Our (Horrible) First Drag Shows

We both had very awkward first Drag show experiences for very different reasons...but embarrassing events make for great stories! Plus, a somewhat related bonus story of Courtney's very weird attempt to purchase a massage.


Courtney: Hello, beautiful listeners, and welcome back. My name is Courtney. I am here with my spouse, Royce. And together, we are The Ace Couple. Today, we are finally sharing the story – it’s a good story – of my first drag show. If you’ve been a listener of ours for a while, then perhaps you have heard me mention, on a couple of occasions, that I had a stint of performing in a drag bar, that unfortunately got cut short due to a certain pandemic. But you’ll recall that I very much love drag. I love our local drag scene. I love our local queer community – very much so. But things weren’t always so nice and easy to really get into the local scene. I have a hilarious story. I’m delighted to share it with you. It’s quite a doozy. But before we get into my fiasco of [laughing] attending my first drag show alone, I want to hear from you, Royce, because you – before we met – went to a drag show. And tell us how your first drag show was.

Royce: Well, “kind of awkward” sort of sums it up a little bit – not in a particularly eventful way. Like, I wouldn’t call mine much of a story in the way that yours is. But…

Courtney: Oh, Courtney and her stories, you know.

Royce: Yeah, I had a friend who was going out with a couple of other friends to see a drag show at a local gay bar and invited me along. And I did, as a fairly quiet, anxious, anti-social sort of person, get the gentle ribbing of, like, “Oh, the drag queens, like, pull people out of the crowd,” or, like, “You might get some attention,” or something like that, like, before going there. So, not really knowing what to expect, I just went into it a little nervous, I guess. In hindsight, I can see now that, you know, at the time, as an early 20-something who was just kind of settling into what Asexuality really meant and having little to no understanding of neurodivergence or anything at that point –

Courtney: Mhm.

Royce: – I definitely see how… Historically, I find situations where I’m plopped into a very different, like, cultural environment very jarring.

Courtney: Mmm.

Royce: Because my innate masking tendencies just go out the window.

Courtney: Yes. [laughs]

Royce: It’s like, I don’t know how I’m supposed to act in this situation anymore. And the prospect of acting somehow abnormally or embarrassingly is, like, a big deal, and that’s why those masking behaviors are so strong. And so I was – I mean, I was just kind of quiet. I was just going along with the show. It was obviously a gay bar, Friday, Saturday night, whatever it was, drag show – very, very sexual, just in the nature of the performance, the dialogue. This is just like… that is the atmosphere, and I hadn’t been in a public environment like that before, so that was all new.

Courtney: Mhm.

Royce: But I don’t remember anything particularly jarring, aside from just the sort of culture shock of it all. I do remember there was a drag king who at one point was doing a performance and, like, kind of hopped onto the lap of a friend of a friend who was sitting right next to me. And I was like, “Oh, this is kind of awkward.”

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: They, like, started making out right there.

Courtney: Oh no! [laughs]

Royce: And the only thing I could think was like, “Oh they’re right there, and also, she’s in a relationship.”

Courtney: Oh, no!

Royce: I didn’t know, like, what the boundaries of that relationship were. But that was all very… “This is odd. Is this okay? Does this happen every night here?”

Courtney: They were full-on making out?

Royce: Yeah.

Courtney: That’s honestly wild. Like, I have been to so many drag shows that I know that certain styles of drag shows are very, like, audience involvement. And some of that does bleed into, like, “What are the parameters of consent here?” And as a very sex-averse Asexual, that’s always, like, a little bit of a concern of mine. But I also very much understand the culture and know how to integrate into it. But I have never seen anything like that overt with an audience member. That’s really, really odd.

Royce: It was a lot.

