I remember coming out. It was a hot summer's eve about 300 years ago. Abraham Lincoln was president then. He really looked good in that little yellow chiffon number he stole from Mary Todd. Oh, Mary, what a looker! Ah, it was the best of times. It was the...
If you were really paying attention to what you were reading, you'll have realized that I was making it up. Hopefully you realized that Mary Todd would have never worn yellow chiffon! Or maybe that Abraham Lincoln was president from 1861 to 1865, which is not 300 years ago. Or maybe that I'm not 300 years old. Or am I?
I guess I've had two coming-outs. I'm like a greedy debutante or something. I came out as a raging homosexual and then a fancy fake lady. They actually were about two months apart, so we'll just combined them into one. I remember my first time in drag so well. I was hideous! Let me explain. My friend and I got invited to a drag party where the fabulous queens of the city of Rochester, N.Y. were going to put a bunch of newbies in drag for the first time. I went, pretending like I didn't really want to, even though I had stolen my sister's tights and an ugly sundress (which I did not wear that time but mistakenly did another). So we get there, and everyone is having fun and getting in drag. Where did it all go wrong? Wannabe queens, let me give you some advice:
- Never go to a queen's house for her drag party and bring her ex-boyfriend as your new boyfriend (mistake 1).
- Never let said drag queen put you in drag, even if it seems she's being really nice (mistake 2).
- Never trust a guy who says his ex is having trouble "letting go" (mistake 3).
Needless to say, when Heather Skye was finished, I looked like a refugee hooker who had been strung out on meth for two weeks and then repeatedly punched in both eyes with a prosthetic arm. Oh, the look of glory on her face (drag queens always mix up pronouns; "she" was in reality a "he," of course) when she was finished. I just thought she was proud of her work. Silly kid.
Darienne Lake (another fabulous Rochester drag queen) walked into the room and jumped back like she had just seen my head spin around à la Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Yes people, it was that bad. Darienne took me to the bathroom mirror, and I saw myself for the first time. I felt like I had played that Bloody Mary game, where you turn around in circles saying "Bloody Mary" three times and her spirit appears in the mirror to kill you. Darienne told me to squint my eyes and lean back, and that's how you are supposed to look at yourself when you are in drag. Yep. She was right. With my eyes practically closed, I did look almost pretty. She was at least trying to make me feel better.
I still went out with my horrid makeup and wearing one of Heather's wigs and a dress and heels that were too big for me. After a few sneaky drinks (I was underage; don't drink at bars if you are underage: it can close a bar down, which I now know), I clomped around almost thinking I was a diva. Despite it all, I still had an amazing time. A few times, from behind, I even got mistaken for Heather. I did say from behind. Heather was a stunningly gorgeous queen, and that night I was not. I did tell her that people kept thinking I was her. Good God, that must have made her furious!
For a while, we were bitter rivals, fueled by the guy who played us and by bored people stirring the pot. Years later, when Heather and I were actually friends, we would laugh about all of that. I told her that I thought that if it wasn't for him, we'd probably have been friends from the beginning.
Heather passed away this year. It surprised all of us. I actually look back at this story with very fond memories, and I know something now that I didn't know then: if I were in her place, I would have done the same damn thing. What that night did teach me is that true fabulousity comes from within. So thank you, Heather Skye! I take my wig off to you. I know your star is shining brightly high up in the sky.
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