I loosened my grip on the razor as blood appeared around my ankles where I had nicked it. Shaving's a bitch. "Why am I doing this again?" I wondered.
"You're crossing a line." Said my brother Tye. I told him about this costume party we were having for our batch, and my plan to come in drag. But the more friends reacted negatively, the more curious I became. What's the big deal exactly? I was bent on finding that out as I got ready for the Senior's Ball.
A make-up artist friend volunteered to do my hair, and promised to lend me a gown. She was a regular fixture in gay pageants and she knew her thing. Initially I thought of the idea of coming in drag as a joke, but after I told her, she jumped up and down excitedly at her new project. She was going to turn me from a "duckling to a swan".
We live in a society that marginalizes gay people- the more effeminate you are, the more people will think of you as "weak" or "superficial". My intention was to prove that no matter what one wears, or how one walks, or how one talks,it has little to do with what's inside- a person's character and substance. In my case I wanted to show that nothing has changed- I am still the same person, no less. Not even 1/4 inch thick make-up or four-inch heels will make me drop my IQ points or berate my personhood.
As usual, I thought, if I am to do this, I better do it right. If I looked like a walrus in a dress, then by no means am I going to parade like that in public. Yeah, that's the vain me speaking. So anyway I began with the basics: remove all body hair from legs to armpits so that I don't look like some deranged cavewoman.
As I stood in front of the mirror, I was amazed how long and slim my legs looked. Regularly they were covered under tufts of hair and all, so I didn't quite expect that. I slipped into silver 4 inch sandals and tried walking. Nice. But once in a while I'd trip, causing my ankle to sprain a little bit.
I put on sweatpants and quickly cleaned my room, then left for a friend's place, where the transformation would continue.
I was given three gowns to choose from: a white halter, a lime green serpentine gown, and a purple gown with a thigh-high slit. My female friends helped me dress up as they took turns in having their faces done. My oh my, they fit alright, but my shoulders were too big I looked like a Linebacker. My friend Aya lent me her dress which was a relatively modest empire cut dress with sleeves.
My friend kept making jokes as she did my face- there was a brownout and she was forced to apply make-up in candlelight. She said they needed to prepare formalin because of the way I looked- reclined on a chair while a friend held a candle before me. Finally, the accessories were worn, and as a finishing touch- two rolled up socks placed on either side of my chest for breasts.
While we were in the car on the way to the hotel, I could hear my heart beating. Oh my, I was actually going to be seen in public looking like this, I almost panicked! Finally, I took a deep breath and just stepped out of the car into the street and then the hotel lobby. As we entered the ballroom, jaws dropped. I couldn't quite hear a thing because people were shrieking and taking pictures. Well, for one night only, why not revel in my outfit? As I thought, it wasn't really that big a deal. I made jokes and laughed with friends. Dressing up in drag wasn't the end of the world, that's for sure.
As I paused for a bit in my seat I had another thought- the essence or substance of everything really goes beyond what our two eyes can see. The essence of a woman isn't in the long legs or beautiful breasts. It is the role that she plays as a daughter or wife or mother that makes her who she is. She nurtures, she cares, and she loves- that's what makes her a woman. Similarly some people blindly measure their happiness through ITRs and bank accounts, big houses or nice clothes, as opposed to having great relationships and a growing maturity. And in the same way, a student nurse isn't measured for the number of medals he or she earned, but in the dedication and the quality of care that is rendered to their patients.
Suddenly, in that room filled with loud and giddy BS Nursing graduates, I learned an unexpected lesson. Days later, I laughed like crazy as they uploaded the photos of the Senior's Ball. We really did have fun that night. I was a little embarrassed at those who took pictures of my boxers peeking from my skirt- another lesson, when one wears a skirt the legs must always be pressed together. Hahaha! Oh well, who cares? I got nice legs.