Reflections from a former diva......

These days I rarely have ye energy for drag--but there was a time, before I became a car owner, when I did my Boy George drag every day, when each day began with a morning ritual of makeup before heading off for work.  I was lucky indeed to find employment at restaurants that allowed me to dress in drag on the job, beginning with Cyclops Cafe.  Working at Cyclops changed my life in more ways than I cou'd have imagined.  It became one real link to the Seattle music scene, and that was important because as I grew older I went to less and less shows.  It was because I worked at Cyclops that I got to know members of my two favorite local bands, Nirvana and Soundgarden.  It was while I worked at Cyclops that I returned to the Mormon Church, and they allow'd me to celebrate my return with a photo exhibit, Mormon Fag, featuring brilliant giant-size photos of me in various drag shots taken by David Balisle.  One of the things I really miss, now, in my hermitage, is being an active part of the Seattle music scene.  Nothing felt more like home than being at a live gig--although one of the last times I went to a punk show I had to waddle out of the pit and take one of my nitroglycerin pills, as being knocked about by all of yem young thangs had a bit of an effect on my congestive heart failure.  I am so lacking in energy these days, and because I almost never do any socializing, I have started to toss out a lot of my drag.  I had a bunch of stuff in a plastic bag, ready to take out to the garbage can--but then I had a panic attack at the idea of tossing out my Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte lipstick, & had to retrieve it.  

It was great fun being a queer punk exhibitionist when I was riding public transport and walking downtown looking fabulous-ridiculous.  Part of it was being punk-rock confrontational, using my look and lifestyle to flip ye finger at societal decorum.  But here was the weird thing.  Outrageous as I looked, my personality was that of a very shy introvert.  I was always being picked on when I was a kid, by my parents for being such a weird sissy boy (my transvestite nature began when I was around five or six and used to play house with the neighborhood girls--and I always insisted on wearing a party dress just as they did), by kids at school because I was such a nerdy geek.  I was always being shoved into lockers or having my school books knocked out of my hold.  Being so tormented as a kid made me want to hide from the world, and so I took refuge in a passion for horror films.  Famous Monsters of Filmland was my gateway to wonder and happiness.  My love for monsters led me to my first job, where I was hired to dress up as a vampire and advertise the Jones' Fantastic Museum at the Seattle Center.  This was, naturally, the beginning of my love of exhibitionism, of dressing up and causing a scene in public.  It was only natural that, eventually, punk rock wou'd prove an inescapable lure.  

Growing old and having a car changed everything.  I seldom dress up, except when I do my videos on YouTube, or go out to social events with S. T. Joshi and our local weird fiction gang.  But sometimes, when I watch old videos of Boy George and see him looking especially outrageous, as in ye video above, my heart thumps with drag queen ecstasy and exhibitionist longing, and I find myself wanting to paint my face elaborately and go shopping.  It makes no sense, of course--there is no reasonable justification for exhibitionism.  It's just fun.  And, as Quentin Crisp once wrote, "Exhibitionism is a drug--you get hooked."  It's funny, sometimes in public, when people come up and want to know the "meaning" of my look.  I can only tell them, there is no meaning, I just need my transvestite fix.  Sometimes the reaction is hostile, like the businessman who asked me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  I replied, "Growing up is being who you want to be," to which he scowled.  

I wish I had more contact with the local drag queen scene, but being so anti-social, I simply never go out to local shows or gigs where queens hang out.  Being a queen is an essential part of my nature, and one that I adore.  It has always been a major part of my being since I was a wee kid.  It will remain so as I approach, more assuredly, geezerdom.

hanging with my favourite local queen, Jackie Hell.


  1. I think you're asocial rather than "anti-social."

  2. You are your own Fabulous Creation. Strong now in ye knowledge that who you were resulted in who you are and this you Now will be who you were in years to come. Enjoy being that you are. Once again Mr Pugmire, you are an inspiration both writerly and in person... as Barbra Streisand said - "You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it." How true. Thank you for being you. Have a happy Holiday Season Sir (we have our Yule celebrations next weekend). G. ;-)=


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