all your drag questions answered!

Hello kittens!

I’ve noticed that many of you who end up at my website come here looking for answers to questions about drag and drag shows. A lot of your queeries are valid and interesting, while the rest normally involve porn I probably don’t want to know about.

So, I thought I’d answer the questions people ask time and again, along with a those that seem particularly compelling.

Ready? OK!

1. if you’re a drag queen does that mean your gay?
drag queens who aren’t gay
are all drag queens gay

Yes, all drag queens are ghey, and if you are a drag queen, you are ghey. JUST KIDDING!

God I hope no one stopped reading before I got to the “just kidding” part.

Being a drag queen does not in any material way reflect on either your sexual orientation or gender identity.

I’ve never done a survey, but my educated guess is that the vast majority of drag queens are gay cisgender men. But just because lots or even most are doesn’t mean they all are.

Really, anyone of any gender or sexual orientation can be a drag queen. All a drag queen is someone who turns the dial on femininity (whatever that means to that person) up to 11 and then starts looking for 12.

Why do you ask? Do you want to do drag and you’re worried that might mean you’re gay?

Well, maybe you are. Heck, I don’t know, and I can’t tell you that. But what I can say is that wanting to do drag doesn’t make you gay. Being gay makes you gay. And if you’re straight or bi or whatever and you want to do drag, honey, I say go for it. No one’s gonna ask for your sexuality credentials, and maybe being a straight drag queen can be your angle at your local club or bar.

Now, are you asking because someone you know wants to do drag? Maybe your heterosexy boyfriend? Again, I can’t tell you if your boyfriend is gay or bi or whatever. But you know what? You should probably take his word for it. If your relationship is awesome and the feelings are real, there is no reason for you to feel insecure about your boyfriend puttin’ on some glitter to make the childrens smile.

2. if you attend a drag queen show are you gay
is it ok for straight men to go to drag shows?
do guys go to drag queen shows

Nope, sorry, no straight guys allowed!

KIDDING! I hope you picked up on that.

Grrl child, I don’t know what drag shows would be without straight people. I can’t speak for every bar and club, but I would venture to say that the show at my local club relies on the attendance of straight people.

We love havin’ straight people around at the shows. We will make fun of you (in a fun and edifying way). We might even make you play “What Should the Straight Man Touch?”. And it’s all in good fun, the best fun.

Now, You best not be actin’ a fool. You DO NOT need to ham it up with your butch self if you come to a drag show. And you DO NOT need to “act gay,” ‘cos that shit is offensive and stupid. You in our house, honey, so just be yourself, drink your drink, and clap for the pretty queens, ya hear?

3. why do people go to drag shows
what do they do at drag shows?
what do you think of when you think of drag shows

Why do people go to drag shows? To laugh, clap and drink. Simple as that.

What do they do at drag shows? They turn up the dial on gender (femininity in the case of drag queens, masculinity in the case of drag kings) and they werk. it. OUT! In heterosexual English: people put on highly stylized and gendered clothing to make the childrens happy.

Most drag performance comes in the form of dancing while lip syncing, but really, drag is just the template, not the art form. There are drag comediennes and drag fire twirlers and drag singer-songwriters and drag erotic dancers and drag performance artists and probably a couple of drag astrophysicists. If you’re not sure what happens at your local drag club, the only way to find out is to get your ass down to a show!

What do I think of when I think of drag shows? The best night of my week.

4. how do drag queens make money
do you tip drag queens
how much to tip drag show

How do drag queens make money? Well, honey, most of us have day jobs. If you narrowed down drag queens to people who only make money by dressing up in drag, it’s a pretty small field.

For most of us, drag is an expensive and time-consuming hobby or side gig. Don’t get me wrong, we do it because we love it. But should you tip? To the best of your ability.

For much more on tipping at drag shows, please go here.

5. fishy drag queen definition
would i make a fishy drag queen

“Fishy” means that a drag queen is particularly womanly in appearance (and, often, manner). I would advise you to use fishy with caution. You never know when you might be telling a woman she looks womanly.

Would you make a fishy drag queen? Nobody can tell you that. You’re just going to have to try it out.

If you ask me, some people put way too much emphasis on being fishy. I don’t want to spend two hours putting on makeup for no one to notice I’m wearing makeup. I’m not gonna walk around in two-inch heels if I can saunter in 6-inch heels. I’m not going to wear a dress that says, “please don’t look at me.” I want my drag to say, “look at me! Do it now!”