Courtney: Because that’s very different from… I find that drag and burlesque communities often have a lot of overlap, at least in our local area, and with, like, burlesque performances, it’s very explicit – like, as the audience member, you do not touch the performer. [laughs] Like, there’s very much a culture of that. And wow, that’s a lot. I think I would also be uncomfortable if a performer just started making out with an audience member, period, but especially right next to me. [laughs]

Royce: Yeah. Aside from that, I mean, it was pretty uneventful. I don’t remember much else about the night, aside from just the fact that there was a performance and that I was sort of paying attention to some repeated lines or jokes coming from, like, the DJ towards the performer that the audience were clearly in on.

Courtney: Mmm.

Royce: Like, there was clearly… there were regulars here and there was a culture that I was just kind of seeing for the first time.

Courtney: Yeah.

Royce: But nothing else, really, of note happened, besides that, apparently, I exude enough sort of nervous antisocial energy that people just kind of left me alone, so.

Courtney: [laughing] Oh no! Which is interesting, because, as someone who presents male, you are very attractive to a lot of gay men that I know. And that was very much a concern of mine when I started performing at the drag bar and you started coming to see me.

Royce: Yeah, people just don’t come up and talk to me in public. It doesn’t happen.

Courtney: It’s wild to me, especially because obviously, like, my closer friends in the local queer community, who had, like, been to our house, like, they knew you, or they’d see pictures of us together. There were constantly, like, comments of, like, “Damn, girl.” [laughing] Like, “That’s your husband? Damn! Lucky.” And “Can I get a piece?” And I’ll be like, “Absolutely not. [laughing] Don’t… don’t talk to Royce.” [laughs] But that’s also sort of the, like, performativity of the sexuality of drag scenes. Like, people done up in drag and out on the town would have that air about them, but then it would be, like, a lot more casual if everyone was like, you know, in boy mode, just hanging out on and off night kind of a thing. So I’m glad you didn’t actually get picked out of the audience. I’m sorry you had to see a performer making out with an audience member. That’s very unusual to me.

Courtney: My first drag show was also deeply uncomfortable for different reasons. Very, very, very different reasons. Where even were you? It was… it was after we got married, and you were out of town for some reason, which is weird for you.

Royce: It was a work trip. I think this one was California.

Courtney: Mmm.

Royce: Because there were two out-of-town work trips, because big parent company was doing all these acquisitions and restructuring and whatnot and for some reason decided to fly people across the country to do things that, like, a few virtual meetings would have solved.

Courtney: [laughs] But hey, why not fly everyone out to California? So, yeah, you were out of town and I was still at home, which is not very usual, but it was a really goofy night. It was, like, a Tuesday or something. It wasn’t, like, a big weekend party night or anything like that. And I was like, “Well, Royce is out of town. I have the night to myself. What am I gonna do? Let’s find something. Let’s go have some fun!” And I got it in my head, like, “I want to go see a drag show,” because I had not become acquainted with the local drag scene at all yet. In my hometown in South Dakota, there was very little of that kind of culture. We had, like, one gay bar and it was very small and drag was not, like, necessarily a central focus of it. But I knew Kansas City had this big, bustling drag scene, and I was like, “Well, I want to get in on that.”

Courtney: And so not knowing where to go, still being relatively new to the area, I just went to, like, Facebook Events. [laughing] I was just searching, like, local Facebook events looking for a drag show. And I found one! And it was in a bar that I had never heard of. It was very out-of-the-way. It wasn’t in, like, the Kansas City proper. It was in one of the smaller outskirt Metro cities. And not really knowing much about what I was getting into, I was like, “Yeah! I’m up for an adventure. Let’s go to the drag show! [laughs] Royce is out of town. I want to see some drag!” [laughs] And oh, my friends. This had to have been, like… So a thing about me: I don’t think I experience embarrassment in the same way normal people do. [laughs]

Royce: I think that’s an accurate statement.

Courtney: [laughs] Can confirm. [laughs] So when I say that this was probably the most, like, embarrassing string of events to have happened in recent memory is saying something. [laughs] And the whole time I’m like, “All right, I just want to see the drag queens perform. And I’m going to go to a bar and I’m gonna have a drink,” which is also a thing that, prior to this, I hadn’t really done. I hadn’t just gone to the bar with friends. So, I wasn’t even thinking about, like, “What am I going to order for a drink when I get to the bar?” It did not even occur to me. I just wanted to see the drag queens.

