One summer when I was about 13 years old, my friend F and I decided to go into a Preppy Store, USA at our local mall. You have to understand a few things before getting too judgmental, here. First off, I lived in a hole in the ground with jack squat to do in the summer. We both came from crazy households, so whenever possible we skedaddled out of the house as fast as we could. I usually worked at my uncle’s pizza shop on weekends, so whenever my friends wanted to hang it, it was on weekdays. Pools were crowded weekdays and F worked at the local pool, anyway, she really didn’t want to go there. The mall, then, was my personal savior throughout most of my teenage life, especially a Punk Store, USA and the arcade. Having been to Punks ‘r Us and the arcade, F and I got bored (as most teens tend to be), and we decided to check out this foreign concept known as “popular fashion”. In a Preppy Clothes Shoppe, we were subjected to holy garments of Barbie’s disciples: young ladies’ skirts shorter than your boy-cuts, paired with a modest, over-sized sweater, all light pastel colors. Not a drop of black to be found. Not a single pair of pants other than “petite”. No skulls, band shirts, or ironic crucifixes. Truly, the girl’s department was a depressing place.
Then I got an idea. An idea that could only come from the awkward, closet bisexual teenage punk at the Preps Ahoy, USA .
These gals’ clothes are shit. Why not try the guys’ stuff?
Here, my friends, was the day I discovered that men’s pants are super comfy. F was not taking a liking to her outfit and asked for me to walk out. After a minute of gawking at me, she mustered a confused, blushing “wow”. Here, my friends, we learned that men could be just as pretty as women. Women, too, can be just as handsome as men. It was this day I discovered drag and how good it felt.
High school became a lot more interested for onlookers who took note of my daily appearances after this day. For the most part, I was (and still am) a jeans ‘n tee person. Nothing too fancy 3 of the 5 days of the week beside the occasional gruesome metal band shirt. Buuuuuut, I’d sometimes come to school dressed up from head to toe. I’d have a dress and heels, hair in a bun and make up set to “stun”. I’d wear a woman’s suit on days I had speeches or performances or a really hard test. I’d have my super Goth/punk/teenage jail bait/black ‘n pink days with skirts and combat boots and fishnets. I saved this look for the days after a friend or me was bullied. It was a simple act of "I give no fucks, deal with it", just enough to piss those bullies off ten-fold.
And then there were days that got people confused.
The ensemble could be described as shabby-chic with hints of punk. Neckties were a must. This look was never complete without it. I either donned my red slender tie or my black wide tie with the olive green skull. This went over my button down white top and tee shirt. The jeans had to be slender, but not skinny: otherwise, it would lose the androgeny. Hair pulled pack, make up optional, cheap jewelry if wanted. This was my trade mark look, the look that let everyone know I was out of the closet and unafraid to say it. This was the look that showed my friends and I were proud , regardless if we were “different” or “weird” or, quite simply, “those freaks from anime club that sometimes kiss each other”. It was, in a word, me.
Then the funniest thing happened to me: I went to college. More specifically, I spent two years of my life isolated in an accelerated program, away from the typical fun side of college. Although I was happy to not deal with the frats and kids who never had a drink or smoke in their life, I missed being about to interact with the world outside the professional. I said goodbye to the neckties and the over-the-top Goth looks. I was a modified version of myself, still having multiple piercings and openly criticizing the overbearing all-white dress code (I’m not fucking kidding. We could only wear white shoes, white socks and white pearl earrings. My brief career in Catholic school was less strict than this bullshit in college). But at this point in my life, I was not a mature Sam. Between the stress from school and a relationship on the rocks, I suppressed a lot of feelings. I never really talked about my sexuality to my college friends, and when I did it was dismissed easily. I started drinking more because I lived in a house that never slept. At first, I only had a drink or two a night, but it got out of control on weekends and when we had lots of people over. I had to suppress my desire to love freely for the sake of my ex-boyfriend at the time. He had been angry with me and punched a refrigerator the one time I spoke with him about it. I was too afraid to bring it up again. So instead of doing to adult thing and try to communicate again, I immaturely defiled our relationship. It was a horrible thing to do, but at the time, I thought it was justified; that was the only option to break free from my suppressed mind. Being thrown out of the apartment and losing a few good friends, though, gave me an opportunity to start anew. Another year and a half later, I felt more like my old, Sammy Self again.
And it’s here that you stumbled upon me. Day 5 of sobriety and ready to move on from rock bottom. So what does a lousy college experience and break up have to do with drag anyway?
Well, having overcome this depressive episode of my life, I need a new hobby that isn’t binge drinking. I decided, then, to do things that make me happy. I’m currently knitting a pair of gauntlets and I’m cooking all the meals I used to make before my Kung Fu classes. I even started working out again! But there was something missing in my routine. Something I've falsely convinced myself I no longer needed. Something that I left at the apartment and have no desire to retrieve.
My beloved neckties.
This minor detail isn't going to hold me back from experimenting with my potential innner-entertainer… Oh hell no! Like all those bullies at school that made fun of my looks, I’m coming back from my depression stronger than ever. I want to defy the lines of gender – NO! I want to break down the barrier of gender and make people question its relevance in today’s world and the world of the future. I want to have more girls like F and more men who can change their perception of beauty. I want to be in the drag king community. I did test out the concept of my look (the character is Jerry Bomb) but it is by no means perfected. Now I have a few goals lined up to complete in the next few month. I shall, of course document it all.
1) Improve my contouring makeup skills
2) Learn how to use spirit gum
3) Bind those tits
4) Find a good necktie
Here's the look I did in about 5 minutes (with a necktie taken from my dad)
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