I first developed the concept of “teacher drag” when I was a Senior in college. I was a RA at the time, and one early morning, as I got in the elevator to go to my teaching observation, one of my favorite residents happened to be in the elevator as well. She took one look at me, and in a sleepy voice said, “You look very…. Republican.”
I laughed and told her to go get some sleep. As I glanced down at my outfit– a floral print dress with a black sweater, “sensible” shoes, and a matching earring and necklace set–I realized that she was right. I essentially was dressed like a young Laura Bush*.
Throughout the next 2 years of teaching observances and practicums, I found myself picking up less animal print dresses and more flowery dresses. I started wearing a set of pearls from my parents. I purchased black and brown shoes instead of my usual neons and prints.
I traded in my youthful college closet for a closet of teacher drag. Like many drag queens before me, I have acquired many tools and tricks of the trade for my performance. I have a specific brand of fake nails I use. I know what shades of eyeshadow make me look kind/ sweet/innocent, or totally stern and witchy. I know adding bangs to my appearance can confuse my audience for days. The hairspray I use depends on the humidity levels predicted for that day’s performance. Adding a blazer to my outfit can change my aura completely, depending on if it’s a solid or a pattern. My shoes can make or break a performance, and the way I style my hair determines how– or if– my audience will heckle me.
In other words, as my homeboy Willie Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
As I’ve previously mentioned, I recently obtained my first full-time teaching job. It means being more adult-like, having a full-time salary, and giving off the illusion that I’m a full fledged adult.
So, I went teacher drag shopping yesterday.
I went to Macy’s, partially because I like some of their clothing, but mainly because I used to work there and I knew where all of the good clearance racks would be hidden.
I dug and I dug in the racks. I decided, since I was using the Macy’s charge card I was forced to open when I worked at the store anyways, that I could stop being frugal for a moment and actually splurge on a few key components of my teacher drag closet. After all, every drag queen deserves a few pieces that make her sparkle and shine, right?
A few hours later, I sashayed away with three shirts, a new dress, and two awesome blazers to really make me sparkle and shine.
I made a quick stop at Payless, where I quickly found 3 pairs of “sensibly cute” shoes.
Finally, today, I got the finishing touches to my teacher drag kit: my teacher bag. Every diva needs someplace to store her tricks, and while clothes, wigs, and makeup won’t be going into my bag, for the most part, my bag will still be what I live out of for at least the first few years of my teaching career. It’s just as important as my clothes and shoes. I initially wanted a zebra print bag, but I decided to be a tad more professional, mainly because the zebra print is on backorder until the end of October.
So, my teacher drag shopping is complete, for now. My combat boots and skinny jeans are packed away. My eccentric jewelry is being pushed to the back of my jewelry box until weekends. I now have more pairs of “hoisery” than I care to admit.
This diva is ready for her stage.
Oh, and in case you were wondering… My drag name is Ms. B. 😉
*Not that there’s anything wrong with being dressed like a young Laura Bush. It just wasn’t me.