Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween: Drag Out The Feather Boas

Well, it's a nice try, but no cigar.  Russ, what do we have for our parting contestants this year?

Halloween has long been an opportunity for amaturish impersonations of different characters, styles and looks, and it's no different in Thailand as the holiday works its way into the Thai culture. The "undead" look is always popular there; bloody injuries about the face and head, and deathly, ghoulish fashions are actually more popular there than here, I think.

Unfortunately it's also an occasion for men to dress like women. There are only two way I can appreciate cross-dressing, or "drag" as it's often called: when it's done very well, and when it's done very badly. Anything in-between is often an opportunity for discomfort on someone's part, and that's all the often the audience, cajoled into acting as though it's entertainment while squirming in their seat and hoping someone finds the hook.

Examples of good drag are things like the Calypso cabaret in Bangkok, and more than likely the Alcazar in Pattaya (although I've never been to their show). An example of bad drag is the trio of men in the top photo today.  There will be many others in Thailand tonight - most of them farang nearing or past retirement age.

I took this at the Halloween parade and celebration in Bangkok one year. When I spoke with them afterwards to share the shot and ask permission to post it I could tell they actually thought they looked glamorous. To save the comments, this is in no way intended to ridicule or insult the guys - they were pleasant enough themselves, just mistaken in their thinking. A shame, really, because it was evident that a lot of effort had gone into their costumes and make-up, and they were nice guys.

Nevertheless, Happy Halloween, everyone! Don't indulge in too much candy - of any variety - and be safe.

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