I'm so lucky to be gay by relation! I thought this last night when my brother's boyfriend, Allan, called to invite me to "Tranny Night." This is the occasion, usually a week before Christmas, when my brother and his significant other get together with 30 of their besties to dress up in drag. Where in the heterosexual universe can you find a night that even remotely compares to this extraordinary occurrence? I've been to a lot of sporting events, and therefore seen a lot of guys in tights. But this will be my first opportunity to wear a pair of spandex myself. Well, the second if you're counting.
The boys have done this before. I think this is the third or fourth annual event. They hire a make-up artist and get done up in their best wigs and dresses and high-heeled shoes for the soul purpose of looking fabulous. And really, how can you know what it feels like to be a gal until you walk a mile in her shoes, or at least stand in a pair of stilettos the evening through?
"It sounds like a lot of work," was my initial reaction. The thought of a stranger's applying my make-up led to the thought of having to take it off. And I wouldn't have help there. "Don't worry," he said. "I have a wig and a dress you can use. And we basically wear the same size shoe. So are you in?"
So, I'm in. I haven't dressed up like a chick since I was 13, when for Halloween I wore my mom's skimpy tennis dress, my sister's bra (stuffed with a pair of my own sports socks, of course) along with my sister's shoes and this old black wig we had lying around. My mom played make-up artist and photographer, and I still have the photos! I basically looked like Apollonia Kotero from Purple Rain. Just, you know, not as busty, and with some bulges rearranged. I have yet to master the "tuck under" maneuver. That night while trick or treating, I got hit on by like half a dozen guys. In my mind went the constant refrain, "I'm a sex shooter, shooting out in your direction." It actually made me quite uncomfortable to be the object of so many snide remarks and lascivious looks. To be a young hottie in today's world!
And I thought, it's so good being gay by relation. Because really, heterosexual guys get so boring after a certain age, with their twin emphasis on sports and suds - and the occasional strip club thrown in. Naughty boys need love too, I guess. But seriously, I haven't seen my high school best friend, Pete, who is married with three kids, in nearly two years and he lives just down the street. This is because whenever we get together all we can think of doing is what we did in our twenties, in other words something involving several pitchers of cheap beer at a local sports bar. Not exactly limitless options. I always leave Cabo Cantina heavy headed, leaden limbed and hard of hearing. Just last night my friend Steve wanted to come over. What shall we do? I asked. He suggested we watch the Lakers game. I'm not even into basketball! The last time we hung out and didn't watch sports we played one instead. After twenty minutes of kicking the soccer ball around, Steve was lathered in sweat. A pulled hamstring would shortly follow. There's a name for this: it's called living in the past.
Gay boys, on the other hand, have so much fun. I'm not really into mani/pedis, preferring to perform these essential functions on myself. But their parties are great. The food is always tasty and nutritious, the libations low cal. The music is always up-beat, in a teeny bop sort of way. And my brother is unabashed in his musical preference. When it comes to tunes, he is "basically a teenage girl." Though my tastes usually lean heavily in the direction of Green Day and Iron Maiden, I am proud to announce I have developed a deep-seeded appreciation for Katy Perry which now extends beyond her voluptuous bosom. The girl has pipes! Also, nobody at these parties has a beer gut or 2.4 whining kids in tow. And of course the nagging wife is a non-option. The heterosexual females present at these shin digs are few and far between, it must be said. But I am grateful for this preemptive, since without fertile females around I won't be that guy down the road. You know the one, tired, slouched, bloated and glassy eyed with kids tugging at my shirt tails and a wife who not so secretly despises me.
Lest we forget, gay means happy, and most gay guys are exactly that. Looking around at my mother's funeral, amidst so many family and friends, reunited with long lost acquaintances and in the bosom - there's that word again - of so much love and warmth, I noted the presence of three female cousins. Only one of which was accompanied by her husband. The unfortunate gentleman, whom I had never met, looked the picture of a married man in his late 40s. That is to say, and I regret to write these words but I am commited to veracity and they are true: tired, limp-wristed and pasty, somewhat neurotic and thoroughly unhappy to be "in the house," I think is the expression. My two other dear female cousins are separated from the respective fathers of their little ones. In other words, their men hot-tailed it out of there, leaving these capable mothers with their little darlings. And happier on their own. Because let's be honest, this is what many women wish for. I've heard more than one friend say to her main squeeze: "Just give me your seed, then don't forget to mail me child support and you can be on your merry way." The likes of Madonna and now Jolie have blazed a trail that many a modern female are treading too. And guys are often better off on their own. It's hard to stay committed. The male desire for novelty and variety gets frustrated. Complacency sets in. And a girl's idea of a good time drastically differs from what fun means for a guy. Unless that guy is gay, which is why so many a queer male has his fag hag. Such a deplorable term. And yet I've even heard some such exes becoming homosexual themselves. I am an honorary one myself. Because the parties are great. Which is taking the injunction to "be on your merry way" literally.
Now, I am not the first straight male to jump at the opportunity to take a walk on the female side. Tom Hanks did it before me when he pranced around in high heels on what was my favorite sitcom as a child. I'm talking about "Bosom Buddies." Patrick Swayze did a turn as a lovely lady in "To Wong Foo," along with Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo. These manly men got in touch with their softer side in front of an audience and for a hefty payday. I'll just be doing it with my new closest friends, and for laughs. Laughter is priceless. I'm sure come mid December as I'm wearing another man's pumps and a platinum blonde hairpiece with a form fitting gown hopefully made of satin (it breathes), there will be many giggles to go around, and pictures too, even with my mom no longer around to snap them. But rest assured, she'll be laughing and snapping from heaven.