RuPaul's Drag Race pretty religiously and have written about what I love about it, here. I even watched the contrived--let's just give Chad Micheals the crown and some prize money since, apparently it was difficult to give Sharon Needles the crown outright--Drag Race All Stars this summer. So, when Season 5 started three weeks ago, I had my DVR ready and happily watched after a long first day of classes.
So, it's clear I have a little bit of love for RuPaul (p.s. part of the title comes from her). No, I don't listen to his music, but I feel like I've been a champion (never gonna stop) of his work for quite some time. She's pretty mainstream, what José Muñoz might call, "sanitized, assimilated" drag, but I just love seeing a 6 foot tall Black man doing a pretty standard drag performance. And he's made a mainstream career out of it. Now, I don't know RuPaul, she may be the most fame hungry, celebrity grubbing, will never stop using the pejorative "tranny (!)" and supporting Shirley Q. Liquor (!) drag queen out there, but I have to hand it to her. He has managed to produce and maintain one of the gayest shows on television right now. In a moment when all things are gay, or gay-loving, we love the gays!--she and her writers have managed to make it just a little bit gayer. Not only is it a show about drag queens from all around
Still, my love has been short-lived. Beginning with the first episode and in every episode since, the queens and RuPaul herself, have made it clear that they are "serving fish." As in "I'm serving Rodeo Drive fish (Alyssa Williams)" or, as one of the queens said when she walked in to meet the others, "It's awfully fishy up in here," or, RuPaul's question before a recent episode of the behind-the-scenes Untucked (Come on, that is a straight up fabulous name for a backstage show!), "Which one of these fish will surface to the top?" Ok, record scratch, dammit.
What's up with all the "fish" references?
I know I'm about to step off into something I know very little about, like the use of the phrase "serving fish" in drag queen culture. If we could've talked about RuPaul's Drag Race and "terrorist drag" last night in my graduate class, believe me I would've and I'd have a better understanding of the use of "fish" from several experts in the room. Still, my base understanding is that serving fish is performing an ultra-feminine, standard version of drag. Essentially what RuPaul has been serving for two or three decades, no? That's all well and good. It may not always be the most exciting form of drag, but I can get down with it. I love a good, standard queen--even pageant queens--who can bring it. But, really, serving fish? Do I have to hear this every time I watch, in or out of context? You want me to watch your show, support you, when you can't problematize that shit a little bit? Like, I think it's about 2013, can't we can throw out the female + vagina = fish reference? You know, like this more than reliable and yes I'm being sarcastic urban dictionary entry:
If you can't read it, the first definition is the "feminine drag" definition. But then, #2, whose definition reads, "A term used when someones vajayjay smells like it hasn't been washed for the past few days" gets creative and paints a scenario, "John: 'Oh my! I could tell you're serving fish from two corners away. Mariah: Shut up! I've been begging you to fix the shower for 5 days!" Isn't that sweet: let me paint you a picture, just in case you didn't understand the first time.
I guess it's refreshing (like Summer's Eve) to note the number of folks who have given this a "thumbs down," outnumber those who give it a "thumbs up." Or, at least I thought it was refreshing until I did a little Internet search on fish and vagina--I know, the ways I fill my time--and there are several medical websites and numerous products to help women address our inevitable "fishy odor" or "odour."
|with you from A to Z, for your V|
Peek-a-Ru, Ru. I see you.