By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
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By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
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"I picture myself as someday having a home and settling down with a woman, but it would have to be a home that included Jordy," Stafford says. "Jordy's like my son."
The two didn't attend the Mr. Klubstitute contest this month, but both competed last May in the first annual drag king competition held at the San Francisco Eagle bar, a pageant and photo shoot that resulted in the city's first drag king calendar. Stafford, lankily handsome, appears as a tony "Mr. July," suited up with a hand in one pocket. "Gender confusion is a small price to pay for social progress," the caption reads. (She credits the expression to Zippy the Pinhead.)
Jordy, the chestnut-eyed "Mr. February," sports white military garb. "What are you wearing under your words?" Jordy's caption reads.
The two cohorts these days are basking in some British fame: The BBC has filmed a documentary about them, due to be released next year, and as a result they were flown to London this summer. Which is how they wound up judging that city's first official drag king contest.
"There was a member of Parliament," Jordy begins the tale of the competition, "who died about a year ago of autoerotic asphyxiation. They found him hanging up with his peter hanging out and his face all swollen." Which leads to the matter of Hans Schierl, the contest winner, hands down. Literally. "Hans re-created the death scene onstage, hanging by the neck, jerking off like a maniac, and at the moment of orgasm, blood," Jordy says, totally droll. "Because capillaries do burst. It's not a pretty way to go."
"The crowd thought it was fabulous," Stafford says.
The drag that Stafford is personally most proud of is the gender blow she did for a San Francisco gallery opening, "Vegas in Space."
"I did a military space guy in drag," she says. "I was painted gold and I had a white jacket on, and gold tights, and high boots, and I packed really nicely, so it looked totally real. And I totally passed among people you shouldn't be able to pass in front of. Even the queens couldn't read me."
"It's fun to pass with fags," Jordy agrees. But it's also possible to get in trouble.
"I was cruised once," says Jordy, "by somebody who didn't know me, thought I was a boy, was being quite friendly, was in my field, was in a position to sort of hand out goodies, was horrified when he realized what the real scoop was, and only a couple years later has he finally settled down enough to talk to me. I think it really shook him up."
"It's like when Danny Bonaduce from The Partridge Family found out the person he waR>s dating was a man, and he punched her. It's shocking to a male ego," Stafford says.
I find my mind won't budge from what Stafford said about packing "really nicely."
"What did you use?" I have to ask.
"I think I was using condoms filled with hair gel inside of stockings. Jordy makes them really well," Stafford says.
But what if someone gropes them and they break?
"You use more than one condom, you double or triple sack it, and then you put the nylon on," Jordy explains.
"I've been groped and Jordy's been groped and still passed," Stafford says. "I mean, if you think about it, when you grab a guy's crotch, you can't squeeze very tight or you'll hurt him, so any guy who's going to grab you isn't going to want to grab you to hurt you. So you're just going to get a squishy feeling, like half hard." Stafford knows some of this from her work as a male model. "I did the Stormy Leather fashion show, and backstage I was wearing one under my underwear," she says, "and I totally passed."
They take me to a light box to show me slides of themselves and other drag kings, a term they use for people in performance mode, not for the daily grind. Today, for example, Stafford wears black jeans and a loose black shirt, her close-cropped blond hair curling slightly over a high, classically "masculine" forehead. Jordy wears glasses and a royal red, V-necked sweater befitting a country clubber. One can imagine her later in a man's satin dressing gown, savoring a martini. Strangely, though her face could definitely pass as a man's, it is her ears I notice. I find her ears uniquely male, though by this time I know the word means nothing.
"This is a woman who was a San Francisco fixture for a while," Jordy points to a slide. "Terrible drag king."
"What makes someone a terrible drag king?" I ask.
"She wore those high kind of girly platform shoes," says Stafford. "And I also think she did a butch striptease? Isn't that what she did?"
"Her talent was like, yeccchh," Jordy aR>nswers.
"And also, we know she threw her act together in about five seconds, and if you're not prepared," Stafford says, "it's not going to come off. It's like Leigh -- Elvis Herselvis -- works on her drag all the time and she buys great costumes, and Jordy and I are constantly going to vintage clothing stores."