shantay, you stay

22 Jan

I usually talk about how much I hate or dislike things, so it’s a real treat and rare occurrence when I announce how much I genuinely love and appreciate something. Back in 2010 when I was in London, my flatmate Steph (wutup pheebz?!) and I had a Tuesday night tradition: go for some bottles of wine with some friends at The Shakespeare, then come back to our flat and stalk relative strangers on Facebook while on our own laptops on separate sides of the couch in silence. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even be on the same couch, but just sitting in the same room. Always in silence. No speaking allowed. Only maybe Facebook chatting if we had to send one another a link. Why speak when you can just send something virtually? It was really a tradition we came to know and love, I honestly do miss it to this day. Most of the time we would have found some food in the kitchen to snack on while we sat in silence, but mostly, we just ignored one another for a while. However, there was another factor that was incorporated into this tradition that cannot go unnoticed and is the central topic of this post: we had “RuPaul’s Drag Race” playing in the background whenever we did this. One of the stations we received at our flat played season two of “Drag Race” every Tuesday night at the time we got home from The Shakespeare, and we would always put it on, but never pay attention. What made it better is that while we had it on, we always questioned why we were watching it, but neither of us did anything to change that. This happened every week like clockwork, and it was a beautiful bonding experience for Steph and I.

Well, last year while watching “The Soup”, Joel McHale commented on a clip from “Drag Race”, which reminded me that the show existed. The clip was extremely campy, dramatic, and ridiculous, and while Joel McHale was clearly insulting it, I thought it was hilarious. Luckily for me, Vh1 (still waiting for your call to comment on shit, Vh1!!!!!) was playing a “Drag Race” marathon one night when I was at a friend’s house drinking, and the episode that we turned on happened to be the one that contained the clip from “The Soup”. The episode was ridiculous in and of itself, as one of the contestants, Willam (who is insanely funny and has a better body than me and half of the women I know), threw up off of the stage during the big judging ceremony, then the vomiting wasn’t addressed, and then after the “lip synch for your life” was performed by two other contestants, Willam was randomly called up and kicked off of the show for violating the rules. Naturally, Lauren and I thought that it was because he threw up, but the episode never went into explaining what the fuck happened, so we were left confused and amazed. And it hit me right then: I was hooked. There was no turning back after this. I watched all of the episodes that had aired so far in the fourth season on my laptop the next day that I didn’t have classes, and I was actively involved in the season finale, even sending in my vote over twitter (I voted for Chad Michaels, who is flawless). People were confused by my love for the show, but I didn’t know how to explain it. I was just obsessed (and still am).

I eventually realized the reason why I became so infatuated with the show: I love drag queens. Everything about them amazes me. They know how to apply makeup better than I do, they know how to dress their bodies better than I do, they know how to own their sexuality and love themselves, which is more than I can say for myself. Drag queens just have their own lexicon and dialogue that does not work when anyone else says what they say. They are hysterical, know exactly what to say to snap back at another queen or answer one of Ru’s suggestive questions. Basically, anything a drag queen says is what I wish I could say, but I’d look like a complete judgmental asshole doing so (I already look like a judgmental asshole, so I don’t need anymore help in that department). I came to love RuPaul, who I had really only known from the song “Cover Girl” and as the guidance counselor in “The Brady Bunch Movie”. Pretty much, I wish I was a drag queen, but I unfortunately was biologically born a woman, not a gay man. I have thought for a while that I was a gay man in another life, but I’m starting to think that I was actually a drag queen previously. I wish I was one now. Maybe my mom would get off of my back about not having a career path.

Over this summer, I watched the first three seasons of the show, came to know all of the queens, separated which ones I love, which ones I hate, and which ones I just don’t care about. I immersed myself in everything “Drag Race” and I have no regrets doing it. I’ve gotten my brother Brendan into the show, discovered that some of my friends love it, and even went to see one of the queens, Chad Michaels (who as I said before is FLAWLESS) at a club appearance a few weeks ago. I wish I could surround myself with drag queens. They seem to be the only other people on my level of bitchy who would not fault me for it. In fact, they would encourage it. That’s all I want in life. One of my top qualifications when looking for friends is that they’re judgmental (other qualities are that they drink and that they hate everything, but I guess I can overlook not fitting all qualifications if you have two of the three), and I feel like all of my favorite queens from “Drag Race” fit this bill. If karma is real, then I have to assume that I am royally fucked for what a mean-spirited and rude person I am, but watching episodes of “Drag Race” make me feel better about myself, knowing that there are others like me out there.

So, this is my open call for new friends. Drag queens. Any shape or size, I do not care. Just come hang out with me, drink cocktails with me, and teach me how to apply my makeup because I want to look better when we go out to gay bars. If you could pass me off as a drag queen, that would also be a plus. All of you drag queens whom I love, you are all the sisters I’ve always wanted but never had. It’s never too late to make new friends. Come find me now and save me from myself.

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