Fire at the Miss Gay Pageant
Miss Gay Pageant
The annual event of the Miss Gay pageant in 1984 set in motion every sewing machine in the community in an effort to produce the most elaborate, sometimes outrageous gown that would rival a Bob Mackie original and appear as larger than live on the red carpet.
On that night Mercedes and Lexus limousines glide up to the kiss the crimson fibers. The sleek doors open wide so that the size twelve and fourteen pumps can announce the arrival of the larger than life Queens. Silk and taffeta adorned with sequins and feathers spills out and slowly flows into the Free Spirit.
Once inside, The Queens are escorted to their seats by beefcake ushers dressed only in tuxedo pants and bowties. From their various perches they wave Japanese fans and feather boas and sip complimentary champagne as they critique those who came after them.
Erinn’s limo had been in queue for several minutes before it finally took its place at the curb. She squirmed at the stiffness of her tuxedo until a fresh, little boi opened the door. She flashed a trademark smile at the young lesbian and then turned and offered her hand to Dana.
Dana had been Erinn’s wife and vice versa for fives years and they were attending the pageant with their closest friends Tony and Bob. Dana was just over six feet tall, slender and dark. Taking Erinn by the arm, she took in the crowds and photographers that were crushing the rope on either side and then owned the floor length Versace gown that swept along as she walked.
Once inside they took their seats on the mezzanine and gossiped about the Queens that were listed in the program as contestants. Finally the lights were dimmed and a Diana Ross look alike took center stage to welcome one and all and then turn the show over to the talent portion of the competition.
Tony, a hairdresser, had much to say about the wigs being slung around the stage and some of the makeup. “It was just over the top.” He commented.
The four of them were really thoroughly enjoying themselves when an older Queen who had been a legend in her day arrived, as she put it to all who could hear, “fashionably late and promptly seated herself directly in front of Dana.
Erinn and Tony giggled at the costume the old Queen had on. “Must have been straight out of her 1950’s closet.” They decided. She wore a pale, beige drape in the style of Gloria Swanson and on her head was a hat the size of a manhole cover.
They waited a minute or so for the Queen to remove her hat because it was blocking the vision of every person as far as ten rows behind her.
Dana whispered to Erinn that she couldn’t see through the ostentatious head dress.
“I’ll ask her to remove.” Erinn whispered. She leaned forward and tapped the Queen on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” she said. “Could you remove your hat?” We are unable to see around it.”
The Queen managed to rotate the vibrating platter and glare at Erinn “It doesn’t come off.” She declared and turned back toward the stage effectively ending the conversation.
Collectively the four of them gasped at the Queen’s rudeness. “What did she say?” Tony asked as if he hadn’t heard correctly.
“She said it doesn’t come off.” Erinn replied.
“Humph.” Tony said expressing his thoughts. “Wont come off. I never….”
The room filled with the throbbing beat of Madonna from the stage and the debate over the manhole covered seemed to be over. Then Erinn looked at Tony and grinned from ear to ear. “What?” he asked.
“Ask Bob to let me have his lighter.” Erinn said. Bob gave it up without a question because due to a forty percent hearing loss he had not heard the Queen’s declaration.
Erinn flicked the bic and held the flame to the edge of the hat until a nice flame took hold then they all sat back and waited. The flame raced to the center of the big hat and heated the Queen’s scalp. She jumped up screaming, jerked the hat off and dumped her champagne over her head then stumbled to the aisle and fled presumably to the powder room or maybe she chose the huge kiddie pool full of champagne and ice in the kitchen.
Through roar of the clapping and laughing Tony said, “Won’t come off, huh?” Then they all dissolved into tears.