10 Things You Can Do If You Want To Do Drag

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Recently deciding I wanted to dress in drag, or as a man, I found myself doing a bit of research.

This mainly consisted of perusing the Internet whilst eating too many almonds, and talking to experienced Drag Kings about what it is that they do and how they do it.

I’ve put together a list of pointers and resources for others who might be in the position I was in some time ago.

Please note that I am a beginner, and this is by no means a definitive set of instructions. It’s simply a gathering of information, come across during my gender-bending-journey so far.

Hopefully you’ll find it useful!

    Why are you doing it?

I sort of think that just doing it for the sake of doing it is enough, but it’s probably worth thinking about this a little bit before you rush off to Topman and buy that funky boy top.

Fun, adventure, political reasons, gender identity exploration? Do you want to pull?

It’s all relevant because the costume you want to wear will be tailored to the experience you want to have.

    What are your influences?

  • Have the male identified people in your life influenced you?
  • Have you always known what kind of man you wanted to be?
  • Is your persona straight or LGBTQIA?
  • Are you going as yourself but male?

Or going for a more imagined character: badboy, geek, biker, athelete, dapper gentleman, to name but a few you might think of.

Think about the influence this persona will have on transforming the way you move, act, walk talk etc.

    Where are you going?

Be careful where you go.

Some people might be offended, or threatened, by what you are doing.
If it were up to me you’d be able to walk into any space and feel safe, no matter how you present gender, but reality is unfortunately different.

    What will be the most fun for you?

  • Somewhere you usually go, or go somewhere new where no one knows you?
  • Gay boy bar, girl bar?
  • Straight bar?
  • Out for coffee with some friends, or out alone?

Drag is essentially performance, after all, so choose your stage carefully.

If you want to start off in your bedroom then go with that – whatever feels natural and right at the time.

    Are you going to bind?

So, from what I’ve gathered, a lot of people do… but you don’t have to do anything.
I mean, if you want to do drag and not bind that’s your call.

If you are going to bind you will need something to bind with.
From what I have read, unless you are just binding as a one off, it is healthier to use an actual binder rather than wrap with a bandage or cling film.

I use one from T-Kingdom which is comfortable and appears to do the job.

Look here for a more comprehensive list of resources about binding.

    Are you going to pack?

This does psychologically, and visually, make a difference.
Here is some advice from a source we all know and love.

    Facial hair?

This can the clincher in terms of realism.
Once again though, you don’t have to go out with stubble; there are plenty of clean shaven men in this world.

I cannot stress enough how long it takes to apply.
Seriously, give yourself at least an hour to sort out your ‘tash/beard. Or even longer if you are going to be quite a hairy chap.

So, this a method that worked for me in order to get a rough, haven’t-shaved-for-a-bit, stubble look:

a)      Cut a bit of hair off your head.
Choose carefully whereabouts you do this because you’ll probably need more than you think you do.

Whatever age you are, don’t tell your mum you are doing this – she will try to stop you.

The trick is to cut it into the shortest pieces you can, before putting it on your face.

I recommend wetting your hair first and having a little plate or bowl ready.

b)      In order to get the hair to stick you will need to use wax (no, not the kind from candles) or spirit gum.
Wax tends to be easier to remove that spirit gum, but if you decide to get the gum it makes life a lot easier if you get remover as well; otherwise it might take more than one wash to get your beard off.

If you don’t want to buy the remover, or are using wax, baby oil and/or a rough sponge will do the job.

c)      Google someone whose facial hair you like the look of and apply the spirit gum into that basic shape on your face with a cue tip. I recommend that you use disposable gloves as it is very sticky.

Be careful not to get it on anything.

In fact, it is probably best if you do the facial hair with your shirt off, wait for it to dry and then put it on. Otherwise you might have to change your t-shirt, and then wash it.

Then wash it again, and then go out and buy some special paint remover anti-stain stuff. And then find out that the pain removed anti-stain stuff made it worse and now your shirt is ruined.

Yes, this happened to me… take your shirt off.

d)     Depending on the facial hair you want, after you’ve applied a basic outline you can rub some of the glue and hair on your gloved hands and rub it on your cheeks to get a natural messy stubble look  – this is if you want to look a bit scruffy.

If you want a more precise looking line of stubble, a sole patch for example, then just keep applying it to the glued up area bit by bit.

Erasure:

We are looking to hide things like hips and breasts.

After you’ve bound your breasts (or haven’t, if you’re not doing that) your hair, hips, voice and hands will be the most feminine qualities about you.

I tie my hair up and wear it under a hat, but some bois prefer to leave it long – natural or greased up.

I wear loose fitting jeans in order to cover my hips up and black fingerless gloves on my hands.

Lowering your voice is something I’m still working on doing, and, as with everything on this list, it’s really up to you whether you want to experiment with doing it or not.

Scent:

The lynx effect anyone?

Do you want to smell of posh boy cologne, some dapper man must, or maybe something more primal like testosterone fuelled natural body odour?

Be comfortable in your own skin:

See your body type as an asset and let it be– it can guide and make it’s own unique drag character. I find it is best to go with what suits my body type when I drag up, in terms of the clothes I wear and the attitude I have. Drag can be used as a way to embrace your body for what it is.

What is your name?

I put this last, rather than first, because your name should reflect the persona you develop.

And the whole process of getting into drag – numbers 1-9, will influence how this persona turns out.

So, think carefully about the name you want to be called by –

Are you going to book reservations under this name?

Introduce yourself to everyone you meet with it?

And will you get close friends to call you by it?

It is also worth considering whether or not you want to exclusively adopt a male gender pronoun during this time…

I hope that one or two pointers from this list helped you out.

From what I’ve gathered it’s all about just having fun and breaking out of societal expectations of gender roles.

Happy dragging, everyone.

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