Courtney: And for how, like, little experience I had going out at the time, like, let me put this in perspective: basically, the only drink that I had had at a proper bar was actually at a hotel bar a few months earlier, because we had gone back up to visit friends and family in South Dakota for, like, New Year’s Eve. And we stayed in a hotel where some friends came and hung out at the hotel with us. And one of these friends was like, “Oh, well, let’s go down to the bar and let’s have, like, a shot at midnight.” And I was like, “Great!” And this friend used to be a bartender at one point and, like, mixed drinks at home and things, so was very more, like, I guess, literate in drinks [laughing] than I was at the time. So I just let them lead and everything. I was like, “I’m just here for the ride.” [laughs] So we went down to the hotel bar, and said friend ordered us both lemon drop shots. And I was like, “Ooh, I like lemon! Great.” So we just got these little lemon drop shots, and we did them, and I was like, “Yay! Ringing in the new year!” And it was tasty. I like lemon things. So I was like, “Great.” And that was about it. I hadn’t really done much experimenting with alcohol by this point.

Royce: Yeah, you had had, like, some wines at people’s houses and maybe a quick cocktail or something.

Courtney: I’d have, like, yeah, a glass of red wine, I think, at someone’s house. Someone, at one point, made me a mojito, and like that’s about the extent of it – aside from, like, when my grandma tried to, like, give me drinks when I turned 18, which – I was, like, very much still underage at that time. My grandma – such a character – she went to Costco, and the Costco is, like, brand-new in our town, so it was a big deal, “Oh, we have a Costco now!” And she got this, like, large bottle of RumChata. And when – after I turned 18, I just went to visit her one day, as I often did, and she was like, “Do you want to try some RumChata?” I was like, “Sure, [laughing] I don’t know what RumChata is.” But she poured me a huge freaking glass of it as if it were a glass of milk. And it was way sweeter than I like my drinks being, so I didn’t think it was particularly good, but she was also like, “What’s wrong? You’ve hardly touched your RumChata. Don’t you like it?” I was like, “No, Grandma. I like it. It’s fine.” [laughs]

Courtney: So… had no idea how to handle just being at a bar. And going alone, too, was quite a choice. But I like adventures, so we’re going all in on it. So I pull up. And this place is so out of the way. It’s in an area of the Metro I had never been in before. And it was a very divey place. Like, I got the impression that this is not even a gay bar; they just, like, had a pop-up drag night. Which is fine, but it was a very divey place, and I didn’t know, bar culture at all.

Courtney: So I walk into the front door and they’re, like, charging a fee at the door. And I was like, “Oh no! I don’t think the event I saw on Facebook said that there was a fee at the door.” And it was, I don’t know, like, $5 or something. And I didn’t have any cash on me. I didn’t think I needed cash. [laughs] But I had a massive purse. And I’ve gotten better at this over the years, but at the time I very much had this OCD quirk where I needed to have my purse on me at all times and I needed to have basically anything I could possibly need at any given time, so I would just have the weirdest things possible in my purse. I always carried a pair of chopsticks, which came in handy way more than you would expect. I’d often have food and snacks in there. I would have, like, ibuprofen, Band-Aids, like, prepared for all emergencies, like “Mom of the group” energy – “If you need it, it’s in my purse.”

Courtney: And because I just had this massive, like, hoard of stuff slung over my shoulders at all times, even though I didn’t have any, like, cash in my wallet. I was like, “Wait, there’s almost always, like, a pool of coins and change that has assembled in, like, the bottom corner of my purse.” So when he was like, “I’m sorry, it’s five bucks to get in,” I was like, “Wait! We can turn this around!” So I go scavenging through my bag. I’m, like, pulling all of my things out. And this poor guy is just like watching me distraught as I’m, like, pulling out coins. And I’m like, “Quarters first.” I’m like, “Okay, I got, like, $2 worth of quarters. We’re good, we’re going.” [laughs] And then I’m moving on to the dimes. And I then started, like, pulling out pennies, and it was miraculous how much change I just had in the bottom of my purse. I don’t know how I lived like that back at the time, [laughing] I really don’t.

