Romantic Times Wrap-Up, Featuring Mitch Tedsoe Come to Life and Other Wackiness, Including PT Fuckery
To say that Romantic Times exhausted me is like saying water is wet. It was very, very fun, though, and worth every second of weariness I’m fighting this week. How to describe the convention? Not possible, but I’ll give you this picture to illustrate why a report won’t do it justice.
If you’re saying, “who’s that scummy dude with the hot chicks?” the scummy dude is me. Go ahead and do a double take, hubba-wa, whatever you need—people who have known me ten years or better didn’t recognize me even when they knew I was dressing in drag.
Heidi, why were you dressing in drag? Funny story…
This year Damon Suede and I spearheaded an event called Show Your Romance Pride, a reader party with a focus on subgenre. The hosts were to dress up as one of the assigned subgenres, and as the date of the event began to loom, I had no costume. I’ve had increasing issues with body pain, particularly in my legs (more on that in a bit), and that limited my costume options. It was Damon’s partner who suggested I dress as a trucker, since that’s one of my characters. I loved the idea, but of course I’m a completist so I thought I’d at least try out the drag.
My first thought was, this isn’t so bad, but I wondered if maybe I was trying to convince myself. I sent the pic to several people who all flipped out, and the clincher was when I went downstairs to show Anna and she flipped out because she thought someone was in the house. So, the drag worked at least a little, I decided. Figured why not, it’d be a fun thing to add.
Well, when I put the outfit on Thursday of RT, the universal reaction was that people didn’t know it was me. Marie said it was weird to get ready in the bathroom with me, even though she’d watched me Ace bandage my breasts and helped me tuck the hair under my hat. Damon knew what was coming, had seen the picture on the left during my trial run, and even with this he often looked around a room for me, dismissing the guy in the plaid shirt. Some people mistook me for a guy, straight up. Some people thought I was strange. I deliberately didn’t use public restrooms when I was in drag because I’d have gone to the women’s room and I didn’t want to give anyone a heart attack, because apparently I did that in the hotel LOBBY.
My favorite reaction came from Eleri Stone, who sat next to Damon at the signing and saw me stop by first as Mitch the trucker and then twenty minutes later in my femme gear, ready to head to Samhain’s party. She stared at me for several minutes, then finally gave up and said, “Weren’t you a man a few minutes ago?”
This should have been the end of the adventure, but a new friend, Adam Kunz, missed Mitch’s live debut, and when he needed cheering up Friday night I offered to put the drag back on for him. So back up to the room I went, coming down for a fancy paranormal party not as the elegantly dressed woman I’d planned but as dirty trucker once again. Damon was thrilled, because he’d missed the opportunity earlier to do what he craved: to take me into the bathroom and do a photo shoot at the urinal. Adam joined me.
They then took me to the dance, where I discovered to my surprise that EVERYONE wanted to dance with Mitch. I sold books Saturday to people who talked about my drag, and I’m still getting emails from readers and bloggers saying, “I ground against you a little while on Friday night! That was so fun!” And after everyone says how fun it was, they ask, “When will you do it again?” To which my standard reply has become, “You just wait.”
Though the number of photos of me as Mitch suggest otherwise, I actually did not spend most of the week in drag. I attended panels, parties, and got to do things like chat with Mary Balogh about where to publish her backlist and weep quietly in the audience as Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood allowed us to be in the same room as their panel. I got my copy of A Knight in Shining Armor signed too, and got a picture with Ms. Deveraux, even though she did have her eyes closed. I don’t care. I met her. I went to Mecca.
Now, coming home has been more interesting. I still need to turn in Better Than Love to Saritza, but I need to finish the edits from betas first, and to do that I need to stay conscious. I also have to get really, really fucking serious about my physical therapy, because my therapist today gave me a look that sobered me to my toes. Basically if in a month my work–and not overdoing it like I did at RT–don’t do what he’s hoping, there might be something more serious wrong. I admit I’m a little scared, but I’m not freaking out until that’s actually happening. In the meantime, if you see me working too hard, yell at me. I’m not kidding. If I act like I’m in pain, make me sit down. You have my permission to yell. If I’m tired, make me rest.
In the meantime, please enjoy the following set of photos. If you’re my FB friend, you can search a trove of pics (if you’re not and want to be, go ahead, but read my standard disclaimer about kids, cats, and politics) or you can amuse yourself with what I have here.