Dec 2, 2008

Curtain up!

Yes, I had been out before. Just not so well put together. Just not without the covering excuse of Halloween. Just not so prepared to go out and stay out. Just not so much fearful of being “caught” as ready to be “met”.

Settling on the right venue was key. A dear and helpful friend suggested
Paris Decatur. And this was interesting. I had previously confined my en femme nights out to gay bars. There is a long and obvious tradition of drag friendliness at most of these establishments. Lesbian bar though. I really had to think twice. A part of me worried that a genetic male type (even with all the nice feathers) might not be so welcomed. Straight boy playing hot-chick in a room of women who prefer women …. you know, I just wanted to be sure I would not be offending the aesthetic of the place or pissing off the regular clientele.

I called beforehand. “Hell yes, everything goes, no problem, see you later”. As per usual, overthinking gets you nowhere. And really that reaction is pretty consistent with all the reactions … “guy in girls clothes? Yeah, and so what?”

So, off to Paris. Perfect curbside parking spot had just opened up. Managed to execute a superb parallel park even hobbled by the 4” stiletto boots. And the rest of the (visible parts of the) ensemble (I will do a little essay on foundation garments some other happy day):

▪ Fishnets over sheer black hose
▪ Short, tight black cotton/lycra skirt
▪ Back-zip, crotch-snap Danskin turtleneck (second skin, yumm)
▪ Lots of silver accessories
▪ Nice shawl.

R” had fixed my makeup and hair. I really felt good. A quick smoke for the nerves out front. The benefits of the smoke was cancelled out by the freakish cold though and I entered shaking like a leaf. The joint was pretty full. There was a stool still open at the end of the bar. “Is this seat open? Thanks”. Brain freeze around the whole issue of where the hell do I put my purse? By my feet? On the bar? Gawd how do real girls get any damn thing done? Its all so complex.

Drink, sure, a glass of …. (what works for my look? …) Pinot Grigio thanks.

I am not too outgoing in most social settings. I prefer to observe people. I do not really throw myself out there. Other people are way more interesting. I did though ask the lovely barmaid what was on the program for tonight.

“Drag Kings, starting up well, sometime soon.”

O this is good. Lets see if I can capture it here. Lesbian bar. Karaoke/Lip synch entertainment by woman dolled down as men. And undoubtedly emphasizing the more lamentable stereotypes and laughable characteristics of male behavior. For an audience of women. And at least one genetic male dressed, well, provocatively to say the least. And her/me standing at the end of the bar right next to the performers platform. I may as well as had a little pink spotlight on me. Well this is all on the verge of wierd.

The nice looking and quiet woman beside me was working on a beer out of the bottle. She was much more civil then me, or at least possessed of finer social graces.

“Hi, my name is Stefanie”

“Hi Stefanie, I'm Petra”

I indicated that I would usually be more inclined to drinking a beer out of the bottle just like her, but it just didn’t seem to go with my look. Smile. So what are we both doing here? Well Stefanie had just finished dinner with a friend, and was within site of her apartment and said to herself, what the hell its Friday and I am not going home just yet. Good for Stefanie. And it gets better. She lives within walking distance of Paris, fits right in and and yet had never once been to Paris (Decatur that is). A pair of rookies. I could only shake my head. Never been here? No, I guess I don’t get out much anymore.

Well, I had to admit is was my first trip here too. And no I guess I don’t get out much (at least not like this) anymore either. Stefanie is very attractive. A little younger then me. A complexion that does not need makeup. And a native of Atlanta. I found it funny that I pursued the same lines of conversation en femme with her as I pursue with strangers in other social settings.

Asking someone in Atlanta if they grew up here is the surest way to find out that, no they were born in Racine or Cincinnati or Schenectady or Ocala or Huntsville or any damn where but Atlanta. But no, Stefanie is a native. Of Atlanta. Take that.

The entertainment started. I won’t dwell on it all too long. It was a very young crowd. When I was that age I worked hard at ensuring that anyone over 30 would be deeply offended by my musical tastes. If grey hairs were digging on what I dug, I felt I was digging the wrong stuff. So, full credit to these youngsters. But the tunes were just not my cup of tea. With the possible exception of the cover version of Phil Collins "In the air tonight".

That said, so much of it made me happy. The energy, the dancing, (some of) the F to M transformations and the general wonderful freedom and license that drenched the room. This generation was out there and really holding nothing back. Cool.

The star of the evening, or at least the focus of a lot of the attention was a totally cute barely 20 something who was shipping out to Iraq the next morning. She was holding nothing back. I wished her well and thought about the sacrifices being made by beautiful young people to preserve my freedom to wear a padded panty girdle. Its all kind of asymmetrical. I really do hope she does well in this tour and beyond. Her friends were out in pretty big numbers and really hootin’ / hollerin’ for her.

Other parts of it made me happy too, or at least forced out the performer in me. You see, Drag Kings it seems to me need to do the whole "leering guy" act at attractive girls in come-hither outfits like the outfit I was poured in to. And I’m like standing there like I cannot be missed. The attention was nice though, and not at all gropey. Yes, I was to a certain degree objectified, but not badly. I did a couple of classic hair and scarf flicks to indicate disinterest in the Kings’ advances and it was all good theatre.

In between sets Stefanie and I got a chance to share 40-something observations. Our views were not too far apart. I think Stephanie was a little envious, not jealous, just nicely envious, of the youngsters and their full throttle out-ness. And happy for the youngsters too. I did not however want to totally take her attention all night in so far as Paris was a pretty target rich environment for a nice looking real woman and there was a total hottie who reminded me of Kim Novak (think of Vertigo) right beside her at the bar. I chatted with Melodie for a bit, and stole some fashion tips, but was kind of hoping that she would make nice with Stefanie and maybe exchange numbers.

Now ultimately I don’t think that happened --- there were some other dramas in the air that evening. Situation normal I understand from friends. But I do know this:
Melodie and I emptied the bar of the Pinot Grigio over the course of the evening.

Melodie, if you are reading this, I still want your sweater with the furry collar trim. And please drop me a line anytime.

In any event a small handful of nice people said nice things about my look. Everybody that approached me was kind, a little curious, and sweet. I was made to feel very much at home.

And just as I was getting ready to call it a night, my new friend Stephanie asked if I wanted maybe to grab a coffee the next day. It was the sweetest thing. I was totally flattered and entirely surprised. And happy to say yes and exchange numbers.

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