Courtney: But I got, like, maybe just over $4 of change. And [laughs] this poor guy didn’t say a word while I, for minutes, am fishing out coins. He is just staring at me, looking utterly depressed, like, “What is my life?” And… [laughs] after I think I’m like, “Okay, I think that’s all of my coins,” this massive pile of coins sitting in front of him and I’m like, “I’m so sorry, it’s not quite $5,” he just sighed. [laughs] He just went, “[sighs loudly] Go in. Go sit down.” He’s, like, shoveling these coins off of the counter. And I was like, “Thank you! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Thank you so much. I’m sorry.” And so I go and I pull up a chair at the bar. And I was like, “Alright. That was pretty awkward. That was unfortunate. But I’m here now. I’m gonna order a drink at the bar, and I’m gonna watch the drag queens. It’s gonna be a good time.” [laughs]

Courtney: And so this bartender comes up to me and I’m looking around frantically, like, hoping there’s a menu. [laughs] I’m like, “Where’s the drink menu?” It’s a dive bar; they don’t have drink menus! But I didn’t know… At that moment in time, every single name of a drink that I have ever heard in my life just flew out of my ear and evaporated into the air. Because I was like, “I don’t know what an alcohol is. How do you expect me to order without a menu?” And so he’s like, “What will you have?” And I was like, “Umm, umm, hmm, umm…” [laughs] And I’m frantically searching my memory for any drink name – just any drink. And at the time, we were watching The IT Crowd, and there’s this scene where Moss from IT Crowd is ordering a white russian, and it’s this whole, like, comedic gag that he’s ordering a white russian. And so I was like, “That’s a drink!” So I was like, “I will have a white russian, please.” And this bartender, I kid you not, is like, “Oh sure, great. What’s in those again?” And I was like, “Crap.” [laughs] I’m like, “A white russian. Um, uh… vodka?” [laughing] I had no idea. I had no idea. And I’m like, “I’m sorry. I don’t know how to make a white russian.” He’s like, “Well, I mean, if you knew what was in it, I could probably throw it together for you.” And I was like, [stammers]…

Courtney: So I was like, “Um, okay. I’ll have… a lemon drop shot?” [laughs] And the look on this guy’s face. He was so puzzled. He was like, “Just a lemon drop shot.” I was like, “Yes. Yes, I want a lemon drop shot, please. Thank you.” [laughs] And he was like, “I can, like, add this, that, and the other thing and make it a full-sized drink for you and it’ll be the same price.” I was like, “Good idea. Do that.” And he was saying words that I had no association with. I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I was like, “Yep, thank you. Good idea. Good plan. Go forth. Do it.” And so he goes and he starts mixing a drink, and to my horror, he brings me back something blue. And I was like, “Why is this drink blue?” [laughs] So I was like, “I don’t even care. I’ll drink this weird blue drink, [laughs] because I’m here to watch a drag show, gosh darn it. We’re gonna have a fun time.”

Courtney: So I pull out my credit card and I hand it to him and he goes, “Oh, we’re a cash-only bar.” [screaming in frustration] Argh! Are you kidding me? I was like, “I’m so sorry. I just gave all of my cash to that poor guy up front.” And he was like, “We have an ATM right up front.” And I was like, “Oh. Oh no. Alright.” And to my horror – I don’t know why this guy at the front door didn’t tell me that there was an ATM, but it was, like, within my eyesight. Maybe he was just like, “I don’t want to insult your intelligence by telling you that there’s literally an ATM right next to you,” [laughs] but he should have, because for some reason, I didn’t see it. So I had to walk right by him. And he was watching me the whole time. [laughs] And so I walk right by him up to the ATM and I’m like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know there was an ATM here.” [laughs]

