In fact, most of my disco experience from the age of 16-20 was at Nightingales or Heaven. A bit odd because I'm not gay as far as I know. It was just such fun company and such terrific music. And I found myself a great hairdresser.
I only found out because I noticed one day that while he had ample black head hair, his legs, in their Bermuda shorts were smooth as a baby’s bottom.
‘I shaved them for a review I’m hosting,’ he said in response to my perplexed look. ‘It’s a practice run. Now would you be a darling and help me decide what I should wear?’
That evening, I took Didi round to his apartment and we waited in the living room looking at his caged finches while Charles got changed.
I wasn’t expecting a spangly royal blue dress covered with sequins.
It was a dress of very simple design - flattering to the woman of fuller figure as Charles put it - and he made it himself. He had also made a gold lame one which he tried on next.
We decided upon the gold one. It just seemed to add that particular je ne sais qoi.
Then it was the matter of which wig – the blonde, the red or the black. Each was tried on for my opinion and it was like working with my computer: ‘file not found.’ I had no suitable folder in my brain for this. My ego was frantically searching for a similar situation with which to compute what my eyes reported seeing.
‘It’s hard to judge,’ I say tactfully. ‘Without your make-up on anything other than black looks rather funny.’
Charles gave me a big grin. ‘The beard doesn’t help, does it?’ he said.
‘Not really.’ And I have cracked up completely. We both roar with laughter.
Charles’s beard, like his hair was a rich natural black. It was wonderfully trimmed and shaped but it didn’t do much for the feminine image.
‘I think I prefer the black anyway,’ he said. He was right. The long, straight tresses did suit him, beard and all. Charles would have made a very pretty woman.
But the boobs. Oh God, the boobs! Charles had two sets of boobs: one was a simple padded bra manufactured for cross-dressers - and the other was a pair of inserts that he had made himself. The professional bra was good, he said, but it had no weight and didn’t move correctly. I handled the vast expanse of nylon which was broad and deep and at least a FF cup.
‘It’s a bit outside my scope!’ I said pointing to my own ‘B’ cups and laughing.
‘Well I’ve got to dress up to my size,’ said virtually circular Charlie. ‘They suit me this big. The problem is that they ride up and they just don’t move properly. Yours bounce properly when you walk.’
‘So I should hope!’
He showed me the second pair of boobs. They were the perfect weight and they had wonderful movement and were encased in nylon stockings with a beautifully made nipple to show slightly through the clothing. I took them in my hands, just about to make a comment on never having handled a woman’s breasts before. Then I fell about laughing. The boobs were scrunchy — they were made of bird seed.
‘I know it’s ludicrous,’ he said. ‘But it works!’
It did. Placed in the bra cups and covered by the golden dress, those birdie-boobs bobbed and flowed as naturally as mine as Charles gave me a demonstration of dancing. Behind him the zebra finches and canaries in his aviary cheeped indignantly.
‘Charles,’ I said. ‘Thank you for this experience. I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying myself.’ And I meant it. This was pure joy in its own funny way. And nothing I ever thought could or would happen to me in Montana.