February 20, 2013

The Look is Not That Important

More than a few faces cracked this past Monday night during the latest episode of RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked, both on screen and off, when Honey Mahogany stated that when it comes to drag in her hometown of San Francisco, "The look isn't that important." I can see why it might be difficult for a bunch of pageant girls to understand how this could be, but based on my experience in San Francisco last year...she isn't wrong.

During my first weekend in the Bay Area, I went out to a bar near the hostel I was staying in called The Stud. That night there was a drag show happening called "Something," and I noticed very quickly that the queens were not the prettiest I'd ever seen. Most of them had left their body hair perfectly intact. Some of them were intentionally crude and gorey, and sometimes more than a little offensive. And you know what?

It was the best fucking drag show I've seen in my life.

Ambrosia Salad lipsynched The Cranberries' "Zombie" as an undead rock star. Lindsay Slowhands gave me a bearable introduction to Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Getting Back Together" with her very appropriate portrayal of a whiney teenage girl. Host Vivvyanne Forevermore stood center stage smoking a cig and drinking a cocktail while a cacophony of "Call Me Maybe" blasted from the speakers until blood started spewing from her mouth, and as the song ended, she explained "That was me dying inside from listening to that song all summer." I died too, but from happiness.

I've been involved in drag, both as a participant and a spectator, for over eight years now. I won't deny that there is something strangely sublime about watching a man dressed as a woman mouth the words to someone else's music, and the fact that some people can make a living doing that is pretty awesome, but after a while, one becomes hungry for a little more. I used to think that West Michigan had some of the best queens on earth, but after some of the shows I've seen in New York and California, I realize that, while they may be quite pretty, most of them are all doing the exact same thing, and the scene doesn't really allow much room for anything else. I was hesitant when I was asked to pay an $8 cover when I walked into The Stud, but if I were to go back, I would happily pay twice that amount to see it again.

I've also noticed that New York has recently acquired a rather rugged flock of frock-rockers as well, and I don't know about you, but I am really excited about it. Brooklyn and East Village frequenters may have had the chance to see Ariana Huffenstuff, Merrie Cherry, or Horrorchata out and about. Even Glam Award winner Thorgy Thor is more than a little off-beat. I was thrilled to see her win, because all those other bitches are starting to look the same. These girls definitely have a different kind of appeal that may not be welcome on Drag Race, or at least amongst its other contestants, but despite the fact that they may be going to great lengths to hide them, they've definitely got balls.

I totally see where Honey Mahogany is coming from. It may not be RuPaul's cup of tea, but there is definitely a place for this breed of drag. In fact, this episode of Untucked has inspired me to track down some of these less "pretty" queens and see what they've got cooking. I've actually started to like Honey more now that this conversation is happening. Too bad about...ya know.

Oh, by the way, she has a new music video. It's right here.


  1. Thank you for the mention among these fabulous ladies! I do sometimes leave my chest hair showing also, but wouldn't say that I am aiming to look "rugged." Symbols and metaphors of femininity can be be deconstructed, even with some hair showing. It's all about the FACE for me!

    Kisses from the Queer Queen of Brooklyn -
    Ariana Huffenstuff!

    1. Of course! It was a very general statement I was making, and you have every right to identify your look as you like. All I meant was that you aren't conforming to the same look and cunty persona that I'm seeing all the Midtown girls rocking these days.