Courtney: So I go and get my card and I pull out some money. And I, like – I had a $10 bill, and I was like, “This is double what the door fee was, but I just made this poor guy, like, watch me count coins for minutes.” So I just, like, walked over and I just, like, handed him the $10 bill and I’m like, “I’m sorry, here you go,” [laughing] and, like, scrambled back to my seat. [laughs]

Courtney: And so now I was like, “Okay. I have cash. I have a blue drink. I properly paid my way into the show. Nothing’s gonna stop me now.” [laughs] And I was like, “Yeah, that was an unfortunate series of events, but we’re golden.” I did not like this blue drink, by the way. It was not a pleasant blue drink. I don’t know why it was blue. I ordered a lemon drop shot and I got a blue drink. Actually, I ordered a white russian [laughs] and I was challenged on what’s in a white russian. [laughs] So, it was just a catastrophe.

Courtney: But while I’m sitting there, the host comes out, the show starts up, and this poor guy from the front door walks up to me and hands me a couple of tickets. And he’s like, “We’re doing a drawing. We’re doing a giveaway tonight, and I didn’t give this to you before ’cause you didn’t pay the full fee, but now that you did, like, here’s your tickets.” [laughs] So I was like, “Okay, thank you. Sorry again.” And so I have these little tickets. I’m like, “Okay, they’re doing a drawing.” And I wasn’t expecting much from it.

Courtney: But then a bachelorette party comes in. And it was just the worst, because there were, like, pink sashes that were like “Bride-to-be” and “Maid of Honor” and “Bridesmaid,” and they were so loud and they were so obnoxious. And like, one of them had, like, an inflatable penis balloon. And I was like, “This isn’t what I came for.” But I kid you not, they called male strippers! They had male strippers come to this dive bar in the middle of this drag show. And it was the worst! [laughing] It was awful, because now I’m seeing these, like, really buff muscular men take off their shirts and dance around and, like, swinging their shirt over their head and, like, being really sexually promiscuous with this bride-to-be. And I was like, “This is not what I came for. I did not want this.” [laughs] I was quite upset.

Courtney: But that, like, that ended, and I was like, “Well, that was unfortunate, but I’m gonna watch the rest of the drag show and the rest of this night is going to be great.” I ordered a second blue drink, even though I didn’t like it but I still could not think of a single other drink, so when the bartender was like, “Do you want another one?” I was like, “Yep. [laughs] Yep, I’ll have another one.”

Courtney: And then, my friends, you can’t make this nonsense up. I won the raffle. They pulled my ticket out of a cup. And this host, this drag queen, was, like, reading the number and was like, “Get on up here!” So I was like, “Oh my, I won the raffle!” So I walked up to the stage, and the queen’s, like, riffing with me and having a good time, and I was like, “Oh, this is great.” And she was like, “So let’s find out what you won! You won… a 30-minute massage at the massage-slash-tattoo parlor next door.” And I was like, “Massage-slash-tattoo parlor? [laughing] I’ve, I’ve never heard of such a thing!” But they pull out this, like, paper certificate that’s like, “Good for 30-minute massage.” And I had never had a massage in my life, and I wasn’t sure I was particularly interested in getting a massage. But she was like, “Oh, in fact, I think your masseuse is here in the building with us today! Such-and-so, why don’t you come on up here?” And the guy from the front door [laughing] who was passing out tickets and taking the door fee walked around the corner, made eye contact with me, sighed and looked at the floor, and kept his eyes on the floor while he walked up to the stage and stood next to me and would not look me in the eye again. [laughs] He was standing right next to me, and she’s like, “Oh yeah, he’s a wonderful masseuse. He works at the place next door.” [laughs] And I was like, [laughing] “Nooo! This is mortifying!” But it was also hilarious. Because… oh my goodness.

