Due to the pandemic, I’ve been trying to steer clear of Boystown. The last time I was there, back in August, it didn’t seem like the kids were taking social distancing all that seriously. So, for the last 6 months we’ve been exploring other parts of the city. But, now that cases are down and many people are vaccinated it felt like the time was right to get back to our roots.
So, we got a reservation at the City Suites hotel, just steps from the train at Belmont and across the street from Berlin – our favorite dance/drag club. Unfortunately, Berlin is still closed and dancing is still illegal in Chicago -it’s like living in a Footloose movie. As for dinner, we got a reservation at Wood – definitely our favorite restaurant in Boystown – and decided to play it by ear for after dinner activities.
The outing was for a Saturday, so if you know my family situation, you know that means I needed to get the kids to grandmas house, out in the suburbs on Friday night. Usually, it’s a crazy traffic situation, but this time I had it all figured out. The kids were to be all packed up the night before and my son and I would pick up my daughter from school at 3:30, so we could leave directly. At 3:20 we head to the parking garage in my building and I’m like, ”Dude! Where’s the car?” And then it dawned on me and I was like, “Oh Shit!!!” You see, I usually take the train to work, but on this day I took the car and then forgot about it and took the train home (it’s okay to laugh, I did … eventually). My perfect plan was up in smoke. So, I went to get the car and we were on the road by 4:05 – not ideal, but still out earlier than usual.
Got back home and needed to pack. At that point, I had no idea what I was gonna wear. My plan was to put on some hip pads and just start trying stuff on. Whatever felt right would get thrown in the suitcase. However, before doing that, I needed to make an appointment at my favorite nail salon. So, I called, in my male voice (my only voice), and they were like, “Oh Julie, it’s been so long.” I think the last time was December 2019. They were mostly booked up in the morning, but managed to squeeze me in at 11:15. It was really great to see them again. They’re always interested in knowing about the events of the evening, what I’m planning to wear and general chat about life. I’m Facebook friends with one of the ladies and by coincidence she just posted about becoming a citizen today. She was super excited and I’m so happy for her.
I wanted an early nail appointment, because the hotel was giving us an early check-in – when does Julie not want an early check-in? Rather than meet me at the hotel, Rubi met me at the salon and it was cool to chat while my nails dried under the fan. The plan was to be ready by 3pm so we could get in a little shopping before dinner. I was pretty focused and ended up being ready before 2:30. Going lighter on the eye makeup for a daytime look definitely helped. I was still over dressed for Saturday afternoon shopping, but when isn’t Julie over dressed.
Rather than take the train downtown, we decided to stroll the neighborhood. First stop was DSW. Found some cute black strappy heels and the size 10s almost fit, but they didn’t have size 11. Before we left the room, Claudia was talking about having trouble finding shear hosiery at Target and other places. DSW had some, so I picked up a pair for her and another for myself. Walking down Clark street, we noticed a boutique hosiery shop. The owner was super cool and was telling us about how she just opened the shop and was specializing in high quality imports from Europe. I ended up buy some nude fishnets to use if I ever start doing Burlesque again. At Clark and Diversey there’s an AKIRA. I’ve been there like a dozen times and found so many great finds there. Rubi is also a huge fan of AKIRA and we were looking forward to whatever surprises might be awaiting us. But, when we got there, we found that it had succumb to the pandemic. No worries, there’s a Loft store next door. Well, there was. Damn pandemic! Okay, we settled for the boring Urban Outfitters and Banana Republic. At the later, I tried on a green sequins dress, but it had no shape whatsoever. Behind the door, Rubi asked how it was going and I replied, “It’s a grandma dress.” We called it quits after that and decided to head over for some Chicago style hotdogs and some awesome fries at the place next door to the hotel. On the bright side, while waiting for the Uber, we found some great sunlight and snapped some fun selfies.
Back at the hotel, Rubi and I took a quick cat nap (definitely needed after that bucket of French fries). Makeup-wise, my foundation was holding up pretty well, so I focused on getting a more dramatic look for the evening – more contour and highlight, much darker eye makeup and some giant lashes. All of this was to go with the extremely form fitting sparkly dress I was gonna wear. Way over dressed for just dinner and drinks, but it was Boystown and I always figure there’s no way to over dress for Boystown.
The Cubs game had just ended, so our plan to take an Uber to the restaurant was thwarted. No worries, the walk was not to bad. If you’re worried about Julie in those sparkly heels, you might remember my Drag March for Change post where I walked the entire length of Boystown in those same heels. In comparison, this short walk was a breeze. At dinner, the first topic of conversation was, “Why has Julie been ghosting everyone on messenger?” The short answer is that a few weeks earlier I joined this Facebook group that’s pretty much dominated by TERFs. So, I’ve been kind of obsessed with shooting down their arguments. It’s a bit of a blackhole, so I’m working on keeping it in perspective and trying not to let it dominate my life. At some point, I might make a post about it, cuz it’s a rather interesting exploration into how these self-described feminists justify their transphobia. On the plus side, one of the posts in that group was about Ezra Furman and how she just came out as a trans woman.
I had never heard of her before, so I did a little googling. Long story short, I’ve got a new favorite musician and have been listening to her obsessively for about 2 weeks now. Check out this song https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=avv6amimp_8 Music is a big part of my life, but it’s been like 2 decades that a song has hit me with so much emotion and intensity. Listen to the lyrics and I think you’ll know what I’m talking about. And then, there’s this one https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rkEkjxX_YrM which I think might be the exact song I’ve been looking for to develop into a Burlesque routine. There was plenty of other conversation at dinner and everyone had kinda some big news. I would share, but it’s definitely too much information about the personal lives of my friends for this forum.
After dinner, we went across the street to Scarlet Bar, but they had no drag show and no dancing. I tried to stand at our highboy table and swing my hips a bit, but within 2 minutes a bouncer, who kinda looked like Lori Lightfoot, informed me that all patrons must remain seated. After one drink at Scarlet, we headed to Big Chicks in Uptown, where the conversation got kinda philosophical and I managed to snap a few mirror selfies in the bathroom.
We ended the night at this awesome dive bar called L&L Tavern, which has a great jukebox and super friendly people to talk to (I guess that’s the definition of a dive bar). It was only a block from our hotel, but on that short walk my feet were just about done with those heels, so I went barefoot most of the way. I think I’ve said this in a previous post, but barefoot and carrying your heels is one of the most feminine feelings I’ve ever experienced. I guess a fitting end to a most enjoyable day.
ps: I just got a pic from Claudia of me on that barefoot walk – definitely not dainty. Now I remember why I post so few pics from the end of the evening – drunk and disheveled ain’t pretty.