The idea of us throwing a Christmas party in our sordid and profane little basement hideaway in the San Fernando Valley was Tranny Manifest Destiny in those heady years of 1997, 1998 and 1999. It was a chance to dress up in red, gold and green, wrap oneself up as a present, wear slutty Santa outfits, drink heavily and hopefully end up snuggled up with some warm body. I’m not sure whose idea XXXmas originally was; I know I named it XXXmas, Brigitte did the first flyer, Niki invited people, Bev made the punch, and Brandi took most of her clothes off, which was not unusual, but always festive.
Michelle, our notoriously kinky corset-diva friend, had volunteered to be a human Christmas tree for the first one, but showed up instead to drink and have marathon sex with a guy in a Levi’s Jacket. Actually, that was XXXmas 3 as I recall now. The sun was up when I went home, and she wasn’t the only one having sex in the living room. I’d already finished getting frisky in the bedroom and was about to drive home in broad daylight to the suburbs. I have no idea what I told my long-suffering wife other than the usual at-home estimate of dawn. No wonder she began each day with a good strong hit of Cannibis. I usually drove home as the sky turned from black to deep blue, but that morning guys were out mowing their lawns. I still marvel that I’m not divorced or dead from a justifiable homicide on my wife’s part; gender identity crisis, indeed.
We were all married men who had a secret yearning to be female; “why?” seemed unimportant to us. We had rented this apartment on an impulse, of which we had many, and control over none. We needed a place to do our hair, our makeup, our outfits and often, each other, as well as a parade of random strangers we would drag home from the Queen Mary just up the street. We became known as the Couch Kittens, and our place just named itself; The Slutte Hutte. Niki had scrounged some hideous Southwestern Couches that I would eventually cover with Cheetah print fabric, and I put up backlit parasols, fans and a few other things that made the Hutte a home.
I was still drinking during the first celebration, and our planning was, shall we say, “Organic”? I went to the Costco in Northridge and loaded up on supplies; Rum, Vodka, beer, wine, Gallons of orange juice (or just like it) cranberry juice and a variety of frozen appetizers; pastry thingies, mini quiches, anything in a box in a quantity higher than 50 and with at least 16 grams of fat per serving. This included the soon-to-be infamous Slutte Hutte XXXmas appetizer; two pounds o’ lil’ weenies. I eagerly embraced the role of hostess like a 6’3” Joan Crawford dressed like a streetwalker.
The tiny back bedroom was our boudoir, built of found objects and irrational ingenuity. Stunningly beautiful Bev was a master carpenter, and made us a long dressing table of scrap wood using a dull-bladed Skil saw under the influence of at least six of Brandi’s lethal martinis. She cursed life, carpentry, manhood and the dull saw blade the entire time. It was who she was. I assembled lights and mirrors from found objects and garage sales and created a Cheetah-patterned skirt to hide the ungainly two-by-four legs. I was always the girly one. Niki found us a bed. She was always the motivated one.
The bed lay on the floor a la sixties crash pad. My addition of twinkling Christmas lights on the ceiling made it into a perfect seduction chamber in a third-world kind of way. I made several impromptu wall sculptures from used panties, thongs, fishnets stockings and old wigs that would grow as we undressed. We were so ahead of our time. There were mirrors everywhere. Obviously.
On that first cold December evening, the boudoir was a buzzing hive of primping, painting, pinning, fussing, heavy drinking and some friendly French kissing, at least before lipstick application. Niki, my Libra sister, was ever the bubbly gadfly, always ready with a funny observation or a catty remark. I always had to do her eye makeup for her because she was both terribly farsighted and usually drunk. I’m not passing judgment over her. I weighed about 260 back then and could drink a Russian Steelworker under the table on an off-night. We were listening to a Saturday radio show that played Disco all night. “Ring my Bell” always seemed to be on.
