This particular year we decided to let the kids spend Friday night with us at the hotel to swim and hang out before we shipped them off to the grandparent's house on Saturday. We had just checked in and boarded the elevator to go to our room. We were riding the elevator when the doors opened and approximately 6 (hairy) men stepped on...WEARING EVENING GOWNS AND SPORTING GLITTER IN THEIR GOATEES. Our innocent, sheltered children looked up at us with wide eyes and said "Mommy, Daddy, why are those boys wearing dresses?" And as you know kids never ask such questions quietly in your ear, oh no, they say it loud and clear to make sure you hear them. Of course, not only were our children looking at us expectantly for an answer but so were the glitter guys. GI Joe cleared his throat and very tactfully said, "They're probably just going to a costume party." The kids were satisfied with that answer, thankfully. Until one of the glitter guys leaned over to GI Joe and said in a loud whisper, "Well if that's what you want to tell them HONEY." I doubled over in laughter while steam escaped from GI Joe's ears and he wore a less than amused look on his face. Thankfully, the doors opened to our floor and we made a quick getaway.
As the evening wore on and we participated in the Casino Night that the Guard put on for us (P.s. I became addicted to Craps that night), we noticed more and more ahem....queens around. They were EVERYWHERE and they had escorts, male escorts. For protection, for company, who knows what but they were very serious about their escorting business. Maybe it was to protect the queens from the crazy military dudes.
Turns out that the Marriott had booked both some type of National Drag Queen Pageant Convention AND the Army National Guard Recruiting Banquet for the same weekend. Nice mix don't you think? I probably don't have to tell you that that was the last year the event was held there. The people watching was great and I was slightly jealous that some of those queens had bigger boobs than I did. But I took solace in the fact that I didn't have to special order high heels in a Mens Size 12. (Editor's sidenote: Dakota is sitting beside me as I blog this and was mortified and told me it wasn't appropriate for kids that I typed boobs in my blog. And then she tried to correct my punctuation. Nice.)
Back to the queens, apparently like the military, their big event was also on Saturday night, on the floor below where ours was held. And did I mention that it was open so when you walked out of the ballroom and looked down, there they were. So there it was Saturday night, GI Joe and I were dressed in our fancy duds and headed down to the ballroom. We got all situated at our table when he realized that he forgot his wallet or chapstick or something of utmost importance so he went back up to the room. I was left to mingle and jokingly said to the rest of the table, "He'd better be careful, there are queens on the loose around here and they seem to like him." Everyone giggled because they knew GI Joe. For those of you who don't know GI Joe personally, let me just say this, he's a traditional, old school, conservative, opinionated, Baptist,country boy, which is why I love him, but things like Pride Parades and Drag Queen Conventions are not exactly in his comfort zone. Understatement of the year.
GI Joe walked back into the ballroom a few minutes later and the look on his face along with the shade of red he was, indicated that something had happened. I couldn't wait for him to sit down and tell us. He was a bit fuhklempt but we finally got it out of him. Here's the story in his words as told to us that fateful evening:
"I was coming back down to the ballroom, alone on the elevator, praying that the elevator would not stop on floors 13 or 14 because that's where the queens were staying. But then the elevator stopped on 13 and on walked a fat man in a dress, all made up, wig and everything. I thought, "Dear God, do NOT talk to me." And so, "IT" asked me, "So are you in the Army?" I nodded yes, thinking to myself "DUH did the uniform give it away?", still avoiding eye contact. Then "IT" asked me if I could help "IT" zip up "IT'S" dress because it was stuck. "Umm WHAT?!" "IT" turned it's hairy back to me, and don't think poorly of me for hesitating but I did. So I was thinking to myself, "Do I just stand here and have them think I'm homophobic OR do I just hurry up and zip up the dress and hurry quietly back to my side of the elevator and hope that the elevator doesn't stop until we reach my floor?" Me, being the nice guy that I am decided to just hurry and try to zip up the dress and get it done and over with before anyone knew that I touched "IT". As if it weren't bad enough that "IT" was hairy and fat "IT" was also short so I had to squat down to zip up the dress. Imagine the horror I felt when the elevator stopped, doors opened, and a fellow soldier stepped on, as my head popped up from behind "IT". All I could do was shrug and laugh awkwardly to the tune of "I'm not gay" . Since the soldier was with his wife and I was unable to get the zipper unstuck I said to "IT", "Here's a woman, maybe she can help." Finally, the elevator doors opened and the soldier and I got off and left his wife there with "IT". I told him, "It wasn't what it looked like."
His military career has never been the same. :)
I was going to post a picture here of a drag queen next to GI Joe. But of course we didn't actually take a picture that night and googling drag queens and/or cross dressers to photo shop one in resulted in me needing therapy for the next twenty years. Instead here's a picture of GI Joe in his dress uniform. At least the queens have good taste.
And this is probably very similar to the look that was on his face in the elevator that night, the "I can't believe I actually have to do this and I'm so annoyed right now" look. Simply irresistible.
Speaking of queens, GI Joe's dad, refused to watch the TV show "King of Queens" for the longest time because he thought it was about a bunch of drag queens.
Enough talk about drag queens, next up I'll show you the queen of this year's banquet...ME! Think zebra print people. Drag queens have nothin' on me.