Stephen shows me the digital face of his cell phone. It reads, "Evil Bitch."
"Misty put it on there," the talkative bleach-blond said as he set the phone down next to a stack of singles. "That's what she calls me."
We're waiting, along with a few scattered groups in the tastefully decorated dim room at Trixies (600 S. Dixie Hwy.) in Hollywood, for Miss Misty Eyez and her tall, svelte, diva cohost, Taylor, to finish their wardrobe change and reoccupy the stage. During the day, Stephen works with Misty as a server in an Aventura restaurant and is now a loyal dollar-wielding fan at her Tuesday-night Trixies gig.
Stephen was telling me his life story while I sipped a rum and Diet. Suddenly, I felt the light scratch of press-on nails grazing my shoulder and looked up to find all of Misty Eyez's six feet, seven inches (in six-inch heels) hovering over me. She flipped her long blond wig as she leaned down to whisper: "I don't usually perform this number when there's so few women in the house, but this next one is for you." She ran her fingers through my hair, and then walked off for a chat with co-owner Carlo before starting her next set.
Stephen continued where he left off, telling me about the horrible experience he had at the WASPy wedding of a high school friend who went to Dartmouth. "My friend was getting her Ph.D in astrophysics, and one of her gangly friends in a cotton dress stood sideways with her hip stuck out -- nobody needs to stand like that. I ask her if she's with the bride or the groom. She said she was with the bride, and I said, 'You must study astrophysics too.' She said, 'Yes, but your friend studies the whole universe.'" Stephen thrusts a finger in my face, as she did to him: "'I study just one star.'"
Then Misty took the mic, and her husky voice drowned out our conversation. "We have three-dollar Long Island Iced Teas. Drink, drink, drink. The more you drink, the better we look." She let out a series of high-pitched chuckles and continued, "This next one is for all of the ladies in the house." I whooped in excitement, which was protocol. Misty repeated herself, so I whooped again. "Courtney, honey, we know you're here," she said, and continued, "OK, it seems some of the ladies are ignoring me." She stared down what appeared to be a lesbian couple on the other side of the bar, who still paid her no mind. Then she uttered her stock self-introduction: "Please welcome to the stage the most beautiful drag queen in the world, Miss Misty Eyez!"
But this number pushed diva glamour to the point of the grotesque. Dance music blasted. Then there was a flood of lip-synched lyrics, "Show me your pussy/I wanna see your pussy/Everybody says it's nice." Misty strutted across the stage in a short black gossamer dress, twirling and posing with her finger pressed to her open lips in mock innocence. Every move she made, from the flutter of her eyelids to the vibrato-like tremble of her lower lip, was a calculated well-timed gesture. As the song delved more deeply into twat fascination, she slowly drew her skirt up her thighs to reveal a big, fake, foam-and-rubber vulva with a stringy black mane. Naturally, dollar bills began to gravitate toward the bearded clam. One nightlife columnist, let's not mention names, nearly came face to face with the labios major. And that's about as close as most non-neoconservatives ever get to a drag queen.
Hours before her performance at Trixies, around 5:30 p.m., when, if traffic was any indication, most South Floridians were heading toward the Marlins' Boat Parade in downtown Fort Lauderdale, I was heading to Hollywood to meet Misty for an exclusive wardrobe interview: to watch her male self, Dakota, become Misty.
Dakota met me in front of the suburban house where he rents a room. We walked through the quaint, meticulous living room and kitchen to Misty's clothes-strewn bedroom in the back. Two big suitcases full of women's clothes dominated the center of the room. Two racks of men's clothing hung from racks in one corner. Misty's tiny black purse rested on Dakota's large white sneakers. Open foundation and eye-shadow tubes were all over the floor in front of the makeshift vanity where Misty, at this point a hefty man wearing only rouge-smeared teal cotton shorts, sat Indian-style on the floor to do her makeup.
She pulled a large zebra-patterned pillow off her bed and put it on the floor for me to sit on. I flipped through her scrapbook-like portfolio, which was loaded with pictures of Misty performing and partying. Some pages had labels like "Misty as a brunette", with several images of her performing that look.
She applied thick red powder foundation to her neck and white powder to her forehead so it would look like a woman's more rounded one.
I asked Misty about her drag career and about her voice.
"I sing in the Gay Men's Chorus of Fort Lauderdale. But my voice is a bass baritone, so it's kind of deep. And as a woman, that's not attractive." She laughs.
