When Russell T. Graham '95 headed over to the Garment District in Central Square late last week, he wasn't looking for the best bargain on jeans or a sweater. In fact, other customers gave him strange looks when he began trying on skirts and blouses.
A sympathetic saleswoman finally helped him out and he returned with a tight-fitted, black suede skirt, a polyester gold-colored blouse, black mesh and net pantyhose. Thursday night, he wore his new duds around his house, Adams House.
Of all college traditions the Adams House Drag Night is perhaps one of the more bizarre.
Around 6:30 p.m. last Thursday, the guys started pouring in--some in short, tight black dresses complete with black pantyhose, black high heeled shoes and wigs, others with nothing but a casual flowered skirt and T-shirt.
Kitt N. Hirasaki '96, for example, wore a black bra stuffed with toilet paper and a short black skirt which he described as "rolled up in the Catholic girls' school style."
At one point in the evening, just as Hiraski asked whether he looked attractive, a male friend of his walked by and said, "Holy shit! You look great as a girl."
When the show on stage started, students crowded the dining hall, laughing and cheering on their friends' performances.
Hirasaki, who described his appearance as "a la Uma Thurman style," started dancing on a table to music of RuPaul. Occasionally, he would jump to another table and continue the dance.
But the real show happened earlier, as Adams men figured out what to wear. Several guys confessed to spending days hunting for clothes and preparing for their performances.
Hirasaki said he tried on various wigs at the Boston Costume Store before he finally decided on one with black shoulder length hair. Graham said he cut himself countless times while shaving his legs.
And Lester H. Miller '95 went through a 90-minute make-up session with his friends to dress up as Ginger Rogers, a female character in a 1930's Fred Astaire movie. To prepare, he also watched one of Astaire's movies.
Miller ended up wearing a long, beige lacy dress with sewn-on flowery beads--a get-up he described the dress as the height of "1930's elegance." His hair was curled into little twirls at the sides, and he also wore bright red nail polish.
"I feel elegant. The heels make me feel tall," said the 5'6" Adams student.
Not as many women cross-dressed. But those that did, wore suits with ties and painted light mustaches over their top lips.
There is some concern in Adams House about the future of drag night. Some worry that fewer students will want to participate because reform of the house lottery "has changed the artsy, strange character of the house," according to Graham.
But that didn't put a damper on the fun Thursday night.
Joel L. Derfner '95, whose picture appeared on the front page of yesterday's Crimson, wore a long, black velvet ball-gown that he borrowed from a friend. He accessorized with satin gloves, dangling crystal earnings and an elaborate glittering necklace. He let his red hair stay as is.
"When women dress up they look like glamorous, shining songbirds," Derfner said. "When men dress up we look like head-waiters. I wanted to look like a song-bird tonight."