Female impersonation has been around for centuries. Men performing as women. Drag queens. Drag, a term that allegedly originated when men taking on women’s roles in theater productions had to pull their long, heavy gowns across the stage, has been used since Shakespearean times. It may have originated long before that, however, perhaps as far back as my birth.
The opposite, women performing as men, but not in theater, perhaps as soldiers, has also existed for centuries. It was just less acceptable, less visible, and more covert. It wasn’t until the 1990s, however, that “drag kings” emerged as a popular and common form of entertainment. Since then, they have stood alongside drag queens with names far more inventive than Thomas Edison’s mind, monikers like Dora Jarr, Barbara Seville, and Wilma Fingerdoo.
I have not followed the development of drag kings in the World of Entertainment or the LGBTQ community closely. Therefore, I am not familiar with the names of the more successful performers in the growing form of artistic expression of drag kings. In fact, I’m not personally familiar with any performing drag kings. And, sadly, I shall never be able to perform as one as I have the wrong plumbing. Nevertheless, my imaginative mind runs wild with the possibilities of names and personae.
The following are characters I hope have been adopted by some drag king performer somewhere. If not, I claim them as my creations:
Philip Mignon, Frank Sanbeans, Art Snob, Harry Palms, Drew Conclusions, Otto Eroticism, Richard R. Poorer, Wade Toogo, Ozzie Perosis, Drew Ablank, Maxie Dress, Paul Barer, Tom Buldry, Dewey Decimal, Willie R. Whonty, Manny Peddy, Axel Grease, Scott Paperproducts, Caesar B. Forchigessaway, Ollie Swell, Juan Toothry, Cal Seeum, Aaron Thesideofcaution, and the very 2016, Mike Drop.
While I am not able to be a drag king, I could be a drag queen. But, alas, I no longer have the desire to or a reason for dabbling in humorous cross-dressing. I can only reminisce about the Halloweens I spent while a high school special education assistant roaming the halls as school nurse Karen Compassion, complete with Red Cross hat, sensible shoes, medicine bag, stethoscope, faux hypodermic needle, tubes of drawn blood, and rectal thermometer.
I can only fondly look back at the “Prom You Never Went To,” Seattle’s LGBT community’s annual spoof of proms, which, one year, I attended as French-Greek teacher Fifi Sukokis, who taught topless. On another occasion, I and a friend attended the Lavender Valley High School prom as co-presidents of the Siamese Twin Club, Bo Thai and Ngek Thai. If you think that is a sick, disgusting concept, you should have seen us trying out for cheerleader.
And I can only dream about my unrequited wish to become world famous, headlining drag queen Ruby Tampons who would, in my mind, only wear white, except during “that time of the month” when she was resplendent in red. But that is all I am going to say about that unmet goal. Period.
Perhaps, though, it is not too late to adopt a female persona. Maybe, instead of performing on stage, I could use my imagination, talent, and rare beauty to land myself a husband. I could present myself as a mysterious, enchanting, foreign woman, possibly from Russia, maybe Southeast Asia, seeking love and the opportunity to come to America. I could advertise myself in the proper publications and online as the loving, sex-starved, and ideal wife Mae Lorderbride.