience, but it seemed to be the same people each time—including my table. And then I realized, we were the safe people. The ones who weren't being offensively attentive. 

At one show, I got asked to dinner by one of the queens. She told me something that kind of broke my heart. She said she didn't meet many people like me, who were so truly accepting of her. I couldn't imagine how anyone could look at any of the queens and kings and feel anything but awe. Awe for the talent, the amount of work they put into their bodies and clothing, and the physicality of running around in high heels on the dance floor. And on the other hand, what gives anyone the right to judge anyone else? 

I suppose I always thought of drag shows as something that was all in good fun. Like going to a movie. Why would you attend if it wasn't your thing? I mean, you wouldn't go watch 300 if you didn't like blood and gore, or at the very least, if you weren't okay with it. You wouldn't watch Nightmare on Elm Street if you didn't want to be scared. Why on Earth would you go to a drag show if you weren't one-hundred-percent comfortable with it? 

I spoke to someone recently about this post, and asked his opinion. He's a heterosexual male, married with three kids, big gruff guy, wears a cowboy had and cowboy boots even though he lives in Upstate NY and the closest he's ever gotten to a ranch was watching Dallas in the 1980s. He's kind of a…well…I won't say he's a bigot… ::sigh:: Yeah, I guess actually I will say he's a bigot. So, I asked him. What's the big deal? You're straight. You know it, your wife knows it, everyone in the world knows it. So what if some guy grinds on your hip for two seconds at a show. Who cares? He gave me a line about it threatening how his sexuality is perceived. People might think he was okay with such a thing. And then they might think they could do it to him, too. When I asked who they were, he answered, "You know...gays."

At that point, I think everyone who knows me can imagine how high my left eyebrow arched. So I said to him, "Let me get this clear here. You think that if you sit in a chair, and, due to circumstances beyond your control, a guy dressed as a woman comes over to you and shows you attention, that's open call for every gay man in the joint to pounce on the giant redneck-looking dude with the wife?" 

He kind of sputtered at that, and eventually admitted it was kind of a silly notion. We talked in depth about homosexuality, drag shows, being transgender, etc. Now, this guy has known me for years, and he's been a friend to me despite his closed-minded up bringing, and his lingering homophobic mentality. He's a bigot, but he really is a good guy at heart. He's not one of those people who want us to all fall off the face of the planet. He doesn't support hate crimes, and he thinks everyone in the Westboro Baptist Church is a waste of flesh. He just thinks that a person being in love with and having relations with another person of the same gender is morally wrong and against God. (Some day I'll have to tell you about the theological debates we have.)

I asked him point blank if he felt I was a threat to his perceived sexuality when we hugged. He said of course not, and when I asked why, he said, "Well it's not like you're really a dude. You're just a woman in dude's clothing." (::sigh:: He's never really grasped the whole transgender thing.) Nevertheless, the response was interesting, and I asked him what the difference was between a drag queen and me then?

His answer astonished me. He said, "Because you're supposed to be turned on by drag queens. That's what they're doing. That's the point. They're trying to make you want them. Trying to make you horny. They're trying to trick you into wanting them. Trying to trick you into sinning."

I tried not to laugh. I really, really tried. I asked him if he'd ever considered that being a drag queen was about how the queen felt, and not how the audience felt? Maybe the queens enjoyed how they felt in those costumes. Maybe the attention filled a need—made them feel important and loved. He said he didn't get why they had to dress up in dresses for that. 

I asked him why he dressed the way he dressed. After all, he's not a ranch hand. He's a number cruncher. He doesn't drive a truck. He drives a Toyota Camry. He doesn't live on a ranch. He has a nice two story Tudor style house. He's never even been near a cow, other than at the dairy section in the grocery store, and he'd seriously injure himself if he ever had to ride a horse. So, why the cowboy get up? He answered that those clothes made him feel comfortable. Made him feel like more of a man, and he felt they sent a message to people that he was a badass. 

I asked him why it couldn't be the same for a drag queen? I mean, really…men don't dress up in women's clothing unless they enjoy it. So, yes, it's about the show, but it's also about them feeling pretty. Feeling fabulous. Feeling like they're beautiful. Feeling like they're special. And yes, they're all those things in "real life," but maybe they don't feel it in "real life." Sure, they love the audience attention, when it's appropriate, and they love hearing how people have enjoyed the show, but maybe it's just about trying to find your way in a world that will never fully accept anyone who doesn't fit into a cookie cutter. 

Or maybe it's just about the shiny jewelry, the feathers, and the silky gowns. What the hell do I know? I'm just a woman in dude's clothing, right? :grin::

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