Courtney: And so, for the first time ever going to a bar, being totally on my own, no witnesses here with me, nobody to share in this beautiful stew of embarrassment, I take my paper certificate and I’m like, “I am never cashing this in. [laughs] Absolutely not. I am not going to get this. But I might frame this certificate, though, because this is quite a story.” And so I go and I sit down with my second silly blue drink, for some reason. And then I go to text you because – I texted you and I was like, “Boy, you will not believe the night I’m having.” And you were out having drinks with people from work at that time. So you just, like, texted me a picture of this fancy margarita at a place and you’re like, “Oh, we’re having margaritas,” and I was like, “Margarita! That’s a drink.” [laughs]

Royce: Okay, yeah, that would have been when I was in California, because whatever picture I sent you was a drink that was on fire.

Courtney: On-fire margarita. But yeah, I was like, “Okay, okay, well, while you’re having your fancy on-fire margarita, I’m drinking something blue out of a plastic cup, [laughs] and I really wish I would have thought of the word ‘margarita’ a half an hour ago or an hour ago.” [laughs] So yeah. All in one night: I made a fool of myself counting coins at a bar, only to find out that it’s a cash-only bar; [laughs] had to go to the ATM right next to the guy who watched me count coins; had an awful drink – no idea what was in it or why –

Royce: Twice.

Courtney: – twice; and I was subjected to male strippers; and then they’re like, “You won a massage from the guy who doesn’t want to look you in the eye because you have just been hopelessly weird in front of him all night [laughs] and he’s had it with you and never wants to see you again.” [laughs] So that was my first drag show! Quite, quite an experience.

Courtney: Although now that I think of it, my first actual massage that I did get – which was not from that guy, nor from that establishment – was also very peculiar and quite a story. And honestly, I mean, heck, we have some time. [laughs] Let me tell that story. So I… I’ve never really known if massages would do much for me, because I live with chronic pain. And my grandmother, for a period of time, was getting massages and she was always talking about how nice it was, and I was like, “I don’t know if I want a stranger touching me.” There was just something about it that seemed like, even if it feels good on my muscles, I don’t think I could properly enjoy it. So I never really thought about getting one, and like, they’re also kind of expensive, and it’s like, I might be really uncomfortable the whole time anyway, it might not even help my pain for more than an hour or two. So I was just not particularly interested in redeeming my free massage [laughs] for a number of reasons.

Courtney: But there did come a time – it was actually right after my grandmother died. We had a lot of things to do, a lot of, you know, tying up loose ends after a family member dies. There’s a lot of stuff you need to do: cleaning out the house, paperwork, stuff like that, on top of the obvious grief that you’re experiencing in that moment. And I was just in tremendous amount of pain, but I still needed to travel to finish up some of these things. So kind of just a, like, desperate attempt to do something that might help, I decided, “Well, I’m gonna try to get a massage, and maybe it’ll be fine.” And I didn’t know where to go. So I was just kind of Googling local places. And I found a website for a guy who seemed just like super nerdy and cheesy and, like, the website was all kind of like pop art, comic book kind of themed, and the website was just, like, riddled with puns all over the place. So I was like, “Well, maybe this is the guy. [laughs] Maybe this is where I need to go.”

Courtney: And so I, like, scheduled an appointment, and he asked to call me and talk about, like, what my goals were and what I was looking for. And so, I kind of explained some of my medical issues and how I wasn’t sure if this was actually going to help anything, but I kind of just needed to try something to get me through this period of time. And he was very, very professional and very understanding, and he even, like, did a little bit of his own research about some of the medical terms I was mentioning. So I was feeling just like really comfortable and confident.

