“It’s the most wonderful time of the year … with those gay happy meetings, when friends come to call…” Yes, Andy Williams, it certainly is. Why? Because it’s H A L L O W E E N, the gayest holiday of them all!
Yes, bitches! Gays like nothing more than playing dress up, and I know my “straight gays” out there have sneaky grins on their faces. It’s long been known that they use this holiest of holies as an excuse … to get in a dress. We know! You’re not fooling us with your “Well if everyone’s doing drag, I might as well” routine. True, you’re not going to look like a flawless Beyonce clone or even a Solange clone on your first try. But, yours truly is here to guide you newbie drag queens to what you will need. So, put on your flats and fill the gas tank! We’ve got some shopping to do. “The time has come” to get you boys “dressed, resembling a girl” … or d-r-a-g for short!
First, it all begins with the hair! Are you a Diana Ross or a baby Gaga? Are you doing “The Rachel” or “The Farrah”? Are you someone we’ll recognize or are you creating an alter ego? No matter what you decide, we need to hit the gas to Hollywood Boulevard. Yes, WeHo, we’re going east! There are three popular wig stores on Hollywood Boulevard. Hollywood Toys and Costumes specializes in wild designs and over-the-top-looks. If you want “fire” hair, you found the place. Head west and you’ll stumble upon Outfitters Wigs. This store, run by Angie, will help with more feminine looks and quality wigs. Yes, that means more money. They can style just about anything you need. But most queens slip over to Hollywood Wigs. Here, Miss Ellen provides a happy medium between the previous stores, and the prices are great. Plus, it’s fun to rummage through their store and grab some accessories and eyelashes. Yes, get your eyelashes now. No matter what your hair preference, Hollywood Boulevard will have it. It won’t, however, have a bathroom. So no cocktails before shopping! No wonder I buy online.
Okay, hair is done, but while we’re on Hollywood Boulevard, we might as well stop off to the stripper stores for shoes. “Stripper stores, Ingenue?” you might ask. “But, I’m going as Britney Spears or Alexis Colby from the original and far better Dynasty.”
“I know, dear,” I respond, “but those size 12’s aren’t found at DSW or Santee Alley!” You got that right. Finding “big girl” shoes is a pain! Now, before we even look at shoes, you need to know your size. Let’s say you wear a size 11. Well, that does NOT mean you wear a size 11 in women’s. You are an inch longer – Ooooo, you like those stats! If you are an 11, choose a size 12 in open toe, slingbacks, and mules. Pumps and boots require a 13. See! You just keep growing! Once you’ve got your shoes, wear them! Wear them while vacuuming, doing the dishes, and walking Princess. If you wear brand new heels on the boulevard on Halloween, you’ll be the first “drag queen down” on the sidewalk holding your heels. And on that boulevard, it’s a sure bet you’ll quote Carrie Bradshaw and wind up with trichinosis once your fishnets hit that pavement.
kay, now we’re done with shoes. But what are shoes without a fabulous dress? Let’s assume you are not going as Wonder Woman or Effie Trinket from Hunger Games, my personal favorite costume ever. If you are, however, check out aah’s, Iguana, or any costume store. They’ll help. If you are not looking for a specialized costume and you just want to be Madonna playing the guitar – I know, millennials, … who? Uhh! If you just want to be girly, let’s hit Ross “Cross Dress” For Less. There are seven thousand in the LA area alone. Scour the racks. Gather a huge stack of your faves, and march over to the dressing room. YES, ladies! To the dressing room! “But, I’m a guy, trying on women’s clothes.”
“Big fucking whoop!” I say. This is Los Angeles. No one cares because it’s all about them. Repeat after me. It’s all about them! Feel better? Good. Now strip down to your delicates – you’re not wearing delicates? You gays are all alike. Then use the nylon footy from the shoe store and put junior and the twins away!
Once you’ve found the perfect fit for the perfect cheap-ass price, grab a bra and some high-waisted panties, as you walk off toward the register. For your first outing, undergarments are not as important. Later, you can refine this by adding a corset, girdle, or the proper bra size, etc. For now, whatever seems to fit will do. As for fake boobs, there are all types of easy ways to simulate breasts, like socks, birdseed (in a durable bag), or breast forms from the stripper store or sex shops in town. Oh, and grab some duct tape from your tool drawer for tucking. “What is tucking?” Google it or watch “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” No time to explain! We’re on the fast track for first-time drag queens. Besides, I’m off my heavy drinking schedule.
To distract me from liquor, it’s time for my favorite part. As some in WeHo know, I’m addicted to costume jewelry. I buy it everywhere, and I can never have enough. Now, it’s time for you to channel your inner Liz Taylor. The best place to buy costume jewelry is downtown LA in the fashion district. While we’re there, we’ll also pick up a prom dress for next year’s costume, a pair of sunglasses, and some fruit off of a cart. “Is this non-GMO?”
The very last thing on your list is makeup. Yes, Andy Williams, you said it right with your lyric, “When friends come to call.” People beg every year for me … and every drag queen I’m sure … to do their makeup. Truth is, I refuse. I am not a makeup artist. I do me. I cannot do your dream look. You want to look like Elvira? I don’t know how to do that. Norma Desmond? No clue. Detox in black and white, circa 2013? Huge nope! Looks like you’re it. So grab your smartphone, hit the YouTube app, and start your makeup lessons. I recommend Raja’s tutorials.
And here’s a cheap tip for new queens. Stop off at CVS or Rite Aid. Get yourself some Wet ‘n Wild eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, lip pencil, and nail polish. Go on. No one will judge. Oh, and some blush too. For foundation and loose powder, you will have to splurge a bit. Skip the mall and drug store. Instead, head to the valley to Cinema Secrets or Make-Up Designory (MUD) in Burbank. They will color match the foundation to your skin tone, and you can buy trial sizes. For big spenders, you can buy MAC. They only sell foundation, however, in one large size and at one store on Melrose at La Cienega. If your tutorial tells you to use brushes, any beauty supply store carries those. And, pick up a powder puff while there too.
Now I know what you’re doing. You’re adding all of this up. Wig, heels, dress, undergarments, jewelry, makeup, and makeup supplies. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching! And you haven’t even bought a purse to hold your liquor! Well, then. You are finally realizing something every … single … drag queen … in the world … says, “It’s expensive!” Or as Dolly Parton said, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” Exactly! And sometimes, even if you have the gigs, this job takes a toll on your Gucci wallet.
“So why do you and other queens do it, Ingenue?” you wonder. Because every time in drag … “is the most wonderful time of the year.” And you’re about to find out! HAPPY HALLOWEEN, queens, and welcome to my world!!!!