Saturday, September 24, 2005


To celebrate the end of summer (a time when many crossdressers find crossdressing to be inconvenient and/or uncomfortable), Crossdressers International (CDI) had its Fall Fling Dinner Thursday night. This is a name we blatantly stole from the Tiffany Club of New England. And for several of the attendees, this was indeed the first time they had been en femme since last spring--the summer being a time when they can't let their shaven legs be seen, or it's too hot for the wig, pantyhose and make-up.

So sixteen of us went to Le Beaujolais up on Restaurant Row. It's a nice 6-block walk from the CDI apartment--at least if your heels aren't too high. Mine weren't.

Like many of the restaurants there, the place is usually empty by 8:00pm, when the theaters in the nearby Times Square area raise their curtains. So a group the size of ours was a nice bit of extra business for them--when we arrived at 7:50 the only patrons were a couple of guys sitting at the bar.

The food was unremarkable, the service very accomodating, and we had a good time. The evening developed into a joke competition, led by Rita Knight (left), who looked like she had just come from an audition for the role of the mother in Hairspray. Or maybe Dame Edna's understudy. She thoroughly ascribes to the motto of Lady Bunny: "The higher the hair, the closer to God."

Rita is our resident jokester--at least in her own mind. I think the others started telling jokes just in self-defense.

Eventually it was time to leave, and people started discussing where to go next. Most decided to call it a night, but three of us headed down to a club in the Flatiron District where burlesque performer Dirty Martini was to appear. I guess this is a hot place for clubs--there were four of them just on the single block of our destination.

It was a place called Duvet. We had to wait outside for a few minutes, so the club could give the impression it was difficult to get into. When there were enough people lined up behind us, we were admitted.

I must say the decor was very impressive. The bar area was spacious, with beautiful, internally-lit, glass-topped tables attached to the floor. The bar itself was also glass-topped, and lit from below. We bought some rather expensive drinks, and wandered over to the most impressive decoration of all--a large tank filled with dozens of baby jellyfish, gently and gracefully propelling themselves around. The light in the tank changed hue every 15 seconds or so, tinting the all-white creatures. It was mesmerizing.

After staring at the jellyfish for a bit we started looking for the stage, so we could see Dirty Martini. We found it in an entirely separate room--the place is very large, at least by NYC standards. Most of the rest of the room, though, was occupied by beds!

I had read about such places, where you don't sit at tables, you lie on mattresses and pillows. Something like in ancient Rome, I guess. Earlier in the evening they serve food, and that is where people ate. Now people were just lying on them, drinking, and cuddling, or dancing, or rolling around simulating sex.

It was quite clear we were what I call "OITP"--Oldest In The Place. It's a situation I regularly find myself in, sometimes even when I'm just out with my wife. Here, I was probably twice the age of a good majority of the people there. But nobody seemed to care--it's amazing how putting on a dress changes things.

We stood around, not really knowing what to do, when a 20-something woman came over and introduced herself--Lauren. She had a disposable camera and asked if she could take our picture. We agreed, and she took a couple of shots. Then she said she was there with some people "from her agency," and invited us to join them on their bed.

When in Rome...

We followed her, and found ourselves at a very large bed right behind the stage (which doubled as a dance area). Off went our shoes, and up on the bed we went. We sat and talked to Lauren for a bit, as well as we could over the thumping music. Then one of her friends came over, and we all started dancing.

Dancing on a foam mattress is not easy, at least not for me. I noticed that the bed was made of several mattresses, and I had to be careful not to step between them (everything is covered with very nice, very smooth sheets). I also noticed that the mattresses were of widely differing firmness. It was the softer ones that made dancing more difficult.

Eventually Lauren and her friends left. Still no Dirty Martini. We sat for a bit and waited. A somewhat older guy, maybe over 40, came over, trying to convince me to join the Imperial Court. He left, and another twenty-something woman came over with a camera, and asked to take our picture. I talked with her for while, then she left. I put my shoes on and went to get more drinks.

Of course, that was when Dirty Martini showed up. I was told she did her striptease. By the time I returned all I saw was the tail end--of her tail end (I said our bed was behind the stage).

We were hoping she'd do more, but that was it. We did see Amanda Lepore, wearing her surgery and lingerie. We finished our drinks, and called it a night.

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