6. work werk meaning drag culture
what does hunty mean in drag queen?
what’s a kiki?

It’s vocabulary time! Sharpen your pencils, class is in session.

Work/werk/werq/however the fuq you wanna spell it means “get it!”, “go!”, or, basically, “I appreciate that which you are doing and I encourage you heartily to do more of that!”

Hunty (honety, whatever) is part of an odd drag phenomenon in which a T is inserted after an N in the middle of a word. I know that’s a really oddly specific rule, but nobody ever said language was logical. Some more examples of this phenomenon include “Tinta Turnter” and “good mornting!” PS, I don’t know why, but I can’t hear somebody say Tinta Turnter without laughing like a banshee.

Kiki means gossip or gossip session. By extension, some queens (maybe especially in the south?) use it to mean “hanging out,” since (some) queens spend a lot of time hanging out and gossiping!

Kai kai is when two drag queens hook up. Not to be confused with kiki.

Please note that, just as it’s not necessary or appropriate to use the three words of Korean you know with the only Korean you know, it’s not really necessary to use drag terms with drag queens just to prove you know them. Jus’ sayin’.

7. can anyone be a drag queen?

You bet your sweet ass they can. Literally anyone.

You should not let anything stop you from being a drag queen.

You might think: I don’t have the right body shape. I’m not “pretty” enough. My beard grows too fast. I don’t have the “right” identity. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have the use of my legs and drag queens have to dance.

I want you to look all those thoughts right in the face and tell them to go away.

Anyone can be a drag queen.

You know what? Being different is an asset as a drag queen. No one wants to be a cookie-cutter drag queen.

I want you to take that thing or all those things you’re afraid mean you can’t be a drag queen and turn them into the things that will make you the best damn drag queen you can be.

And to help you, I’m going to set myself a cheap drag challenge: how to do a complete drag look with $40 or less (plus freebies for things you have around the house or can probably easily borrow). In fact, I’m looking forward to it!

Okay, kittens, thanks for reading. Check back for my drag on a budget challenge and to see more answers to your drag questions.

Big Mama Schlomo

33 thoughts on “all your drag questions answered!

  1. I enjoy the shows but hate when they want to be in my face or touch me. What is a polite way of letting that be known that I just want to watch and touching is not appreciated

    • That is a really great question, so I’m sorry that the answer is kind of shitty. Or at least unsatisfactory, even to me. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer, but this is just the way I see it…

      As far as being in your face goes? I’m sorry, drag is about being in your face. It’s an almost inherently in-your-face thing. Big hair, big shoes, big personality.

      Drag queens are a lot like teachers: they call on the person who is trying desperately not to get called on. Now, I’m not saying you’re putting out a vibe or anything, ‘cos I don’t know you or your situation, but I can say that, in my experience, drag queens will go after the person with their arms crossed or someone who won’t make eye contact. Again, just in my experience, drag queens won’t bother fucking with someone who seems to be just having an ordinary good time.

      In short, if you look like you wouldn’t mind being fucked with, no one will fuck with you.

      Now, as far as touching goes? There’s a lot of nonconsensual touching at drag shows, and, in my opinion, every last bit of it is bullshit. I don’t like being touched without my permission, and I don’t like it when other people are touched without their permission.

      When you’re in drag, people think they can touch you all they want. And it drives me up a fucking wall. That being said, I really hate it when drag queens do the same to audience members.

      But here’s where the shitty part of my answer comes in: bars are loud, and there’s no great way to say, “I would really appreciate it if you would respect my personal boundaries.”

      To use another analogy, drag shows are kind of like going to Sea World: there’s a splash zone, and everyone in the seats closest to the stage is in the splash zone. And I’m really, really sorry to have to say it, but the best way not to get wet is to not sit in the splash zone. When you sit close to the stage, you’re kind of making a bargain that drag queens might mess with you. Some of it’s funny and great, and some of it might cross your boundaries.

      I hope very much that we as a culture will tap more into respecting each other’s boundaries and space. But all I can really do as a drag queen myself is not touch people who don’t want to be touched. And you might have to do the self-loving thing and sit farther away.

      No part of me is happy to answer your question like this. I’m really, really sorry things are the way they are. And I don’t by any means want to discourage you from sticking up for your own boundaries. It’s just that it’s really difficult to do that under the circumstances.

  2. This was a big help!

    I’m from nowhere and I feel like the only way to see ‘drag’ is to either put lipstick on my bf or watch Drag Race on Logo.

