When you perform glamour stylistically and magically, you are thrusting yourself forward. You are requiring the attention of others – strangers, your goddesses, your spirits, your ancestors, your loved ones, your colleagues and even the goddessdamned Universe Herself.
At first, you’ll be begging to perform. At first, you give yourself away in pieces for the privilege of working your ass off to get to where you are trying to go. At first, everyone will be indulgent and graciously allow you the opportunity to whore yourself out for them.
And then it will be expected.
And it’s never what you expect.
I’m sure RuPaul didn’t expect radio hosts to expect him to be in full drag for radio interviews. But they did. They did until he flatly told them that he only does drag as a paid performance. Dita Von Teese didn’t expect suitors who were part of her personal life to demand that she take off her make up for them so they could see the real her until she informed them that she’ll wear make up to sleep if that’s what she feels inclined to do and demanding she take off her make up for them is every bit as patriarchal as demanding that she wear it. Sara Bareilles got so sick of it she wrote a song about it:
You mean well, but you make this hard on me
’cause you asked for it
’cause you need one, you see
I’m not gonna write you a love song
’cause you tell me it’s
Make or breaking this
If you’re on your way
I’m not gonna write you to stay
Glamour becomes one more way you’re supposed to sell yourself to anyone who wants it. Your perfect cat’s eye, your signature red lip that you mix together yourself, your recipes, your words, your voice, your body, your style, your clothes, your product formulas . . .all of that should be available for anyone’s grabby hands on demand.
And I say, Fuck. Them.
Let’s talk practically about how to do that.
- Know your boundaries. You don’t want to do commissioned art? Don’t do it. You don’t want to show your junk on stage? Don’t. That’s your recipe and you don’t want BeckyFromCoven claiming it’s hers? Don’t give it to her. You don’t want JackAtWork taking all credit for your presentation? Don’t let him be involved. Tell him you’ve got this. Practice what you’ll say when demands are made of you that you don’t wish to fill.
- Show up in sweats and/or heels. The fastest way to rid yourself of the expectation of others is to refuse to adhere to it consistently. Periodically show up places (work, social events, etc) in whatever is contrary to what you usually do. If you are generally very casual and au natural, occasionally put product in your hair and/or put it in a high bun, put on a suit or a dress, wear fancy shoes, put on a fragrance and/or cosmetics. If you are generally v. styled, go bare faced, hair in a ponytail, ballet flats or sneakers. In both situations, have your what you gonna do face prepared.
- Remember to do glamour for you. Yes, part of why we do glamour is for others but the critical other half is for you. What acts of glamour are for you? For me it’s creating for the sake of creating and not for profit (my terrariums, my altars), writing a letter to someone not for the general public, drinking St. Germain and my personal glamour bathing rites.
Your body is yours. Your words are yours. Your work is yours. Your voice is yours. Your thoughts are yours. Your creations are yours. You belong to yourself.
Never forget that.