As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been challenged to create a drag king persona. Last night I spent some time playing with my image and seeing what sort of character started to emerge from that process.
I bound my chest with ace bandages, which was painful and uncomfortable and found that I had to wear baggy clothes to cover what remained of my bosom, as I am rather a buxom lass. I had a collection of men’s clothes to choose from (all my husbands), but the only pants I could get around my hips were track pants (aka sweat pants). When I tried a collared business shirt, tie, vest and jacket, I looked like a kid on his first day of high school who would probably earn the name “briefcase wanker” (for fans of The Inbetweeners). In my mind I wanted to look like Jedward…. that wasn’t going to happen.
I have long hair right now, and I don’t intend to cut it, so my options for male-looking hair are limited to pushing my real hair forward and wearing a hat or donning a wig. I have one cheap men’s wig, which I have difficultly fitting over my hair. I tried both…
First I pushed my hair forward and found one of my husband’s hats which covered the back of my neck so my hairline was not visible. I wore grey track pants, a black T-Shirt and a patterned shirt over the top. The button up top layer was to cover my breasts a little more, because they were still quite obvious. I used dark brown eye shadow to fill in and lengthen my eyebrows and darkened under my eyes slightly.
After I was dressed, I tried to role play a character and see what felt right for the look. What emerged was a teenage boy, of about 15 or 16, who was home from school and bothering his mother (my husband) for dinner. He is very interested in the possibility of owning a jet ski in the near future and thinks his mother is over protective and obsessed with finding out if he is doing “all the drugs”. He lives in my home town and goes to the local private boys’ school. He might have a girl friend at the adjacent girls’ school, but he’s not sure and he hasn’t decided if he wants to change his facebook status yet. His family have a very old cat that has been around since before he was born, and he is afraid that it will die soon. He hates drama club, but his mum makes him do it. He wants a jet ski.
This version of Claus came relatively easy to me. He felt much like a version of me if I had grown up a male, mixed with the personalities of some of my students from when I was teaching high school. I found that I had to relax my face, keep my eyes half closed, and try not to smile to maintain the feeling of embodying this male persona. Every time I widened my eyes or cracked a smile, I felt like it would be an obvious tell.
Next, I tried the suit and that was a huge failure. It was very awkward and everything was either too small or too big. I returned to the track pants and put on a navy blue sweater. I tried my brown wig and felt like I needed facial hair to look older. My husband dutifully shaved his head (he was due for a trim anyway), so that I could have some hair to stick to my face. I chopped up the pieces of hair, but got a little impatient as you can probably tell from the photo. I was just going to give myself some side burns and maybe a thin beard, however I got carried away trying to imitate my Dad’s beard and ended up with a pointy goatee and full mustache. If nothing else, the beard was incredibly itchy and felt disgusting. Men with beards must feel like they have a hairy mouth all the time.
The facial hair did make me look a little older, maybe late teens or early 20s, however I could only maintain that if, again, I kept my face relaxed and didn’t smile. In the photos where I’m smiling, I look far to twinkly to pass for male. I darkened my eyebrows to match the facial hair and gave myself darker rings under the eyes. The wig was so ill-fitting that I wore a baseball cap to secure it down. Overall I didn’t feel comfortable in this image, and the added time it takes to remove the facial hair felt like a hassle. My husband remarked that my complexion was too clear for someone of that age; it seems like a 15 year old with easy access to proactive solution is probably a better persona for me.
Claus troFauxbia is taking shape, but I absolutely prefer being Agorafauxbia!