    As a straight female who appreciates the art & time the performers put into their characters I am embarrassed to ask questions. I know of no gay scenes from my area and appreciate the down to earth information you put on here.

    Your one in a million!

      • I think the drag queens I see on Rupauls drag race are GORGEOUS and I wish I knew them so I could ask them to make me look pretty I am a grandma who loves anyone with a good heart and I am hooked on the logo channel because I see so many shows that are so inspiring and teaching us to all accept each other

  3. Pingback: Blog Reflection #5: Gendering Children | MSUM WS100 Women Today: Contemporary Women's Issues

  4. Fishy? That’s funny considering drag Queen to look made-up is old school. I look fem naturally without makeup, am not tall & have zero need for glitz when I am glamour in my looks. I just put on a little makeup, have my hair right, put sexy dresses on that I get for 20 bucks designer brands so my thing is not expensive & most of the straight guys love it. In fact, my BF was never with someone of same sex before me & we might get married next year. Times have changed & these days you better look like a real woman instead of a drag Queen or you aren’t going to make any money. You will be getting one dollar bills tossed at you which is insulting instead of 50s or 100s for a show. The trick is to look totally like a woman who is dressed as a guy who is dressed like a woman aka that old film but that is reality of this century. Few have this ability. I know so many who spend so much time doing heavy makeup. If it takes you more than 15 minutes for makeup & hair the you don’t have the look naturally imo. Few have it which I think is why things have changed. After all, anyone can dress up in glitz to look totally like a sparkler but few can dress to look fishy as they guy posted lol Fish? I still never could understand that. It used to be some gay guys either thought or made up stories that vagina smelled like fish which is totally not true so fishy really is the wrong word. Fem is the word. I was born to look fem, I embrace it and love it but no need for a sex change. I’m happy just as I am.

  5. I don’t wish to stereotype anybody but after watching Ru Paul’s drag race I noticed that all the drag queens on there are really catty and bitchy. Why are they like this?

    • I think the answer to that is two-fold: primarily, though, I think what’s happening on that show is what happens on any reality show – namely, people are competing for a large amount of money and also airtime. Drama gets you on camera, and people are also more prone to fight viciously when you dangle $100,000 in front of them. But there is also a tendency among some drag queens to just be naturally competitive with and insulting to each other. Drag is kind of like football and a beauty pageant all at the same time. From my real-life experience, though, the vast majority of drag queens would rather just get the job done and have a good time.

  6. I am so excited I found your blog! I chose drag culture as my semester research topic for my college MA in Writing and am going to my first show on Sunday. You validate my interest by saying anyone can be a drag queen even without the use of legs bc I’m in a wheelchair. Bet you weren’t expecting that when you wrote it! Thanks for being awesome!

  7. Hey there,

    I was wondering how much, on average, does each application of your drag face cost?

    I know make up isn’t cheap.

    also I’m nosey 😛

    • That’s a really interesting question! It’s very hard to answer because there’s a lot of factors, but I did some fast and dirty math and it came out to about $6. Which sounds insane, but is probably about right, considering the short life of things like false eyelashes.

  8. just came acrossed your article and read it but i had a question what day of the week do dragqueens go out? i am a 21 year old queen for bout a year and just moved to L.A. last month, i go out to west hollywood most fridays and saturdays but i only see a couple other queens. soo am i just going out on the wrong nights? cause i would luv to make some queen friends so i can learn more than what youtube has to offer, and personality and attitude is best learned in person.

    • Hi there! I don’t think there’s any particular night of the week you need to think about, you’ll just have to find out when venues in your area have regular events. For instance, I know that Hamburger Mary’s has multiple drag events every week – you can find their schedule here: Good luck!

      • thankyou, i have heard of it but haven’t the chance to go but ill deff make a night dress up and check err out.

    • Great question! Strictly speaking, no, you don’t have to be any certain age to do drag! But there are age-limiting factors, the most important of which is that you generally have to be at least 18 to get into a bar, which is where the vast majority of drag shows happen. But if you’re too young to get into a bar, I’d say get your friends together and have your own all-ages drag show! 🙂

    • It all depends on the venue, but since most drag shows take place at bars, you’ll probably have to be at least 18. But I would definitely encourage you to seek out shows at other venues!

  9. I have a question. It’s probably a dumb question but stick with me. If I like to dress up, but have facial hair, how can I dress up without shaving? If that makes any sense. I like my look and I would love to keep it. So is there a way to cover it up when dressing up without cutting it off?

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