"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.