Dina’s Diner July 30, 2018

| Jul 30, 2018

THE DIVAS OF DUMAGUETE

Dumaguete Divas

I came across an article about the “Dumaguete Divas” a short while ago somewhere on the internet. The photo accompanying it showed four young boys glammed up with makeup and sparkly dresses. The quartet of school-age boys, aged 9 through 12, sell peanuts on a boulevard in the Philippine resort city of Dumaguete.

Although there were several internet articles about the Divas, details were sparse. According to the reports, the boys sell peanuts in the late night-early morning hours to bar patrons along the Rizal Boulevard nightlife district. One of the internet sources reported thusly: “They usually do catwalks, modeling, singing or dancing to convince customers to buy their goods. They’re also quick-witted and funny, said those who saw them in person. On Fridays and Saturdays, they even dress up in costumes.”

Their increased fame is the result of a photographer who saw them swanning about on stage at the Miss Dumaguete pageant. He offered them a professional photo shoot with makeup and wardrobe. It sounds a little shady but the photos are proof of the boys appeal and their infectious personalities seem to come through the lens. There are also a series of YouTube videos of the Divas in action on the street.

It’s a cute story but it leaves a lot of questions unanswered about their lives, their safety, and their future. Maybe that’s why divas are so high strung.

CHINESE IDOL

The New York Times had an opinion piece that appeared in the July 1, 2018 edition about a contestant on a Chinese talent show . It was headlined, “Dark, Stout, But Still a Star.” The article recounted the rise and eventual fall of Wang Ju, a 25 year old Chinese woman who almost upended popular Chinese beauty standards to become a finalist on the show Produce 101. (What a name for a talent show. Maybe it’s a translation problem.)

Wang Ju

The Times piece said, “Chinese commentators were at pains to explain just how Ms. Wang — a woman Chinese media variously referred to as “stout,” “dark” and “not pretty enough” — got there. Ms. Wang had long been seen as different from the rest of the women on Produce 101, who, with their fair skin, slender bodies and sweet smiles, embodied an aesthetic known as “bai shou mei,” or “white, thin, beautiful” — the gold standard of beauty pursued by young women across China today.”

The article pointed out that conflicting social and economic forces are buffeting Chinese popular culture. The capitalist economic boom of the past couple decades has seen a rise in obesity in the general population. Meanwhile, Chinese beauty standards “have converged around the tall, thin and fair image exported by Korean and Japanese pop culture.” The Times also reported, “The country’s transition to capitalism has been accompanied by setbacks in the area of gender equality. Discrimination against women is rife and often overt in the workplace, and women can be hired as much for their youth and beauty as their skills. Job advertisements often state a preference for men over women, and employers seeking female workers sometimes include height and age requirements.”

So the popularity of Wang Ju, who was older than her opponents, neither classically thin nor pale of skin, and not backed by a talent management company, surprised many people. It seemed many viewers identified with the young woman who was your typical underdog. The Times said, “Ms. Wang was especially popular among those who viewed themselves as outsiders. She found a particular base of support, for instance, in China’s L.G.B.T. community. Her personal story, too, resonated with many young people.”

Unfortunately for happy endings, Wang Ju did not make the finalist cut. She lost her spot to another outsider who came from a rural region and seemed vulnerable in the same way Wang Ju seemed self-confident. The Times reports, however, that there may be a recording contract and cosmetic sponsorships in her future.

NETS ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF TENNIS

Serena in fishnets.

The New York Times Sports Friday section had a photo of Serena Williams in the July 13, 2018 edition. I don’t follow tennis but the photo accompanying an article about the Wimbledon finals caught my eye. It showed Serena Williams in full swing wearing fishnet tights beneath her tennis dress. This, for me, gave new meaning to the term “come to the net.”

Serena became a mother in September of 2017 and she made her post-maternity comeback at the French Open in May, 2018 in another startling outfit: a black full-length catsuit. At the time, she explained the fashion choice as a compression suit that helped prevent blood clots. Williams had a difficult delivery and blood clots seem to be a recurring issue for her. Wearing tights and leggings while playing, she explained, also helps prevent clotting.

Serena on the shore.

The Wimbledon tournament has a famously strict dress code requiring all white outfits, so Serena was spotted wearing dark tights (matching her skin tone) and the aforementioned fishnets below her whites in the semifinals which she won. Some people who noticed Serena’s legwear tweeted their reactions. “Serena Williams is killing it on the court at Wimbledon while wearing black fishnet tights. I don’t know how I could love her more than right now.” One viewer commented on her legging tights in an earlier match: “Is Serena Williams wearing long sleeves and tights on the hottest day of the year at Wimbledon. I’m sweltering in sympathy for her.”

