The Gustavian Weekly

Da snark

By Laura Schroeder Staff Columnist | November 2, 2012 | Opinion

Aw baby, don’t worry—my 5 o’clock shadow won’t scratch—it’s face tanner! <em>Laura Schroeder</em>

Aw baby, don’t worry—my 5 o’clock shadow won’t scratch—it’s face tanner! Laura Schroeder

My first week as a man

So there’s this thing called drag. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, but I don’t know if you really understand what it means. Either way, it’s acceptable, but this week of queer pretty much gives no excuse for not knowing. So educate yourself!  Drag is not just dancing in a costume on stage; it is dressing up as either the opposite sex or as the opposite gender. A drag queen is a man who dresses up as a woman, and a drag king is a woman dressed up as a man.

I’ve always viewed drag as just something fun to do, and maybe a future experience I would have. (Future being the key word.) I’ve attended many drag shows and have thoroughly enjoyed the effort the queens and kings put into their outfits and routines. One of my favorites to watch is a girl named Kate Mensing (Andy Drogeny) who I saw at the UMD drag show this past month. She always does really cute, upbeat songs, and it looks like she’s having so much fun. Plus, she wears suspenders, which are always fantastic in my book. I’ve also watched my friends get up on stage in costume and lip-sync their hearts out, but I’ve never taken the time to really think about it in a serious context.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by my good friend Erik and asked if I wanted to be one of his backup dancers for the drag show. Well, heck yeah, I did! It sounded like an easy task and a ton of fun. Then I got to our first rehearsal. I soon realized that I had been living as a woman for twenty years. Twenty whole years! That’s a damn hard habit to break.

I learned quickly that there are certain “girly” gestures and motions I am not allowed to perform while dragging as a guy. Things like exaggerated spirit fingers and moving my hips when I dance are no longer acceptable. I was constantly told to move from my knees, not my hips, because that’s what guys naturally do.

I couldn’t speak in my normal voice or even catcall at the other dancers like I would usually do – it had to be at least an octave lower. It had never occurred to me that acting as if I were a man would be so difficult, and it really messed me up. I had to watch myself every second of our rehearsal, just in case I slipped out of character.

I soon came to realize that drag is not only a challenge, but also a necessary step in understanding the opposite sex. Throughout my experience as a guy, I learned that it’s damn hard to be a man. Not only a man, but a man with a “feminine” side. If I have to restrict myself from acting a certain way in drag just so I can appear more manly, it’s got to be a thousand times more difficult in reality.

I’d highly recommend dragging at some point in your life if it interests you, or at least going to the drag show this Friday and seeing for yourself what it’s all about. It’s not like everyone needs to experience actually doing drag in their lives, but it’s a pretty legit experience. I thought I knew a little bit about the opposite sex, but acting as one really proved me wrong. I’m just glad my part in drag doesn’t involve dancing in high heels.