By Courtney Wicker
Elm Staff Writer
This Saturday, the Hynson Study lounge was filled with guys wearing pantyhose and mascara alongside ladies wearing suit pants and mustaches for the Encouraging Respect of Sexuality (EROS) club’s fourth annual drag ball.
In the past, the ball has hosted such activities as choreographed dances, lip syncing to Beyonce, and epic drag shows. This year, there was a DJ, food, and a drag king and queen.
“The event was established to raise awareness about the club, the LGBT community on campus, and offer a safe environment for the people who identify with and support the community to have fun,” said EROS President Amanda Anastasia.
Club leaders were particularly excited this year as they prepared for the event, painting banners while singing and dancing to Lady Gaga.
“I’m super excited about the ball. I hope I have a crazy good time and that other people branch out more, people that wouldn’t normally come to such an event,” said freshman club member Maddie Zins while preparing for the dance.
Junior club member Ji Kim led the club in decorating for the event.
“I want it big and more fabulous than ever. Last year was nice because it was a close knit club, but this year we have more members so I hope they show up with their friends,” she said.
By 9 p.m. on the evening of the ball, the Cater Walk was speckled with young ladies with particularly broad shoulders and young men with oddly smooth legs. The sounds of sophomore Jeremy Quintin’s DJ talents rang out from the building.
“It was a pretty euphoric experience and different from what I’m used to,” Quintin said. “I’ve DJ’d events before, but this was the first time I’ve worked with such big speakers. It was also pretty hectic and nerve-racking at times. But overall being able to mix some crazy sounds for a crowd and see them enjoy it was awesome.”
At the end of the evening, seniors Rob Wilson and Brigid Lally were awarded the prestigious titles of Drag Ball queen and king.
Dressed in a wig, jewelry, a dress, and a pair of black pumps, Wilson accepted the title with a short and highly enjoyable speech quoting Hollywood actress Sally Field, “You like me! You really like me.”
Lally donned a black tuxedo, top hat, wig, and clown make-up for her outfit.
“It was so much fun winning for the second time since I’ve been at this school. For some reason I think I dance more advanced when I’m in drag. [Although] I’ll tell you it’s easier for me to dance in very high heels or girly flats than it is to dance in men’s dress shoes,” she said.
The mood of the crowd was pretty mutual—all who took part found it to be worthwhile and enjoyable. Lots of ball-goers had rave reviews of the evening, many of whom were excited to see their peers in drag and dance the night away.
“I absolutely enjoyed myself. I shaved my legs, while I got a girl to help me with hair and makeup. After everything was all done I felt pretty,” said senior Will Malkus, a seasoned ball-goer.
Malkus was dressed in a maxi dress he had borrowed from a dorm mate, sheer pantyhose from Rose’s, a plaid button-up shirt, and boots. His theme was ‘90s punk chic.
Drag ball first-timer freshman Rachel Dilliplane came dressed in black suit pants, a blue collared shirt, a pair of oxfords, and a mustache.
“At first I wasn’t so sure I was going to go. I felt self-conscious dressing up for it and then walking out of my dorm, but once I saw my friends and their mustaches, I stopped caring and decided to have a good time,” Dilliplan said. “I’ll definitely go again next year.”
Anastasia’s hope is that many people will not only go again, but bring more people with them.
“I believe that the Ball has brought a fair amount of attention to our club and especially to the importance of remembering that sexual orientation, biological sex, and gender identity and expression are important aspects of diversity,” Anastasia said.