There is a dance club called Emerald City in Pensacola. It is a gay club, but on Sunday nights they have a special called "Drink & Drown." Pay one price ($8.00) to get in and drink for free until one a.m. Also on Sunday night is a drag show. Supposedly, a lot of straight people go there on Sunday night. My friends Matt and Alisha have been threatening to take me there for some time. We merely needed a Sunday with a holiday to follow. Yesterday was one of them, today being President’s Day.
Now, let me say up front that I am not a big fan of drag shows. I don't understand them...don't "get" them. Guys dressing up as girls and lip-synching to Diana Ross songs? Not my cup of Earl Gray. It’s like karaoke, only worse, if that is possible.
Apparently though, many straight guys are enamored with drag queens. (Isn't there even a very popular one in Las Vegas?) Me, I'll never understand the attraction from either angle. First of all, I cannot fathom why any guy would want to dress up as a woman. I throw on a pair of boxers, a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and some sneakers and I'm out the door. Women's clothing (not to mention makeup!) is...complicated...at least, as executed by high-fashion divas. I guess you could say I'm a typical guy: Too lazy to be a woman.
So anyway...we get there around 10:30 and the place was empty. Not a good sign. We ordered some Rum and Cokes and received the worst example I've ever tasted. Not exactly your top-shelf brands there. I believe it was some sort of synthetic rum and possibly some generic Coke-wannabe or Mr. Pibb. Dreadful. But did we stop drinking them? Hell, no, they were "free!"
The first drag show began promptly at 11:30. There were, maybe, 50 people in the audience. Three or four performers, all aging and heavyset, with big hair and bigger boobs. One had the name of Anna Rexia and she/he certainly wasn't...anorexic, that is. The first did the requisite Diana Ross number (and gay anthem, evidently), "I'm Coming Out." How original. Straight(?) guys crowded the stage, stuffing dollar bills into her faux-cleavage. And I kept thinking to myself, “Hey guys, it’s a MAN!”
The last performer was wearing a sequined backless dress, a little number that nicely accentuated her back muscles that would put any construction worker to shame. Not very ladylike!
By the start of the second show at one a.m., the place had become quite crowded. However, due to the copious consumption of the aforementioned “rum and cokes” we were too drunk to determine the makeup of the crowd. Maybe too drunk to care. But there sure didn’t seem to be all that many straight couples that came for the drag show.
The “ladies” took the stage again, but by this time we’d lost whatever fleeting interest we had. We didn’t meet or see anyone we knew, and the “party” atmosphere just wasn’t making it. The joint wasn’t jumpin’, in other words. Or maybe it was and we weren’t. Funny how that works sometimes. The it’s a goof thing wears off very quickly. “They” say that it’s more fun in the summer, when there are more tourists in town and the place is jam-packed. Maybe. I’ll have to take “their” word on that.
So we did the only thing we could do at that point: we followed the time-honored southern tradition and went to a nearby Waffle House to sober up before driving home. The Waffle House is where all the cool drunks go after partying! In fact, Matt observed that in Pensacola, if they outlawed booze the Waffle House chain might go bankrupt from the lack of after-hours business. (I just had coffee. I don’t know how people can eat those big, greasy meals at that hour of the morning.)
Anyway, that was our big gay night out. Obviously, there’s an aspect of this that eludes me.
This afternoon I flew the Boss up here to Birmingham, Alabama where he has to be for a couple of days. I’m stuck in a motel, bored, nothing to do, a rental car at my disposal and the company credit card in my wallet. I think I’ll go out and see what kind of Monday nightlife Birmingham has to offer. Full report to follow…just don’t expect any more drag queen stories. I’ve had my fill, thank you.