Courtney: And he had this, like, massage parlor set up in his house. So this was a residential area, and the address wasn’t posted online. It was like, “After you book an appointment and we talk, then you’ll get the address.” And it ended up being, like, shockingly close to where we live. Like, I was really, really surprised at how close he was. So I was like, “Alright, well, we’ll just give this a try.” And when I showed up, he, like, popped his head out the door. And of course, I’m wearing what I normally wear in public, which is very elegantly outlandish, Gothic, like, very… I don’t know, I guess “extra” [laughs] is the best way to describe it. And he pops his head out the door and he’s like, “Ooh, you do dress like that every day!” And I was like, “What?” And he was like, “Yeah, I’ve heard of you, and I’ve, you know, I’ve seen videos with you in them and stuff.” And I was like, [not pleased] “Oh, this guy knows who I am,” which I guess shouldn’t have been all that weird to me, because as a local person, like, I was currently nominated for, like, a “Best Kansas City influencer.” Which was total fluke, I don’t know how that happened, but that was the year I won, like, “Kansas City Best Local Craft Artist.” So, like, people knew about me, either locally or nationally or internationally if they were interested in like the hyper-niche area I sort of occupy with my work. But it really took me off-guard to show up to just a guy’s house to get a massage, my very first massage, and for him to be like, “Oh, I wonder, you do dress like that every day! That’s not, like, a character that you put on [laughing] for TV and YouTube.” And I’m like, “Nope, I dress like this every day.”

Courtney: And so we get into his house and he’s like, “Oh, before we go to the tattoo parlor,” he’s like, “Here, have a seat,” and is like motioning me over to a couch to sit down at. And he’s like, “Because you are an artist and I highly value your opinion, I’d love for you to tell me –” And he’s wearing glasses. He goes and he, like, opens up a drawer, and he takes off his current pair of glasses and reaches into the drawer and picks up another pair and puts them on. And he’s like, “What do you think of these?” [laughs] And I was like, “They look good. Like, I like them.” He’s like, “Really?” “Uh-huh. Mhm.” He’s like, “Are they better or worse than the ones I was wearing before?” I was like, “You know, actually, I kind of think I like these ones a little better.”

Courtney: And he’s like, “Interesting. Interesting.” And he’s like, “Now tell me, what do you think about –” and he takes those glasses off and he reaches into the drawer and he pulls out another pair of glasses [laughs] and puts them on. “And what do you think about these?” [laughs] And I was like, “Those are nice too.” [laughs] He’s like, “Really.” And he’s like, “So if we’re rating them, like, one to ten…” [laughs] And he, like, had me rank these glasses. And I was like, “I don’t know if I like them as much as the last ones you had on.” And he’s like, “I see. I see.” So he’s like, “So if these ones are, like, a seven, what are these other ones?” I’m like, “Oh, those ones are probably nine.” And he’s like, “A nine. That’s pretty good.” And he’s like, “But tell me…” And he takes off those glasses and reaches into the drawer and pulls out another [laughing] pair of glasses! And he puts them on and he says, [laughing] “What do you think about these?” And at this point, I was like, “Why? [laughs] Why do you have so many pairs of glasses?” [laughs] Oh! [laughs]

Courtney: And I swear, he goes on to, one at a time, model, like, five different pairs of glasses for me, asking me to rate all of them one through ten and asking for my opinion. And when I decided, like, one was, like, “Oh, those are probably my least favorite,” and so I, like, rated it something under five, and he was like, “Thank you very much for your honesty.” [laughs] And I was like, “This is wild!” [laughs]

Courtney: So then he puts all of the glasses back into this drawer, closes the drawer, and puts on his original pair of glasses that he opened the door with. And I was like, “What just happened?” But he was like, “You’re an artist. You have a fantastic sense of style. I highly value your opinion.” So he just had to get my opinion on these, like, [laughing] five different pairs of glasses that he had in a drawer. It was just the most peculiar thing.

