The Red Dress Party is one of those events that requires some balls to attend. But unlike the Naked Bike Ride, for example, the fear isn't that your co-workers will catch photos of your dangly bits. Instead, they'll see you in a dress (of course, only a problem if you're a guy).
True, gay guys love drag. But the ones who donât are often more apprehensive to try it because they know everyone expects them to love it. Itâs as if you can imagine Bill from the next cubicle seeing party photos on Monday and poking his head up to say, âI knew you were gay, but not that gay!â
In addition to the party being a chance for everyone to try drag, itâs also essentially Portlandâs gay promâthe event of the season. So those who donât muster the will to attend are often left wondering what they missed. âHow was the music? Can I see you in your dress? Did Kevin fall in his heels?â
So for all of you who couldnât make it, hereâs a taste of Red Dress debauchery (notated by Siri since my dress had no place for a pen and paper):
10:06 pm Arriving fashionably late after pregaming/prefunking in Northwest Portland. People took double takes on the street, but a group of guys in dresses is pretty low on the list of odd things you see in this town.
10:12 pm Short line at the entrance. Welcoming committee includes two strangers who kiss me. Then again, they were in drag, so I might know them.
10:13 pm On to the drink line! Tickets ($50-$150) include unlimited drinks, the money going to Morrison Child & Family Services and Quest Center for Integrative Health.
10:36 pm So, the drink line is long.
10:40 pm âIt feels like weâre in Chicago right now,â someone says of the venue. Weâre mostly outdoors by the AudioCinema building, pretty much under the Hawthorne Bridge in the Central Eastside Industrial District. Iâm not sure whatâs âChicagoâ about that, but it definitely feels like weâre not in Portland. Also, the weather. If we have to be outside in dresses, thank god itâs 70 degrees.
10:42 pm Bruce Vilanch is here taking pictures with people. Heâs wearing a T-shirt reading âHe is gay,â with an arrow below.
10:53 pm The woman next to me is wasted and apparently allergic; sheâs spilling her red cocktail with every sneeze.
11:03 pm Some guy is doing a wardrobe change next to the fire pit. His friends are standing around him, egging him on as he tries to squeeze into a tight, sequined corset: âWork queen! Think thin!â
11:15 pm Disney Villain Award goes to the guy dressed as Cruella DeVil with a hot pink wig.
11:22 pm DJ and Puerto Rican drag star Nina Flowers is above the crowd, spinning on a platform. I donât recognize the music, and neither does Shazam, so I guess thatâs good? Iâll work on this.
11:37 pm After surveying a random selection of drunk people, the consensus is that the music is OK, but itâs too house circuit and not enough disco circuit.
11:50 pm People keep asking me if Iâm drinking water. Thatâs what happens when you leave a lime out of a vodka soda in a plastic cup.
12:11 am Overheard: âGirrrrrl stand down from your bibliotecas you do not speak French!â
12:42 am Siri is having a problem understanding me with all of the noise. The last thing I said was transcribed as âJust saw living for if you go to the back dropping her purse for days girl.â
12:52 am âThere are like 800 people in line to get to the washroom,â a woman tells me. She must be Canadian. No one else uses the word washroom.
1:32 am Another woman tells me that âthe guy over thereâ keeps showing everyone his penis. I tell her Iâve already seen three penises tonight, not counting my own.
1:42 am The bar is out of soda water. I get a vodka Coke and a vodka tonic to see which one I like better.
2:05 am Overheard: âHoney, thatâs an intentional nip slip.â
2:11 am It appears theyâve closed the indoors portion of the venue.
2:22 am It also appears they are now out of vodka, whiskey and Fireball. However, they have plenty of rum.
2:25 am Word is thereâs an after-party at the Jupiter Hotel. Iâm going to shove my phone into my shorts and barrel into a cab. Itâs been nice, Red Dress.