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 don’t are often more apprehensive to try it because they know everyone expects them to love it. It’s as if you can imagine Bill from the next cubicle seeing party photos on Monday and poking his head up to say, “I knew you were gay, but not that gay!”
In addition to the party being a chance for everyone to try drag, it’s also essentially Portland’s gay prom—the event of the season. So those who don’t muster the will to attend are often left wondering what they missed. “How was the music? Can I see you in your dress? Did Kevin fall in his heels?”
So for all of you who couldn’t make it, here’s 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 “It feels like we’re in Chicago right now,” someone says of the venue. We’re mostly outdoors by the AudioCinema building, pretty much under the Hawthorne Bridge in the Central Eastside Industrial District. I’m not sure what’s “Chicago” about that, but it definitely feels like we’re not in Portland. Also, the weather. If we have to be outside in dresses, thank god it’s 70 degrees.
10:42 pm Bruce Vilanch is here taking pictures with people. He’s wearing a T-shirt reading “He is gay,” with an arrow below.
10:53 pm The woman next to me is wasted and apparently allergic; she’s 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: “Work queen! Think thin!”
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 don’t recognize the music, and neither does Shazam, so I guess that’s good? I’ll work on this.
11:37 pm After surveying a random selection of drunk people, the consensus is that the music is OK, but it’s too house circuit and not enough disco circuit.
11:50 pm People keep asking me if I’m drinking water. That’s what happens when you leave a lime out of a vodka soda in a plastic cup.
12:11 am Overheard: “Girrrrrl stand down from your bibliotecas you do not speak French!”
12:42 am Siri is having a problem understanding me with all of the noise. The last thing I said was transcribed as “Just saw living for if you go to the back dropping her purse for days girl.”
12:52 am “There are like 800 people in line to get to the washroom,” a woman tells me. She must be Canadian. No one else uses the word washroom.
1:32 am Another woman tells me that “the guy over there” keeps showing everyone his penis. I tell her I’ve 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: “Honey, that’s an intentional nip slip.”
2:11 am It appears they’ve 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 there’s an after-party at the Jupiter Hotel. I’m going to shove my phone into my shorts and barrel into a cab. It’s been nice, Red Dress.