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Musical cheers

Wearing makeup for a gay party is just another of the exhilarating experiences that are part of coming out to the world

“Okay what vibe do you need?” asks my friend Nayna, as we prepare for my first gay party in the Capital city. A city where I hid my sexuality for a long time, until I came out in the open. It wasn’t just any other night going to a pub, but to a safe space — where no judgements are entertained, besides your orders for drinks.

I fortunately got the invitation by The Lalit Hotel for the Halloween night touted as “Drag-O-Ween.” As the name suggests, the party was going to be about spectacular drag performances along with keeping Halloween spirits high.

In a brightly lit room of my friend’s flat, we continue to drink our own version of a vodka cocktail, as Buttons by The Pussy Cat Dolls graces the whole room with sass and some more.

I wore makeup only once before this night, when the same friend who handles whatever demand I throw at her, happily agreed to do so. However, the situation was different this time. I was going out of the comfort of my bedroom, and ushering myself into the public.

As comfortable as I am with my sexuality today, there are some inhibitions which haven’t left me. Wearing makeup in public was one. Nonetheless, I wanted to do everything that I imagined as a growing teenager when I’d go to a gay party in Delhi.

Just when my drink is finished, the makeup process too concludes. I see myself in the mirror, and I tell myself “You look beautiful tonight.” Green eyeliner and golden eyeshadow turned out to be a great combination.

Within seconds, I know I’m doing the right thing. As I look back at my past, I see myself in the mirror, as an over-achiever — personally. From a scared, bullied child to a full-grown man, embracing and enjoying all that doesn’t really match the status quo.

The scene in the club was everything I imagined as a teenager to be. Gay men making out, dancing with all their energy. Not caring whether one is looking or judging them for the “girlish” moves or just not letting them be.

My three friends and I caught their vibe in seconds, and found ourselves being part of that vibe. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care who is looking at me or who could be interested in talking to me.

For the fact that this night was a not a regular night in a pub, but a night to just experience myself. I was bringing the version I had until then restricted to my bedroom. I was dancing in a big-big room with a large number of people. It felt truly liberating.

Soon after, the drag performances started. These superconfident men dressed in stunning outfits, showcasing the avant garde of the LGBTQI culture, was nothing short of mesmerising. In awe, I stood there soaking in all the confidence they were exuding, as we throw millet to birds.

Never in my life had I seen such a gathering of people who were not afraid of being judged while diminishing all the reasons one usually encounters for being gay. In the middle of the act, I not only felt truly powerful, but I aspired to be on that stage. Yes, the vibe was that powerful for me. I could not stop waving my hands at them or clapping.

Not just because these performances were entertaining, but they were an extended and a fancier version of myself on some days I’m truly happy in my bedroom.

Soon after, another artist came dressed in a bridal dress. At first sight I thought it would be a mellow number. But who was I kidding? The artist chose Bring Me to Life by rock band Evanescence. A gothic metal song.

This 6-feet tall artist dancing with all this energy on that song in five-inch heels leaped into a split. It was not truly remarkable, but it hit me with another thing — my alter ego — which I thought was only mine.

Later, minutes before slumbering, I realised that we (gay men) do have an alter ego, one which is restricted to the bedroom. Waiting to be unleashed, shattering the status quo, stereotypical it may be, but waiting to burst. While some, like the drag artists continue to showcase it in public, others like me, confine it to the bedroom. Until the time we step on the stage. The aspiration continues…