When I am the host for my show, 5 Truths and a Lie, I usually warm up the audience with a 1-2 minute story that has to do with the theme. So, the following is host material from our show “So That Happened. Embarrassing Moments and Other Things We’d Like to Forget.” Don’t be the grammar police with this once since this was a story spoken out loud to drunk people. Very nice drunk people.
When we picked the topic of embarrassing stories, we knew it was a no brainer in terms of having an entertaining evening laughing at other people. But we also realized, that at the heart of every embarrassing story is a little notch left on the psyche. An impact on the future. Were we able to make light of it or did it leave a little scar? Let me illustrate.
Most of my embarrassing moments usually leave a scar because I run them thru my head over and over again, especially ones that have to do with my height. I am, as you can see 6 feet tall. This is something I’m already insecure about, something I already obsess over ad nauseam.
In my 20’s, I always made it to call backs in my auditions. But when they started lining up the cast, I was always cut. God forbid a woman is taller than a man onstage. That depressed me greatly but eventually I started playing more character roles and I realized that was what I would have to do because I’m not gonna play the wife. So, I began playing incredibly fun character roles which led to me feeling a bit better about my physicality.
At this time, I worked for a murder mystery dinner theatre, as all actors in Florida do at least once. We had an overnight show which is where we are hired to go out of town and perform a murder mystery. We stay at a hotel and then come home. So, we drove from Orando to West Palm Beach to do our show. The show was alright and we were done by 5 o clock.
Now 3 of us wanted to go out. Tommy, Alan and myself. So Tommy whipped out his Gay USA Club Guide to see where the gay bars in Palm Beach were. (this was before smart phones, maybe even before Google). Tommy found 2. One was a bar and one was a club. So we pooled all our per diem money and we were gonna hit the bar first and then the club. Tommy and Alan got all dressed up. I did not, because I was just along from the ride. I was wearing tank top and jeans and I still had my show make up on from playing the socialite Lady Donna.
We show up at this bar and it’s a dive bar. Tommy and Alan immediately abandoned me to go talk to some guy. So I got a beer and I was just walking around by myself. I walked out back where they had a patio bar. The bartender stared at me for some reason with the most judgey eyes I’d ever seen so I turned around to avoid him. Then, with my back turned to him, he yells, I mean really yells to me across the bar “You ain’t fooling no one, Drag Queen.”
I freeze and feel shivers up and down my body. Every single person in the patio bar stops what they are doing and looks at me, stares at me. Absolute silence in the whole place. Then I turn around. And when I did, it became obvious to the bartender that I was a woman. So he says nonchalantly, “oh sorry.” And turns around and starts working, everyone goes back to their conversations. It was forgotten in seconds. But not for me. I’m still standing there. All alone. With 25 years of body issues reigniting and settling in for a lifetime.
I tell this story all the time hoping at one point that I’ll only see humor in it. Not body image issues. I haven’t reached that point yet but maybe I’m a little closer after sharing with you.