Courtney: And then he goes, “Alright, so, before we go into the massage parlor, I want to be fully transparent with you. I don’t currently have my massage license.” I was like, “Oh no! [laughing] Oh no!” And he was explaining, like, “I do actually know how to do this. I had a license at one point.” There was some sort of weird licensing thing. I don’t remember the details – if it was, like, moving from one state to another or something. But he was like, “I want full transparency. I don’t want to lie to you or mislead you.” And I was like, “Man, this is maybe a conversation we should have had over the phone before I got here and before you modeled all of these fine glasses frames for me.” [laughs] But then he was like, “Do you still wish to proceed?” And I was like, “Well gosh, I guess I’m here. [laughs] Like, I’m already here. So… fine. Let’s do it.” [laughs]

Courtney: And that was that. I had the massage. It was okay. As I kind of feared, it didn’t do much for me long-term, so I never went to have another one. But that was also very much a situation where I was like, I didn’t know, like, massage parlor etiquette, and like, yeah, maybe I should have Googled things before going to get a massage, but he was like, “Oh, here I’ll give you some privacy while you, you know, take off your clothes and get on the bed and everything.” And despite the weird, like, comments alluding to the fact that he knew who I was and the glasses modeling and all that, he was very, very professional, and he was very nice. It was just a strange situation all around.

Courtney: And, like, I didn’t feel comfortable getting, like, completely nude. So I left on, like, my underwear, and he seemed really surprised and, like, taken off-guard by that. But I was like, “I don’t want to be completely nude.” And I got the impression that that is what is expected and what you’re supposed to do when you get a massage, because he was like, “Oh, all right, we can work with this.” [laughs] And I was like, “My friend, [laughs] like, everything is weird about this situation, and I refuse to believe that my keeping my underwear on is the weirdest part of this whole situation.” [laughs]

Courtney: So perhaps needless to say, I never got another massage again, and I don’t think I will anytime soon. But it does sort of make me wonder, like, what exactly would have happened if I did go to that massage-slash-tattoo parlor to redeem my free 30-minute massage with my silly… [laughs] like, it was just printed on printer paper – like, someone just made it at home and printed it out and was like, “Free massage!”

Royce: You could have tipped in coins.

Courtney: Oh no! [laughs]

Royce: “Hang on a second. Let me get your tip.”

Courtney: Oh no! [laughs]

Royce: “It’s in the bottom of my purse.”

[both laugh]

Courtney: But that’s exactly what I would have done! And you know I would have! [laughs] Just the absurdity of it all! So yeah, I don’t know what it is about me, but I have a lot of just weird off-the-wall stories of things that just happen to me when I go out into public alone – or with other people. Sometimes, I do have witnesses, [laughs] and I am in a group when weird things happen. But I feel like my weird things meter is heavily skewed. I don’t think the average person has as many weird happenings as I do, [laughs] as perhaps some of our friends could contest.

Courtney: Yeah, now I’m wondering, what would have the conversation been like if I did go to redeem that massage? Because when I actually did get a massage years later with someone totally different, we were talking, like the whole time. We were talking about, like, death and grief, and he was asking me questions about my hair art. And at one point, I actually think he ended up telling me, like, some stories of a good friend of his who is a sex worker also, and I found them fascinating, but the whole thing, I was like, “We are getting into, like, really kind of heavy and taboo topics.” And I don’t know if it’s just because we’re both weirdos and had very weird filters for [laughing] what is and is not appropriate conversation, or if just getting a massage when someone is, you know, in such close contact with you, if things tend to go that direction. But I could only imagine if I had actually gone to the tattoo-slash-massage parlor – I still can’t get over how weird that combination is. I don’t know why that exists or existed. But like, I feel like either it would have been so tense the entire time and just absolutely no conversation whatsoever, or we would have secretly ended up becoming, like, best friends [laughs]. But we’ll never know, because I chose to keep that a weird memory and not go back to see what could have been. Sometimes things are better that way, to just leave it an odd memory.

Courtney: But that is all we have for today. I hope you enjoyed [laughing] the odd little story of my first drag show – and my first massage! That was kind of a two-for-one bonus package. Feel free to tweet at us at @The_Ace_Couple if you are interested in more weird story times, because in the grand scheme of all my weird stories, those two are actually pretty darn tame. Those are probably the normal-er stories I have. [laughs] So, I got loads of others if you want to hear them. They aren’t all necessarily pertaining to Ace things or queer things, but hey, some of them are! Let us know if any of you have any weird stories from your first drag show. And we will talk to you all again same time next week.