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SMOKE: Bloke In A Dress

Originally published: 12 October 2004

British comic Eddie Izzard is one of my alltime favourite comedians - a mate of mine always ends up with the latest Izzard videos that his pals send him from the UK and many's the evening we've spent vomiting with laughter.

Izzard is a self-proclaimed "Action Transvestite" - he dresses in women's clothing but is not gay, and has often declared his fondness for laddish behaviour like blowing things up and running around and shooting guns.

I know - that's no doubt the gayest sentence I've ever written, but trust me on the issue - he's not. Told me so himself.

One of his more memorable stand-up pieces (there are millions, actually) was about the stigma attached to being a transvestite. Izzard is not big on intolerance from narrow-minded, underdeveloped human beings who were dipped in the Stupid Pond at birth, and naturally he gets a lot of intolerance when prancing around town in a red latex skirt.

There's no way I could ever do his work justice, but the basic premise is that he'll be walking along and some idiot will nudge his mate, stare and point and shout: "Bloke in a dress!"

He describes how ignoring them and hurrying past always seems to fuel their ire - you know the type.

So he developed a brilliant comeback for such occasions. The guy would scream: "Bloke in a dress!", to which Izzard would reply: "Yeah, and...?"

His rendition of how disarming that is is simply brilliant, because ignorant bullies need their victims to be cowering in fear and humiliation in order to show them the way forward.

As soon as the supposed 'victim' agrees with their sentiments they have nothing left in their pea-brains to process - no familiar situation - and are thus disarmed and stand gawping as Izzard minces past in a fume of fragrances and muslin.

And I think you can take the "Bloke in a dress" theory into everyday life as well. If there's one thing I can't stand (and believe me - there isn't only one thing) it's innuendo and suggestion.

1. "Oh. Are you going to wear that shirt?"

2. "Are you making tea?" (When you're sitting down watching telly).

3. "Isn't buying that mustard quite extravagant?"

You know what I mean. Guilt trips that are laid on you with all the wide-eyed innocence in the world, and which stem from the person laying them on you's own insecurities.

Both parties know what the expected answer to each question is, and either you are the pacifist who gives the expected answer, doing the Right Thing, or - like me - you're the type who uses the "Bloke in a dress" theory.

My answers to those questions above, therefore, would be as follows:

1. "Yup."

2. "Nope."

3. "Nah."

Answers like those either force the Guilt Tripper to finally say what it is they were trying to say through innuendo (eg. "I don't think you should wear that shirt because it's crap and you look like an arse", or "Hey, fat man, get off your fatass and make me some tea or forget about sex for the next fifty years", or "As you know I spend my life consumed with fear and guilt and therefore please don't buy that mustard as it is pricey and would make me worry"), or they are simply neutralised.


I simply cannot abide agendas and hidden subtexts and tones in a voice and guilt trips, and the best way to deal with them is to completely take the joy out of the experience for the person trying to lay them on you.

They always have a desired outcome and if you never deliver that outcome that person will eventually realise their efforts are futile and completely wasted on you and you can actually start having a normal relationship.

Either that, or they drift off to lay their trips elsewhere. Once those trips are laid they hatch little triplets and the last thing anyone needs - especially when tripping - is triplets. Trust me.

I had a pair of twins once while playing around with good friend Nexus and it was a very surreal experience, which ended up with me getting chased out of a room of sleeping goths in a cramped flat somewhere in Tamboerskloof at five o'clock one morning, while some mad bint moaned behind me about the wrath of the Earth Mother and the follies of whiskey spillage.

I believe people should simply speak their piece and be done with it, rather than waste so much time and effort on conniving desired results or emotions out of their victims.

And finger pointers need to get a grip and realise that if they were so damn perfect themselves they wouldn't need to go around pointing fingers. The greatest example history offers us of a finger pointer getting their come-uppance comes from Sir Winston Churchill:

"You are drunk Sir Winston, you are disgustingly drunk."

"Yes, Mrs. Braddock, I am drunk. But you, Mrs. Braddock, are ugly, and disgustingly fat. But tomorrow morning, I, Winston Churchill, will be sober."

I just think folks need to get over their own shit sometimes. He wants to wear a dress? So let him wear a dress. Bloke in a dress. Why not?

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
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