Main | Thursday, June 01, 2006

Don't Make Me Read Your Beads

It's been almost 30 years and despite challenges from thousands of hilarious contenders, Rita Beads remains my all time favorite drag name. Rita was a hairy chested, butch mustached, roller-skating, pregnant nun sort of drag queen, back in late 70's Orlando.

The reason Rita Beads is such a funny name is probably sadly lost to most of you, but the threat to "read your beads" was a common expression back in the day, one homo to another. Reading someone's beads meant to tell them off, to give them what-for, to put them in the their place, in the sort of high-drama that only can come from a place of great creativity and style. And cuntiness.

"Don't make me read your beads, bitch!"

The verb "read", by itself, in this context, continues to be used today, although I rarely hear it these days. "Is he over there reading my outfit?" And I've always like the adjective "readful", as in, "Ooh, I just gave him a readful rake and walked away! (Snap)" Reading often includes snapping but white guys can rarely pull off the snap. It's a black thing, really. Like the head swivel, which can also be a component of a talented read. Can anybody tell I took a walk on the pier last weekend?

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