Saturday, April 05, 2008

What a Drag

So, a week from tonight, I'm going out in public for the first time wearing a dress. be honest, I'm not super excited. Kinda freaked out.

Drag has not really ever been something I had a particular interest in doing, and don't worry -- I'm not starting. But Portland has an annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser called Red Dress PDX, and apparently it is the party of the year. (Or, so I'm told.) It's a party, just like any other party, except that no one, regardless of gender, gets in without a red dress on. Period.

Now, most guys don't do full drag. (I've seen the pictures from last year.) No wigs, no makeup, no shaved legs or chests or stuffed brassieres. You just go as yourself. In a dress.

Of course I support the mission, but I wasn't really sure I wanted to do this. My friends said, "But you have to go," and I said, "Well, I'll think about it." And then later I said, "You know, I just don't think I can afford it right now."

So, they bought my ticket.

Last weekend we went shopping for our gowns. My rule: I'm not spending more than $20 on a dress that I will never wear again. (Except maybe next year, if this party's any good.) It was harder than I thought it would be.

For one thing, even though Hillary Clinton looks fantastic in red, stores don't seem to be following her lead. There just aren't a lot of red dresses out there. Oh, and then, it turns out, I am what might be termed a big girl. I mean, how many six-foot, 190 pound women do you know?

We hit a couple of stores downtown last Saturday. If you think wearing a dress in public is intimidating, try shopping for one. "Hello, I'd like to try this on," is quite possibly the most difficult sentence I've ever had to utter. But there was hardly anything that was actually red, in my size and in my price range. I found one cute little thing at the Cross Dress for Less on 3rd, and while it fit okay in the waist, my shoulders were too big and we couldn't zip the thing up. "Oh, just go like that, it's fine," said Darren. Yeah, right.

We even went over to Lloyd Center and lived to tell about it. We stopped in at one place that specializes in bridesmaid and prom dresses for women with no taste and the salesgirl was enthusiastic. "Are you going to that party?" she asked. So we knew we had come to the right store. As perfect as some of the gowns might have been (oh, that long strapless number with the sparkly top and the slit up the leg!) and as friendly as the salesgirl was, I had to say, "Honey, I'm sorry, I'm not really in a position to spend $200 on a dress." I struck out.

This morning I decided I would try again. I woke up early, thinking I could get to the stores before most people were out and about, which would minimize the awkwardness, and it was a good call. K-Mart and Target had nothing (WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE AGAINST THE COLOR RED???), but at Kohl's on Canyon Road I found what I was looking for.

This was $8.

Now, it's hard to tell from this photograph what the proportion is. It looks like it might fit Jane Eaglen, but in fact, no, it is very, very, very, very very short. But it fits where it needs to and is just long enough. Fortunately, I have great legs. : )

I had no intention of accessorizing, but it occurred to me when I got it home that the darn thing doesn't have any pockets. The wallet and car keys have to go somewhere. (No, not there.) So I guess I have to go buy a purse now.



Jere said...

A friend of mine is one of the organizers of this event. I've seen pictures of past Red Dress parties and it does look like quite the do. Hope you have a great time...I've always wanted to go.

little-cicero said...

I must say, I find this disappointing and reprehensible.

Look at the size of those gaudy sequins! (that's what he said :) Not to mention the horribly unflattering effect of that square neckline- please tell me you aren't wearing pearls with this!

P.S. I was trying to think of what color of bra to recommend for this outfit, but I honestly don't think there's any hope for you. Good luck.

Princess said...

Oh Lord... Dare I ask what shoes you are going to wear?

Faustus, M.D. said...

I think you should have sewn your own dress in pink, just like Carrie White before the prom.

Anonymous said...

Oooo. No square-neck housecoats please. I wonder if the intent of the mirrors is to draw the focus away from the cut?

Please oh please... change out the size number if you must.

Andy said...

I think I'm just wearing tennis shoes. Won't that be snazzy?

I don't care what it looks like. It fits and I could afford it.

Anonymous said...

Puhleese, no tennis shoes. You've already spent a great deal of time and effort to find the right dress (and within your budget!). So, take the $12 that you have saved and get the shoes to go with it. I think that this calls for pumps!

Princess said...

My question is how are you getting to this event? Will you be walking out your front door and hopping into the car in this little red number? I think you had better wear tights or leggings with this... that will be good with the tennis shoes and give you a measure of modesty (unless you are wearing boxers with ruffles).

little-cicero said...

The only thing that says "I don't care what you think of me" more than wearing a dress is wearing a dress with tennis shoes. Go for it!

kr said...

