Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How I Came to Judge a Drag Competition in Senegal

Yesterday was a Mardi Gras celebration, hosted by the caltholic community here on campus. The catholics are the big partiers, so it promised to be a real blow-out. About 10 pm, my friends and I went to the cafeteria where they had pushed tables to the outside of the room. Mardi Gras, here in Senegal, is essentially a drag show. The girls dressed up as men were pretty silly and tame. Slightly sacreligious though, as some of them dressed up as leading conservative Muslim leaders. They made my friend Megan be Jesus for the skit, because she's white, like the picture of Jesus on the wall. She protested, for the record. The guys dressed as girls, however, were scandelous! Oh man, I havent seen so much leg since The Terrace in August. Each group of dorms, called villages, organize a skit and wear costumes, but each sex is supposed to dress like the other. These skits were....trippy. They were a cross between slapstick comedy, Religious lessons to celebrate the beginning of Lent, and a full out drag show. Clever and hilarious. Before the competition between villages, I was sitting in the back, laughing at all the enormous muscular african men stuffed into sassy miniskirts and prom dresses, with full makeup and wigs. Anyway, a guy came up to me and asked if I would be a judge for the competition. Why sure! So I got to sit up front, and they poured me a big glass of, yup, whisky (told you the Catholics were frisky) and the competition began. Let me tell you, Senegalese guys know how to work heels. I judged them on punctuality, animation, number of participants, and creativity of theme. It was often hard to see where the moral biblical lesson ended and the comedy started. It was funny to not take it seriously.

I got to play Vannah White at the end, and hand out prizes. I will try to show pics later, but I do have to say that one of my most shining moments here in Senegal has to be me posing with the winning village: 20 Senegalese men who were all prettier than me.


Krista M said...

This may be one of the best stories I've ever heard.

In fact, this should be a story passed down from generation to generation. Seriously. When you're a grandma, you'll have to make sure to tell it to everyone you meet! Stop people in grocery stores, roll down your windows at stoplights, sit next to people on park benches...tell the world!

Once again. Best. Story. Ever.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Casam.