From Iceland — What a Drag: A maiden voyage into the wild and wonderful world of drag

What a Drag: A maiden voyage into the wild and wonderful world of drag

Published April 2, 2024

What a Drag: A maiden voyage into the wild and wonderful world of drag
Photo by
Joana Fontinha for The Reykjavík Grapevine

The lights are burning straight into my eyes. One wobbly step at a time I click-clack onto the stage like a drunk flamingo. The undeniably queer audience roars in support. I look stunning and, more importantly, no one can tell my panties are rising up so high it feels like I’m being wedgied. I have no idea how I got here, but I’m performing in a drag show.

Hi, I’m Charlie, and I am proud to say that alongside being a public menace I am now officially a drag queen. I recently had the amazing opportunity to perform at the Gaukurinn under the drag name “Sissy Fuss.” And since I’ve already gone through the arduous process of pulling myself up by my thigh highs, I’m here to give you the tea on what it’s like to do drag (at least from the male perspective).

Just as I’m not straight because I kissed a girl that one time, I am also not an expert on drag just because I put on heels once.

Firstly, let’s turn to the ancient texts to understand what it means to drag. According to Wikipedia, drag is the art of exaggerated gender performance. Femininity, masculinity and everything inbetweenity meld together as performers cross-dress, strip and tear apart a variety of gendered boundaries, often while lip syncing to Lady Gaga. Of course, this is the simplest breakdown of this art form and just as I’m not straight because I kissed a girl that one time, I am also not an expert on drag just because I put on heels once. The performances can vary from a Dracula impersonator slowly turning into Elvis Presley to an emotional play about young women discovering their lesbian sexuality and giving birth to a dildo — neither example is a joke. Shit’s wild. Shit’s great.

If any of that sounds like your cup of tea, it’s time to march yourself down to Kíkí or Gaukurinn (the two largest queer venues in the country). Other places have regular drag shows as well, but you’ll have to go digging around. If you’re tired of voyeurism and want to get in on the action, the best place to start is at an open drag night. Some are organised during Reykjavík Pride, where newly hatched drag queens are let loose on stage to flap their wings for the very first time. I was lucky in that I was able to secure a mother, a drag queen who would guide me. After much blackmailing, Sparkle took me under her wing. She did warn me though, that few Queens can contain the woman within.

Tucking…dear god, the tucking… I didn’t even know my penis could do that.

I learned the hard way that a drag show doesn’t start on the stage. It starts in the shower, shaving every inch of your hairy man body. The show goes on by shoving your now sliced-up but buttery-smooth fat ass into the tightest corset, panties and kinky little maid outfit the market has to offer. You stack on layer after layer of makeup till your face looks like a wedding cake. Tucking…dear god, the tucking… I didn’t even know my penis could do that. You then strap on the most ankle-breaking heels imaginable. I’m telling you, guys, Reykjavík is cold enough when you’re wearing a jacket — I have a newfound respect for the women rocking tights and skirts in this weather.

But once you get on that stage there’s nothing like feeling that inner femininity taking over. Heels, skirt, makeup, the works. The suffering was all worth it. I look amazing. All I can do is hope I won’t get my wig snatched. As my body moves to the rhythm of the music I smile, for yes, I do imagine that Sissy Fuss is happy.


Want more Charlie Winters in your life? Keep up with their musings right here.

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