Last weekend was one of the biggest of the year for me: it was the Pacific Rim Curling League’s (read: Vancouver Queer Curling League) annual curling bonspiel (tournament) at the Vancouver Curling Club. To all those that are unfamiliar to the sport, all you do is throw heavy 40 lb stones down the ice, sweep them till they end up where they’re supposed to, then head upstairs for a pitcher of beer with the opposition. You can also drink before, during, and after depending on the club, but that’s for the true hardcore hoosiers.
You see, curling is something that runs very deep in Canadian culture. In fact, most small towns on the prairies will have a curling rink before a hockey rink – it literally is the centre of town! Canadian gays love curling because it is all about socializing and drinking, oh and a bit of sweeping and physical exertion… not much though. In fact, there’s a bit of a gay curling circuit (who knew right?) where participants from gay leagues in large cities across Canada travel from gay bonspiel to gay bonspiel drinking, curling, socializing, and partying their way through. It’s a lot of fun – in fact I’m headed to the Calgary bonspiel for the first time over Easter long weekend so I’ll report back on how that goes!
Anyway, back to last weekend. So, we ended up winning a few games at the outset and remained in the A division! The whole team gelled together and played great! Then, as soon as it switched to sudden death where as soon as you lose and you’re out, we had the worst game ever. Which, coincidentally, happened to be the one game that all of our friends came and watched. I think each of us made one shot that entire time. We didn’t really have any excuses either; we’d all napped before our Saturday night game, Kieran had had his usual couple of gin and tonics before he headed out onto the ice (he says it loosens him up? I don’t know…) and we just stank up the place.
Fast forward to later that night: Everyone had already had a few hours headstart on the beer, but I think we caught up quickly enough. On the dancefloor the drag queen hosts (yes, our curling bonspiel has drag queens host it) announced that their show was to begin, however they needed three “randomly picked” teams to help them out. And surprise! Our team was called.
I had absolutely no idea what was in store as the four of us waited on stage to see what was going to happen. In the end, we were told we had to compete to play “Drag in a Bag”. Basically we were given 10 minutes to make-over one of our team members (my team chose me) into full drag with everything from fake eyelashes, eyeliner, pantyhose, dress, wig, and strappy heels (that didn’t fit my fat feet!). I had never done drag before, it was completely new to me. I was absolutely mortified having to get changed on stage in front of everyone. Keep in mind, the dress was a one-size fits all – a big blue polyester mess. Thankfully we belted it to give me a bit of a figure.
After my 10 minute transformation and during my walk around I remember thinking “WTF am I doing!!!?? Why isn’t Kieran doing this!!??” But alas, it was too late for that. We ended up having to not only walk around “work it”, but also perform a song that we would be given by picking a random number. Seriously. What if they gave me Anne Murray or some showtune from the 60s!!?? That’s all I was thinking sitting up there waiting for my turn (I picked last). Well, that and how trashy the other two contestants were. One of them showed her thing (it was pierced) about six times, the other was simulating oral sex with two half naked male dancers gang-banging her on stage. So, I sat there wide-eyed, cross legged, with my hands on my knees waiting my turn, my heart literally beating out of my chest. It was my turn. I took my microphone to the stage and then I heard it. Sweet music to my ears. The call of the gay 2009. ALL THE SINGLE LADIES! I could totally do this. So I decided to just work it hard Beyonce-style: no trash, just class and sass. And, with a little help from my teammates, I ended up winning the competition and becoming Queen for the Night! I also have to thank my friends who were there for their support, I was completely petrified but it made a huge difference having them there as my cheering squad! It was heinous, hideous fun.
I don’t know if I’ll rush back to do drag, but I did have a lot of fun with it and I know I made Shelita Buffet proud. We had a moment as she was helping me remove my eye-liner and blush. As she passed me the cold cream I could see the twinkle in her eyes, “You were amazing,” she said. And that’s all I needed.
Look out Calgary!