I like the boxers with ruffles idea ;). But actually, they almost always have some version of black boxers with red hearts at Freddy's, which might be both cheeky enough and decent enough--and color-cordinated ;)! Although, choosing a dress that(!) short ... are you SURE you aren't enjoying this, just a little, subconsciously ;) ?

AND, it's not true that you have never done drag. love, although technically I suppose you weren't wearing a dress ... a dress would have provided more coverage, Mr. I-have-great-legs!

My initial reaction was, though, that it's time for a trip to Goodwill--for the purse and maybe shoes! The Goodwill on SE Grand (the official address I think says SE 7th or something) has their shoes sorted by color and a very extensive purse section.

The bitty purses and wallet-ey things are in wire baskets across the aisle from the hanging purses. You probably want a clutch (no handle, can look pretty much like a wallet, sometimes comes with a wrist-strap) or a handbag (short handle, you have to hold it or dangle it from your wrist) rather than a purse (which I presume will feel entirely foreign--you will spend the entire night being bumped by it and having other people bump into you because you don't realize how far your "hip" sticks out). A cell-phone case often has room to slide your cards and a few cash bills in with the phone, and if you stay aware of pickpockets you can clip your keyring to it, too.

That Goodwill has a large selection of red shoes (if the party is next week I'm sure they are a little low right now, but worth a try), including lots of flats. Or it might be fun to pick up a pair of those ridiculous patent-leather "tuxedo" shoes and wear some really good formal socks--perhaps with those little man-sock-suspenders (she giggles)--super cheeky ;)!

My fabulousity instincts (which as you know are a bit hyped recently ;) ) are SCREAMING for more ... but although my inner gay man would relish the opportunity to be your stylist ;), I know you don't relish the prospect of any such thing (party pooper ;) ), so I'll quit before I leap fully into the realm of the ridiculous :).

lu :)!

Andy said...

AND, it's not true that you have never done drag.

HEY! I thought we agreed that what happens in 8th grade stays in 8th grade.

No, I'm not doing shoes.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure it is a dress? I looks kind of like a shirt... =)

Will we be treated to a photo of you in the dress?


PS If you were Lindsey Lohan you would wear this with leggings =)

Crash said...

Throw on a pair of tights and you'll be Elaine Stritch.

kr ;) said...

Now I'm trying to rember what I did in 8th grade that I might regret having made public ... Great, one more thing to worry about ;)! It was a well done costume, though :).

Gino said...

not just tennis shoes.
that dress is crying out for black converse chuck's.

Hot Toddy said...

"Poor people are so clever. I wonder why they can't figure out how to make more money."

Blame Karen Walker for that quote, not me.

Seriously, I hope you have a great time. People are still talking about the hot Asian number I wore (with black "man sandals") in 2005! I won't tell you what they're saying, but they're talking about it :)

Jade said...

You are posting pictures, right?



Andy said...

Gino: I took your advice and bought some Converse sneakers. Not black high-tops, but red All Stars. Stylin'.

Also today I picked up an emerald green sateen purse with a silver and rhinestone clasp. Excellent.

Anonymous said...

You are such a phony, and utterly transparent. You're totally into this. I see you accessorizing with the right glasses and a handful of gladiolas and - VIOLA! - the next generation Dame Edna ist geboren.

DJRainDog said...

Andy, I'm utterly puzzled. WHY would you DELIBERATELY go to what's meant to be "the party of the year" looking BAD?! Attention to detail is EVERYTHING! Remember that cutie who got busted for going to a Hallowe'en party (dressed as a fairy) in Worcester, MA (ugh) when he was supposed to be at a family emergency in New York? He looked good, because he made an effort. I'd have taken him home from that party, and...Well, no, you're right, I wouldn't be in Worcester for love nor money. (Well, maybe for an awful lot of money...)

Andy said...

DJ: this presumes that there is some reasonable expectation that I could ever look good in a dress. I mean, the dress itself is kind of horrible, but the fit is okay and it will be trashy-short (which, um, I think is maybe the point of the party?) and I think the Converse sneakers will be self-awarefully ironic. I mean, to my mind, there's not a lot of point to putting major effort into this. "Lipstick on a pig" is the phrase that comes to mind.

kr said...

Andy Andy Andy ... you are so silly.

If the people who see you from the outside (a few of us here) think you look better than you here advertise: we might be right. Plus "Charles" thinks you have potential, so there!

DJRainDog said...

kr's right. I mean, let's not forget, the first time we saw each other (on the escalator going up at the 181st St. A stop), I was totally cruising you.