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It was Easter Sunday in Sevilla, Spain. One of the holiest days of the year, for the Christian faith. As Sevilla is known for its fantastic religious parades during Easter Week, I was right in the thick of it. Penitents, crosses, rosaries – it was a Catholic paradise.
I was staying at a hostel in the old part of town with a few friends I was traveling with through Southern Spain. We were gathered on the rooftop terrace of our hostel, playing drinking games with a large group. Many of you who have traveled quite a bit know that every once in awhile, you get just the right group of people at a hostel to have an unforgettable time. This was one of those nights. There was a larger than life girl from England, traveling with her friend. A solo Canadian guy, who came off as confident, but not too cocky. A group of young Dutch guys, who were witty and hilarious. An Australian lesbian who spoke no Spanish whatsoever. And us, a group of four Americans.
We were sitting around, sharing drinking games from our respective countries, when the manager of the hostel came up. Thinking he was going to shut the party down, we all quickly gathered our things. He mentioned that he was closing the terrace, however, he knew of a great drag show that was happening that night, and would we all like to go check it out with him?
Despite having an early flight to Morocco the next morning, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I had never been to a drag show, and the cherry on top was that it was on Easter Sunday. Our large group traipsed through the city, down by the river, where we reached the bar. As a group of English-speakers, we quickly drew attention to ourselves, from the patrons of the bar and the drag queens themselves.
The show started, and we congregated in the back. Not long after the show began, the drag queens took notice of the blonde Australian girl. They dragged her onto the stage and began asking her a barrage of questions. “Do you like cock?” they asked in Spanish. “You like to suck dick?” As her knowledge of Spanish was completely basic, she stared at us, bewildered, until we translated the questions for her. “She’s a lesbian!” The hostel manager yelled out at the queens. At this revelation, they were ecstatic. The rest of us were dying of laughter, but in the back of my head, as the only other blonde in the room, I knew my time was coming.
Finally, the drag queens set their sights on me. “Blondie! Come up on stage!”. As I had consumed a few beverages at this point in the evening, I resigned myself to my fate, and joined them on stage.
“Well, aren’t you cute,” they crooned. As my Spanish was decent, I was able to hold my own with them for a few minutes. As soon as I started to relax a bit, they changed their tactics.
“Sing us something!”
I blanched. “Excuse me?” I asked nervously.
“Sing us something! We want to hear you sing, blonde!” I looked out at my friend in the audience.
“Lady Gaga!” She mouthed to me. I knew what I had to do. I grabbed the mike and sang my rendition of “Poker Face”. The queens loved it. The gays loved it. I’m not sure my boyfriend, who was in the bathroom when I was summoned and returned to find me sandwiched between two drag queens, belting out Gaga like I was born to do so, loved it, but we can agree to disagree there.
I finished my song, and with a little slap on the booty, they sent me off the stage. I was riding high on the adrenaline rush that my performance had given me.
As we walked back to the hostel in with the sun just peeking up over the horizon, I heard one of the Dutch boys think aloud, “I am from Holland, but that is the gayest thing I’ve ever seen”.