Bit on the side: Terrible Spiderman
By Robbie Ten Eyck
I would make a terrible Spiderman.
Case in point: When Peter Parker takes his first steps into a promising career in photojournalism, he doesn’t announce to his employer that he is in fact a friendly neighbourhood arachnid with a penchant for spandex.
However, at my first interview for a promising career in Advertising I immediately revealed my secret identity.
Yes, I might have appeared to be a pasty and woefully underqualified, well, lump, I was in fact a 6.3” yellow haired drag queen named Lazy Susan.
A drag queen who had been in existence for 3 years and who had carved a niche in the crowded Melbourne scene as a high concept hot mess. While making a name for yourself in Melbourne’s cutthroat drag scene is impressive, it hardly amounts to Marvel level heroics. When Spiderman’s city needs him it takes a mere whip pan of the camera for him to be on the case, in full spandex glory. Conversely, when Lazy Susan is needed in her city, this is what happens:
Thursday, August 9th 2018. I’ve got a drag trivia gig at 10:30pm (read: definitely 11:45pm), my very first since starting my job as a Social Creative at Ogilvy.
I am characteristically under rehearsed and once again I rely on overconfidence and brazen application of liquid eyeliner to see me through.
Gone are the days of slouching out of bed at noon and folding myself into a luxurious four-hour paint* (*application of drag makeup). Now that I am a fully employed ad person I will have to put in an honest day’s work in the office before hitting the club. My life feels ripped from the pages of ‘Grapes of Wrath’ as I pull myself out of bed at the ungodly, 7.30am.
I know what you’re thinking.
Is it possible for a drag queen to wrangle both her day job and night life? Could I, like all the great working women before me, have it all?
Questions I ask myself as I lip-sync Rihanna’s ‘Sex with me’ silently at my desk 348 times whilst retouching photos for a company Instagram. Could I hide an entire falafel wrap between my thighs for the duration of my show? A vexing dilemma I contemplate in a meeting about how to properly enter time sheets.
When I fall off the gaffer taped milk crate stage tonight and die, what kind of coffin will I be buried in?
I pondered the important questions as I rushed from the elevator to the uber outside at the end of the day. The answer to all of the above questions is ‘yes, of course’ and polished rose mahogany with a domed top.
I spare a thought for my bank account as I book my second uber of the day to drive my sweaty ass to the club. I arrive a stylish hour and a half late to a club that is thankfully, already heaving. If a venue is packed when a queen arrives the work is practically done. Nothing distracts from a sloppy lipsync quite like 65 drunk straight people who believe they are hilarious. Upon entering the club, it is imperative I find the bar manager and more importantly the bar manager’s drink cards.
The pain of 7-inch stiletto heels are no match for my secret weapon, beer through a straw.
Stunned, shocked, gobsmacked… any other word that synonym.com could possible proffer could never describe the look on the faces in the crowd. It’s the end of my song. An entire falafel kebab slides from between my dank thighs. I take a bite, savouring the savoury flavour of the kebab. This is the drag sweet spot, a moment to bask in the glow of a show well done. I know that every bite will elicit a fresh wave of disgusted laughter.
I am untouchable. It seems the skillset required to fight the heinous villains of New York is indeed different to the one that is required to entertain the heinous civilians of Melbourne.
I glide back to my dressing room (read: store room with mirror) and gather my belongings (read: sweat stained rags). It’s now well past midnight and ridiculously close to the beginning of the tomorrow.
The next day I crawl to my desk and submerge my face in a strong latte. While Spiderman would climb in through a fire escape unnoticed and slide into his life as Peter Parker, my transition is caught half-way by my desk mate who has spotted the aforementioned brazen liquid liner clinging to my eyes. Instead of a barrage of gun fire, my desk mate responds with a barrage of falafel wrap related questions. Peter Parker’s hesitation to reveal his secret identity isn’t paranoia, for him it’s a matter of personal safety.
It’s not lost on me living my double life as Lazy, that many of my queer peers also conceal their double lives as a matter of personal safety.
But for now I am lucky enough to be the absolute worst Spiderman and a perfectly adequate hot mess, Lazy Susan. While there will be no web slinging in my future, I do maintain that I look great in spandex.