Several months ago, I committed to doing a drag performance for the annual softball leagues Switch Hitters' Ball. The Switch Hitters' Ball is an annual fundraiser where a member of each softball team is nominated to do a drag number, some choose to do it and others don't. I had never done drag and thought, "How hard could it be?" As the day started approaching closer and closer, I was getting more and more nervous about actually pulling of a drag number. One of my biggest fears is performing or getting up in front of a large crowd, I don't know what it is but I get butterflies and my palms get sweaty.
I had decided if I was going to do a drag number I wanted it to be a song I loved and I wanted a song where I could emulate the singer and pay tribute to them in some way. I know many of you think that singer would be Madonna, but I decided to go with a more current upcoming diva by the name of Rihanna that had, oh a little song last year called "Umbrella." I went online and bought a black wig that looked like Rihanna's hair and an official Rihanna umbrella from her Totes collection.
The Switch Hitters' Ball was on Saturday night and the Wednesday prior to the event, I did not even have the music mixed, I had less than half my outfit purchased, and I had not even practiced my routine once. I was feeling anxious about the whole thing and I pretty much was going to bail. I did verbally say to a few people that I was not going through with it. By Friday, I felt pretty bad about committing to performing and then backing out. Last year’s winner and my close friend, Jase, talked me down off the ledge and the day of the event we went shopping for an outfit. The shopping part was interesting; I had never bought woman's clothes before. I bought tiny little booty shorts and decided to take a white men's dress shirt and tie the front in a knot. Jase and I then found this really cool lace skirt and a vinyl short jacket almost immediately in a costume shop near Haight-Ashbury. The girls in the store were a ton of fun helping me out and they were getting a kick out of us gathering items for the event. After picking out a few other small accessories we were good to go and I was feeling more confident about the performance, except for one small detail.....I needed shoes!
I have size ten feet and I needed to find high heel shoes that I could fit in. I needed a woman's size 12! We looked all over and almost gave up when we decided to go to Target... our last option. We ran into the shoe department and saw the largest size was only a size 11 - but I saw a pair with 3 inch heels that might work. I tried them on but there was no way I could walk in them - I don't know how women do it! So then I found a smaller heeled shoe and BAM - they fit like a glove. Now, picture this... I am in Target trying on woman's shoes with my friend Jase prancing up and down the aisle to see if I can walk in them, young families were looking at me horrified and covering their children's eyes. It was pretty embarrassing, but I needed a pair of heels!
Jase was also performing at the Switch Hitters' Ball. As last year's winner, he came back to show everyone how it's done. We arrived a bit early to start getting ready and I couldn't believe how much time it takes to get ready to do drag. We had to put on all this makeup and fix the wigs and make sure the outfit was perfect - it was insane. Now, before everyone did their act, each performer had to get out on stage to show themselves AS men before they transformed themselves into women! There were only THREE of us doing a solo number and I was shocked... out of over 40 softball teams, only three of us had the balls to get up on stage in front of a few hundred people and put on a show. There were other people that did group performances as well, but only three brave souls were going to take the stage alone... and I was one of them!
I didn't have high hopes for actually pulling off looking good, but I was going to give it a great effort. Jase helped me apply the makeup and then I just went to town and really embodied Rihanna. After all was said and done, I looked at myself in the mirror and I was shocked! I had pulled off the look, but now I had to pull off the performance. After getting confident about getting on stage, it turned out that one of the other performers was also doing the same song!! I was so pissed. So, I decided if there are two of us doing the same song that I wanted to go out first.
Above: Cody telling me the news about someone else also doing Umbrella.
After Jase performed "When I Grow Up" by the Pussycat Dolls to introduce this year’s contestants, I was ready to take the stage. As I started to go on stage, the DJ told me the CD that I gave him with my music on it was not playing; the CD ended up being corrupt! SHIT! SO I had no music. So I was scrambling to think how I could get my music. Even though there was someone else performing the same song, I couldn't use the person's personal mix that he had made for the show. So thankfully, Jase had the song on his iPod and the DJ pulled the song from there.
Once everything was ready to go, I just went for it. I took the stage and just thought about the music. All I could see were bright lights and I just put on a show. It was a blast! Everything went off without a hitch, for the most part, and the crowd went wild. It was pretty awesome and I felt pretty amazing that I followed through with it, conquered one of my fears, and succeeded at doing drag for the first time.
After the show was over, there was some controversy over judging. I was clearly the crowd favorite, but a few of the judges on the panel were close friends of one of the other contestants. My softball team had won two years in a row and I think there were a few bitter judges who did not want a trifecta. I knew that was going to happen, but I wasn't trying to win the damn thing, I just wanted to see if I could pull it off. The crowd was in an uproar that I didn't win and even a few of the other judges were irate about it, but I was still happy. I felt I was a winner for just having the balls to get on stage. This was probably some of the most fun that I have ever had and I would do it again for sure.
The three biggest critics that I had - who I knew would give me honest feedback - were Kyser, Ryan, and Paul. All three of them were extremely impressed and excited about my performance. Thanks guys for supporting and pushing me to do this over the past several weeks!
Pretty much everyone on my softball team was there to support me and it was great to have the Pups rooting for me. I have some amazing friends in my life. After all was said and done - I did win $50.00 AND I got $80.00 in tips. So that's $130.00 for doing a four-minute drag performance. I think I might quit my day job for this!