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Saturday Nights in Santa Cruz

By Geoff Bendeck

There comes a time in every man’s life when he decides to put on a dress and you know…try it out. In the villages of Lake Atitlán, indigenous men have been dressing up in colorful outfits for generations, but only on Saturday nights at La Iguana Perdida in the village of Santa Cruz do they don drag for a night of flamboyant bohemianism. 

Mindful of the risks involved, we sent our very own Geoff Bendeck on a mission to infiltrate the drag party. This is his story:

I arrived at La Iguana Perdida unsure of what to expect. Questions raced in my head. Would I look hot in a dress? Would my hairy legs and chest be accepted here? Would bartending in a dress slow me down? Would rhetorical questions be answered?

My first stop was the costume closet. There destiny found me in the form of a silk pink slipover and fluorescent wig. I put on my dress at three in the afternoon, feeling apprehensive about my first foray in drag (that night in college totally doesn’t count; it’s not drag unless you’re conscious). I peered out from behind the curtains in my room, past the cobblestone path leading to the restaurant and patio and saw people…everywhere. I puffed out my chest and sauntered out in my bright pink get up. Backpackers peered up at me from hammocks and patio chairs, “Very Niiiice,” their eyes said. I walked past them and into the bar and restaurant to assume my position as bartender. I said to myself, “I am drag bartender, hear me roar!” But not in a gay way.

No one else put on drag for several more hours. After the Saturday night BBQ dinner, the party exploded with shots and flowing bottles of Jose Cuervo. Aireekah, our bar manager’s “twin sister,” danced in heels on the dinner table as women with fake moustaches grabbed she-male buttocks and for once in their lives got to yell out such things as “what’s my name b*tch!” and other mildly sexist expressions.

The next day after waking up to smeared makeup on my pillow and wearing a pink mumu, I knew I couldn’t do this again… at least for another six days.

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