So, a week from tonight, I'm going out in public for the first time wearing a dress.
Yeah...to 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.