Drag kings don't get half the press that their male to female counterparts do so it was interesting to see that The F Word ran a piece recently about a drag king workshop right here in London. Holly Combe spent an afternoon wandering the capital dressed as a man and reveals all in a lengthy article that first tackles the subject via recommended reads and simple observation:
Just consider clothing. Traditionally "male" apparel such as trouser suits tend to be seen as respectable for either gender or, most commonly, simply neutral. In contrast, female costume is imbued with the power to provoke a variety of strong and conscious reactions. A woman who puts on a short skirt or wears a lot of make-up is often presumed by onlookers to be more sexually available and less politically aware than one who wears trousers. A man who puts on any kind of skirt or make-up automatically lays himself open to sweeping assumptions about his gender identity; not seen as a "real man". In contrast, a woman who wears trousers and/or no make-up, however, is usually still viewed as a woman. It may seem more straightforward on the face of it but it seems that it’s actually masculinity, as we know it, which is the real enigma within the gender conundrum.
Good to know that there are people out there thinking about this kind of thing as opposed to where exactly that bottle went the other night on Channel Four.
Once the exercises and roll play were out of the way Holly took to her new persona so well that she stayed in character even after the day's course was over:
I took the journey from Kentish Town to a friend’s place in full drag. Jo (who accompanied me for part of it, along with Jenny) had changed back into her original clothes but retained her facial hair and no one on the tube reacted. When I arrived at the station and waited, the only dubious or threatening look I got was when a bloke who I could imagine enjoying darts and pies stared at me with a glazed expression that seemed to be a mixture of sexual acknowledgement and disgust and the lad behind him said "is that a woman?" Everyone else acted normally. I even got asked for directions so I must’ve been blending in to some extent.
Holly found her way into fake facial hair and got tips on 'packaging' (a sock filled condom can be used as a flaccid penis. I made one up and then used another pair of socks as my somewhat oversized testicles) via Club Wotever. Any of our more feminine readers who fancy seeing how the other half live (or at least strut around for an afternoon) should make with the clicky.