Monday, September 5, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Eighty-five

Day 85 - Unexpected Joy
I received an unusual invitation a couple days ago to attend a drag competition called “La Femme Magnifique” from dear friends who have been involved in the community for decades.  I didn’t know, really, what to expect - I had only been to one “coronation ceremony” in the past, and it was years ago in another state.  I didn’t know anything about this particular event.  All I knew was that I wasn’t going to miss it.
I had to hurry to get there, too.  I had spent part of my day on the Columbia River and needed time to get home, freshened up, dressed, have my dinner, and drive into downtown, and I only had about 90 minutes.  I made it.
As the event began, I saw the familiar sights of a drag show - men dressed and made up as women and lip synching to a variety of music, and most of the performers were quite good.  As the night progressed, it amazed me how much time, effort, expense, and dedication went into it.  Some of the gowns and costumes must have cost a fortune, and these ladies had obviously practiced their performances.  A lot.  
I understand most of these shows raise money for a multitude of charities, and the amount of money the various organizations around the world raise to help others is staggering.  Three charities were benefited tonight.  But few people outside this community are aware of anything except the fact that these beautiful women are actually men.
Yet who can blame them?  In some cases, you’d never know they were men if you saw these individuals on the street.  The riot of color, sparkle, energy and style were nothing short of brilliant.  Many women - and men - would do well to emulate the grace and tenacity of these incredible performers.
What impacted me the most wasn’t the enormity of the Showgirl costumes, or the glitter and workmanship of beads and sequins, or the finely-honed skill demonstrated in makeup or hairstyles.  It was the sheer joy of being on stage, being who they are, and celebrating this wonderful version of beauty that rocked that ballroom.  I can’t express in words how much I enjoyed this night, and I can’t wait until next year to witness it again.
My sincere thanks to Scott Warme and Cicely for including me in this amazing experience.

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