Monday, 26 January 2009

On false eyelashes and gumshields

Kevin, a friend of ours, got us some tickets to go to Duckie, so the three of us, Mrs Franny, Kevin and I, went out to hit the town determined to have a good time.

We knew it would be fun because we had attended before: Duckie consists of a series of stage performances by drag acts and that is generally a guarantee for fun.

The venue, a large but infamous local hotel, was sparkling with the effervescence typical only of the gay scene: there were people in the most flamboyant costumes, some looking like human chandeliers, others more outrageous still.

Some men had legs and bums that were the envy of every woman in the house. They stood 7ft tall on stratospherically high heels, undulated like elegant giraffes amongst mere mortals and briefly made you question your own sexuality.

Women with exquisite sleeve-work tattoos walking their rubber-clad pets on a lead did not look out of place among those who had chosen to dress more modestly as eastern orthodox priests, mother Theresa or catholic nuns ["That's a very accurate costume you have there". "It's not an costume, dear"].

It was truly fabulous, a veritable fruit salad of eccentricity reminiscent of the burning man crowd. We danced, drank and watched the shows.

Then the interval came.

Audience and drag acts spilled chatting and laughing into the foyer where the bar was, and here I witnessed the funniest social contrast I have seen in a long time.

Coincidentally, staying at the hotel were various sporting teams from many European nations. The shell-suit on one contused guy read: Macedonian Boxing Federation. Most of the national teams partaking in the European Boxing Championship were staying in this hotel.

Take a moment to consider this: here was, during the same night, a gathering of effeminate extroverts and one of testosterone fueled machos.

They looked on. To say that these people didn't get it would require redefining the word understatement.

By the look on their faces, I think it is fair to surmise that the guys from Macedonia had never seen anyone in drag. They looked on in confounded astonishment at men in tights, their eyes out of the orbits with sheer incredulity.

I thought I would see bloodshed when one guy wearing 8" heels and a 6ft span of butterfly wings on his back minced past a brute and tickled him on the back of his head. I thought that deliberately taunting someone whose profession is to punch seven shades of shit out of people would be suicidal. And normally it would be, except that the guy being taunted was at a loss as to whether he'd be hitting a woman or a man. You could tell that this was totally outside his gender parameters. The contempt on his face was evident.

As I watched on I pondered the meeting of these anthropological antitheses and wondered how anyone could consider having their face punched repeatedly a suitable form of fun and dismiss dressing up as abnormal.

As for me, I walked back into the show certain that I would prefer wearing false eyelashes rather than a gum shield, any day of the week.

You decide:

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