"The drag persona I portray is a glamorous diva. If I was a campy drag queen, then I would sing a lot, and my voice would be very funny. But I want to be like a supermodel drag queen. A glamazon."
How long has she been performing in South Florida?
"I've been living in Florida for a year and a half and performing here for a year and a half. I'm a relative newcomer, still getting my name out."
She performs every Tuesday night at Trixies -- a fun bar, but hardly the Coliseum on Saturday night -- and occasionally at other clubs and benefits. (I met her October 19 at the Red Ball, which I described in last week's column.)
Where did she perform before she came to South Florida?
"In Oklahoma," she responded.
Was she a small-town or city boy?
"I lived in Tulsa, but actually, to be honest, I'm a full-time Kentucky boy. I went to college in Oklahoma."
"Oral Roberts University." Oh. Turns out, Misty's father was a pastor.
I asked Misty how, especially considering her background, she got into drag.
"I was a theater major in college," Misty replied. "I started drag in Tulsa for Halloween. Well, first of all, I always made fun of drag queens. I'd always known that I was gay, and I was like, 'Drag queens -- whatever. If I wanted a girl, I'd date a girl.' I didn't really like drag queens, but everyone always told me that I should be one. I was like, 'No way.'
"But my face was so pretty. I've always been an actor. I've always been a singer. I've always been a stage presence. They said, 'You should do drag.' No, no, no. But I lost a bet with one of my gay friends and she was a drag queen, and she said that... he said that if I lost that he would put me in drag for Halloween. 'Cause I would only do it for Halloween."
She continued. "I said, 'OK, fine.' Plus, I was anxious to do it. And it was Halloween, so no one could make fun of me if I looked terrible. And when I was done, I looked in the mirror, and I almost passed out. I was like, 'Oh my God.' My first thought was that I looked like my mom. I said, 'Oh my God -- I'm my mother.' And then I was like, 'I'm not my mother -- I'm a porn star. Oh my God -- I'm really pretty.' I was like, 'I'm hot,' and it really freaked me out."
How old were you?
Misty replied, "It was '97, so I was 23. Once I did it, I didn't do it again for a long time, but I always wanted to. Then a benefit came up. It was like a red ribbon review. And, uh, they're like, 'Why don't you do drag?' And I was like, um, you know what, it's a good cause, and I wanted to be pretty. So I did it again, and I was addicted. I've been doing it ever since."
"Except I dated a guy and quit for two years 'cause he didn't want to date a feminine guy. He wanted to date a masculine man."
Dating-wise, Misty informed me, drag-queen status tends to be a drag. "I like gay men, but in the gay community, men worship drag queens. They love them. They support them. They tip them. But when it comes to dating one, none of them want a drag queen. The land of the homosexual worships masculinity. They all want to be masculine and to have a masculine boyfriend."
This leaves Misty with a peculiar dating option. "There are a lot of straight guys who'll come to my show. I've dated many straight guys, but it'll never work. Because there'll always be the time they'll want to come over and I'm not dressed, and then they'll see me as a boy. Then their whole world is shattered, because they're not gay."
There are several levels of drag-queen gender status, she explained. "When I was in Tulsa, all the drag queens were like me; they worked a day job as a boy, and then at night, they would dress in drag. But in South Florida, all these girls down here get boobs, and then they live as women. After you get your boobs done, you can't go to Wal-Mart as a dude anymore. You can't go to the beach as a dude. And I'm just an impersonator: I don't live that way."
When you're Misty, do you have a consistent personality?
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"When I started, Misty's personality was very different from Dakota's personality, but I've been doing it for so long that they're starting to mesh. So I'm becoming more feminine as a boy every day. I'm becoming Misty more as Dakota than when I originally started. But Misty is always the same. She's like a party girl; she's fun."
Does that bother you, that she's overtaking you?
"Um, sometimes I get invited to places, and they want her. Part of me is like, 'Oh, you don't like me.' Cause Misty's not really who I am. Um, and a part of me, I guess, might be bothered.
"But I also realize that Misty is a celebrity, and I'm not. So I can understand that. Like, who wants the girl from high school to go to the party with you rather than Paris Hilton? You know? You choose Paris Hilton. I have to separate between the two. I'm also a very conscientious person. I'm very perceptive, rather, and I have to perceive people's true intentions. But, I know they're not trying to hurt me, the people that only want Misty to be somewhere. And they don't say, 'I don't want you to come as Dakota.' But they're like, 'Oh, it would be so fabulous if you came as Misty.'"