It's All Drag
Today I’m not offering much in the way of advice, but sharing my personal history, talking about getting gussied up for work.
One of the best things about sex work is getting to dress up and pretend to be someone else, at least for a little while. I’ve been a tomboy all through childhood and now into adulthood—I get dressed mainly to keep from getting arrested, rather than to make any kind of fashion statement.
But there was some side of me that reacted positively to the rituals of dolling up for stripping, pouring myself into latex when I worked as a dominatrix, color-coordinating my street clothes and lingerie when I was escorting.
As RuPaul correctly points out, we’re all born naked—the rest is drag. I always looked at getting dressed for work as a costume. I don’t know if you can be a female drag queen, but that was always my approach: lace and heels and make-up weren’t my birthright, but something I secretly stole from the femmes who truly “owned” them.
The nice part of this mindset was, when things were going well, I could feel the power that these embellishments imparted to me: lingerie was both a shield and a weapon, something that signaled to the world: I am a hot, sexual woman—you must deal with me on those terms. I often felt like my work clothes did half my work for me—just the simple fact of wearing sexy underwear made me a force to be reckoned with.
But the downside came when I wasn’t into the work, when I was depressed or distracted. All the unguents and fripperies felt ridiculous, like sporting the bright red nose of a clown. It felt like a burden to put on a garter belt and stockings, to teeter around on high heels. High femme is difficult, not easy to pull off without committing to the full performance.
What’s your relationship to your work clothes? Do you enjoy putting them on, wearing them, taking them off? Do you have special clothes that you set aside only for work, or do you have a normcore look, wearing only what you would on a regular day? Do your clothes give you energy, or drag you down? I’d be curious to know how you feel, so leave a comment, if you have a moment.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself— LolaD
News Flash: I'll be announcing the availability of Thriving in Sex Work in ebook format any day now-- sign up to get notified!!