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Secret Roommate Fashion Show

by Chad Haines


Chad says: I am not a drag queen, transvestite, or any other kind of gender identification besides man. Awkward man, sure - but still just a man. I'm also a zoologist and a writer. When I'm not writing about animals I am writing about myself, my friends, or in this case, my friend's roommate who we've all just discovered leads a secret life.


I’d been sitting with my friend André for a few hours already when he casually turns to me and asks if I’ve ever known a real-live transvestite. Oh, I already like where this is going.

Transvestite? No. I’ve seen several drag queens shuffling their way home at dawn. Their high heels broken, wigs all askew on their head, wearing thick, smeared make-up and yesterday’s glitter. But I think transvestites are very different from drag queens. I think transvestites are seemingly-average, heterosexual males who live completely ordinary lives in their ordinary houses with their ordinary wives and every so often they lock themselves in their bedroom and try on their wife’s ordinary undergarments. Perhaps having to shout JUST GIVE ME FIVE MINUTES OF ALONE TIME!! when their children start banging on the door. 

“No, I don’t think I’ve ever known an actual transvestite.” I respond. “Why?”

“So, my roommate is out of town you know. And I needed access to Microsoft Office. Well, my computer doesn’t have Microsoft Office but my roommate’s does...

André is one of those people who is very good-hearted and always sees the best in everyone and would never want anyone to think he was being judgmental or morally bankrupt. He needs to make it clear that if he ever happened upon something it was not through snooping. So the really good stories always take a long time for him to get to the good stuff. 

André spent an eternity carefully explaining to me that he asked his out-of-town roommate for permission to use his laptop and once permission was granted he ventured into the roommate’s bedroom to look for it. 

It wasn’t on the night stand. But you know what was? A very large, very clean, very black, rubber dildo. I told André that there could easily be an honest explanation for the dildo. Perhaps it was some leftover part of a gag. The joking kind, not the choking kind. 

That’s what André had hoped as well, but. . . 

André’s roommate is notorious for never leaving the house other than for work. He never socializes. He never dates. His asocial behavior is well-established so the possibility of him using it with a partner was ruled out. I was trying to think of another, non-sexual reason for a straight male to have a dildo in his room. 

“Wait. It was just out in the open and he knew this and still told you it was okay to go into his room and use his laptop? Dude. Maybe this is his way of telling you something. Maybe he’s hoping that the sight of his dildo will awaken something in you and in a few short weeks your house will have transformed into this big dildo ramming factory. If that’s the case I’m never coming over. I’m not up-to-date on my shots.”

“No, I don’t think that’s the case because the other stuff was hidden. So maybe he just forgot the dildo was sitting out.” 

“Wait. OTHER STUFF?”

That’s when André explained how he thought maybe it was under that pile of clothes by the bed. It’s wasn’t. But that’s where André found the enema bag.

“An actual enema bag? Mixed in with his clothes? That he wears?”

“It wasn’t just a bag. There were tubes and pumps and hose clamps and everything. It was like a colon irrigation system.”

“Whoa. Well, I guess we know how the dildo has stayed so clean.”

“He is literally keeping his ass cleaner than the bathroom.”

“But that doesn’t make him a transvestite. Just kind of a douchey roommate” I’m not proud of this beautifully delivered yet cheesy pun, but when you powerwash your colon within an inch of its life yet leave toothpaste and hair all over the sink I am not the one that should be on trial here. 

“No. The enemas and the dildo don’t but the wigs under his bed do. Not to mention the ladies clothes and size 14 heels in his closet.”

Well, what do you know. Mild-mannered André had what appeared to be a full blown cross-dresser living with him.

I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say until finally I thought to ask “What kind of wigs?”

“What do you mean what kind of wigs?”

“You know. Are they big, crazy hot pink wigs or like bland, dirty blonde, 1980s secretary wigs?”

“Secretary wigs.”

So André’s roommate is coming home after a long day at work, going into his bedroom and dressing up like Jane Fonda in 9 to 5. This is surprising because normally he struts around dressed like a hoodlum. With lots of flat-brimmed baseball hats and brightly colored sweat suits. I’m pretty sure he also walks with a distinct pimp limp too. Now I’m desperately trying to picture him dressed up in his room pretending like he has to go get his boss some coffee. I said it was surprising, but that doesn’t mean I’m not entertained. 

We both sat quietly for a moment to reflect. André reminded me of all those times when he had come home and suspected his roommate had been watching porn in the living room. André would open the front door and all he’d hear was footsteps rapidly retreating down the hall and a bedroom door slamming only to have the roommate emerge a few minutes later “Hey André! How’s it going?”

“Dude. You know he wasn’t watching porn. He was lounging around in a little skirt or something. He was letting his hair down. I mean . . . first he had to put his hair on - but then he let it down.”

It’s strange, but it was such a relief. Before we had just thought of the roommate as kind of a moron. A guy who never went on dates. A guy who tried too hard to be someone he clearly was not and people saw through it and were revolted. But know that we know he’s a transvestite he’s so much more charming. 

We know what you’re hiding under all that swagger and it’s a sensible corset. 

André isn’t going to mention any of his findings to the roommate. All I know is that by André learning about his roommate’s feminine side I learned that being yourself, no matter how out-of-the-ordinary it may be, is always preferable to being something you’re not. 

Come to think of it I never did find out if André found the laptop. 


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