Here on my voicemail late Monday afternoon:
“There is a show I think you want to see tomorrow. Miss Edie is playing between 12:00 and 2:00 at The Heretic …”
This surprised me, you see my friend is not a real night owl, and Tuesday is a school night after all.
“ … and the lunch buffet is free!”
Lunch? Now I was entirely bumfuzzled. Mid-week, mid-day, drag musical cabaret? Atlanta is a blue town in a red state, yes, but this was beyond blue. I cannot name the color. Now, I know a lady never accepts a late invitation, but dammit my curiosity did get the better of me. I burned some midnight oil and set the alarm for a brutally early hour to move the paying work out of the way. At 10ish, I started dressing, and was en scene, en femme, just moments after noon to meet our local Angel of Transformation Ramona, and two of her more dedicated acolytes, Barbara and Debbie.
After a long spell of dreary weather, Tuesday was one of those crystal clear sky, sun drenched Atlanta January days (64f, 18c) that just puts a smile on every face. Walking from the bright outdoors into the darkish confines of The Heretics’ foyer was a challenge to the eyes, and I more or less blundered directly into the ample bosom of Sue Nami, who, as it happens, was one of the days performers. Guitar strums and a sweet, sweet voice that could have been Willie Nelson’s, but in fact belonged to the legendary Miss Edie wafted in from the main bar-room.
Miss Edie had white knee-high lace up hooker boots (no Lucite platform, but otherwise regulation streetwalker gear), a red leather skirt and a pleasant white blouse behind the guitar. She played and sang like a dream, walking from table to table, pulling out Chris Kristofferson and James Taylor numbers like chocolates from a silver dish.
The bar was packed, not a stool open. At noon. Not midnight, noon. Tuesday. Not Saturday, Tuesday.
And there is me (l'ensemble pictured below) in the shortish black Bisou Bisou skirt, a camisoled lace top from I.N.C., the Calvin Klein Zig-Zag opaque tights (pictured left). Each piece was deeply, deeply discounted, and the whole outfit came together for a few pennies under $40.00. It helps to be able to finish the look with some choice bling from Mrs. B’s permanent collection. (Hi honey! Everything is back in one piece! Miss you!).
Yes, the love of my life is out of town for a little while, and being solely in charge of our humble estate is trying, so I have allowed myself a couple of indulgences this last little while (ed. Yes m'dear, I fired the yard crew).
With introductions made to Barbara and Debbie, we made small talk, and I watched in alarm as mid-day Margueritas were drained. I have done that before, and never managed to make a full or useful enterprise out of the day. Beer for me, which seemed to suit the butch decor of the joint. Barbara, proudly in her 70’s and looking much younger, had left New York 20 years ago, but kept a Long Island accent and attitude with her though what sounds like a life of full-time leisure, part-time en femme. Bless her heart.
Debbie was a bit quieter, and said she knew me by reputation, not from this blog, but on the word of a friend who suggested she should look me up for advice on how to break Cross Dressing truths to ones wife. Word gets out I suppose. We talked quite seriously for some time. It puts my belly in knots thinking about how difficult an exercise this is, and how necessary it is ultimately. Good luck Debbie. You know what to do.
With that done, and a sunny deck beckoning I took a walk outside to revel in the day. There were some much younger people doing what I used to do when I was a 20-something and had a little time on hand: finding a party.
As I walked into the light, this from the pretty girl with the big starlet “don’t-talk-to-me” sunglasses:
"That top is SO F#@KING HOT!! "
Now, a complement from a fellow Cross Dresser is one thing friends: we are a largely supportive flock. Getting a shout-out from a stylish natural born woman though, well that tells me that my fashion darts are hitting bulls-eye. Linle, (pronounced Lynn-Lee), beer in hand and pleasantly buzzed was there with her boyfriend and just wallowing in the demented fun. We talked shopping for a couple of minutes and she confessed to ownership of more than 200 pairs of shoes. I am glad we didn’t hug, that sort of mania might be infectious. The young couple agreed that this party was the very ground zero of cool, and a perfect launch pad for an afternoon of radio controlled car mayhem in Piedmont Park. Not a care in the world. I do miss some elements of youth, yes.
Miss Edie joined me and shared some of her secrets to long life (another beauty proudly in her 70’s), and spelled out some really impressive biographical detail. Amongst many work and play commitments, she does a good amount of outreach with post-grad level psych students, helping future generations of mental health professionals better understand the lives of the Cross Dresser and other special people. She, like me, loves Willie Nelson and vintage musical instruments. She spoke reverently about her many guitars, including the 1970 Gretsch, the only one she considers to have a male personality.
Sue Nami was on the electronic keyboard by the time I came back in, and was pounding out beautiful, full throated show tunes and southern spirituals while our odd congregation sang along, arms waving, bar napkins fluttering, hallelujahs hollered and all. Did I mention that it was still daytime?
Sue took a break from the piano. Her feet were killing her. She had worn flats that day in the effort to be a little less over-the-top (Sue is a natural 6’’4”), and really feels much more comfortable in heels. Poor lamb.
Soon it was time to pack it off back home, with much of real life to attend to. I must say I was delighted to be able to engineer the day favorably and participate in this unexpected treasure of an outing. The staff at The Heretic were super friendly and welcoming, the entertainment first rate, the company sparkling and the day just generally perfect.
And believe it or not, Sue and Edie do this gig twice monthly. I will be back for certain.
I hope you all find something fun this weekend.