Cross-eyed Jennifer was one of the first guests to arrive on that first evening. Some guys, like Rene Descartes, famously, find cross-eyed women very sexy. Jennifer’s eyes had a little more obtuseness than what I would guess was a “standard” eye cross, but I’m no expert. Jennifer was this disturbing combination of sexy and crushingly boring. She was a sports writer and could drone League statistics for hours as if you were tuned to a naval code relay station. She was also one of those whose lips said “No, no!” and whose eyes were open to interpretation.
Make-out sessions with Jennifer on one of the Southwestern sofas Niki had scrounged for us were common. She was also fond of doing the equivalent of a lap dance on you. Jennifer was always good for sessions of heavy petting up to the point at which she always pushed you away. The lady doth protest too much.
Bev was in a good mood on that first night, always prone to change on a moment’s notice, like a cloud over the moon. Bev was doing female hormones with the same sort of haphazard and drunken regimen she did everything, so God only knew when she’d get an attack of the weepies over a contact lens or a lost shoe. The other side of Bev is that she could, and would, kick your ass if you threatened anyone or anything she loved
We had an occasional perv night visitor; a guy who would ring our doorbell and proceed to do things, pants around his ankles, while you watched or so he hoped. He rang the doorbell one night while I was entertaining a gentleman caller in the back bedroom. When I saw him, my response was to laugh, pull the drapes and turn out the porch light. Bev’s response, on another night, was to open the sliding glass door and beat the shit out of a guy with his pants down. I always envisioned him fleeing down the wet runway of astroturf as Bev pummeled and kicked his stumbling, pants-less body, screaming “MOTHERFUCKER!” at him. Our neighbors were used to this. We often wondered how he explained his facial bruises at work the next day.
Beverley’s punch (the liquid kind) always claimed victims, usually those who were not as genetically prone to alcoholism as Bev, Brandi, Niki or I. Beverley was always adding more Rum to the punch, which constantly caught our normal drinking guests off-guard. She was shameless and we loved her that way. She and I drank like Valkyries on a lost weekend. The good thing about this was that they would usually pass out on the bed and be extremely cuddly, affectionate and suggestible in a couple hours when one of us molested them awake. It’s a good thing that we were just horny trannies and not cannibals.
There were more than a few tranny girls who needed to be in an alcoholic trance to let their inner sex kitten play. Michelle was known for drinking a few Long Island iced teas (a drink with only one purpose), having hot sex with someone and then “forgetting” the whole thing the next day. She became famous however, on Halloween in 1997 when she gave it up to two guys inside a car wash on Santa Monica Blvd. She still denies the incident.
At every XXXmas, I was the bubbly hostess, making weenies and greeting guests. I was blonde for XXXmas I and 2 and then found a wicked redhead self at XXXmas 3. I don’t know why, but a fat blonde conjures “housewife” and a fat redhead conjures “biker slut”, my dream job.
The late nineties were the onset of “Transgender” and the beginning of the end of Drag, sadly. We were an underworld, blending the old and the new, outrageous as hell and fuck you if you didn’t like it. We had all been weirdos in highschool, and now we were having our delayed adolescences simultaneously. We were those trannies, the ones who gave the rest of the community a bad reputation, the ones who got picked up, dragged home strays, drank too much, dressed like sluts, smoked like fiends, and deflowered virgin men. I made a boy cry once. I’m not proud of it, but I hardly regret it. Someone told me once that inside of every good man there was a bad woman. That was me.
XXXmas was always surreal, which was the main reason for doing it. The cast of characters was ever-changing; a cross-section of a community that was already wildly eccentric on its best day. When I look at the pictures now, they evoke Fellini and Diane Arbus simultaneously. We had ballerinas with beards, an ordained minister in black thigh high boots, lustful men and women and me, dressed as the world’s sluttiest reindeer, complete with bells. We’ve scattered to the winds now, and seldom speak. The season, however, has never been quite as festive.
— Darya Teesewell | @divadarya