Over the years, Serena Williams has received a lot of criticism for her body type and her confidence in showing it off in daring ensembles on and off the court. Not to put too fine a point on it but some of her critics find her too masculine. I hope none of our crossdressing sisters harbor this feeling. That would be pot-meet-kettle territory. I like Serena Williams’ body quite a bit. Given the choice, I’d pick Serena over a roomful of stick figure supermodels.

Why don’t I ever get to make that choice?

RUSSIAN COLLUSION

Given the non-stop public discussion of Russians, Russians, everywhere, I thought I’d investigate to see how far they have infiltrated the crossdressing community. After a less-than-exhaustive search, I found some evidence — but much less than expected. Ah, maybe I should just call off the whole thing. Wrap it up. Recuse myself from further inquiries. Nah, just kidding.

Anna from Russia.

A simple Google search for Russian crossdressers turned up a lot of X-rated videos but that wasn’t what I was looking for. Honest. I was on a genuine Russian Trans-witch hunt. I used the search features on a couple of crossdressing sites to ferret out Russian crossdressers hiding in plain sight. I found a handful but not too many. Their online dossiers are top secret. Risks of “kompromat” are everywhere, I thought. Maybe I could draw them out by offering to speak about the favorite topic of all Russians — looser American adoption laws. Crossdressing, I know; adoption laws, not so much.

I found a Russian transformation service and photo studio during my investigation. There was one particular client who certainly appeared to be worth colluding (or canoodling) with. But on closer surveillance, I think she was a professional, so my excited Da! became a Nyet!

Transformation Da!

Maybe I’m over-thinking this thing. Maybe it’s just the language barrier that’s keeping Siberian sweeties, Red Square sirens, and Novosibirsk beauties from Wiki-leaking their photos all over the internet. You know, the way us All-American crossdressers do. At least they aren’t hacking into our Flickr photos and trolling them as their own. Or, are they?

IT’S SO HARD TO FIND GOOD OCTOPUS THESE DAYS

One of my favorite websites is NextShark.com, an Asian pop culture site I stumbled across researching an earlier Diner item. It has a lot of offbeat stories from the East and good photos to illustrate the seeming non-stop madcappery that is Asia. I found this headline captivating recently: “Takoyaki Stand Explodes in Sales after Owner Starts Cosplaying.”

Vivi the Little Peach.

The article is short and I’ll copy most of it here. “The food and beverage industry is so competitive that some owners decide to go the sexy route to boost sales, but a takoyaki stand in Osaka, Japan, went with a more creative approach by using cosplay to attract customers. For Yukio, the owner of a takoyaki stand called Goonies — a reference to the 1985 movie The Goonies — dressing up in colorful costumes of known or obscure anime characters is a surefire way to generate buzz. . . and sales. Takoyaki (octopus slices wrapped in wheat in the shape of a ball) is simple to make and there’s not much variety in taste, so stores have to create unique gimmicks to help attract customers. The place, undoubtedly, looks awesome. Another reason why Goonies became so popular is because Nipponbashi, also referred to as Den Den Town, is Osaka’s largest area where many anime fans and otaku gather.”

A link to another food stand going “the sexy route” showed a young beauty (Vivi the Little Peach) wearing a low cut blouse and extremely short cutoff jeans to sell a beef snack. Sales quadrupled.

I was hoping the cosplaying octopus vendor might be a crossdresser but Yukio is all girl — one of those angelic Japanese cosplay girls that seem like they might float away before you. An octopus wheat ball, you say? Yes I could eat there every night.

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Category: Fun & Entertainment, Opinion

About the Author ()

I started crossdressing and going out publicly in 1988. I joined the Renaissance group in the Philadelphia area that year and later became chapter leader for two years in the '90s. I always enjoyed writing and wrote for the Renaissance newsletter and magazine throughout my membership years. I've been writing for TGForum for several years now. I also contributed items to LadyLike magazine and other TG publications before the advent of the internet. My hobby-within-a-hobby is singing live as my alter-ego Dina Sinatra and I have had the opportunity to do that with several accommodating performers and in a number of venues over the years since the mid-1990s. In the Diner column items here, I try to relate crossdressing or transgender themes (and my own pet peeves and fetishes) to the larger world -- and vice versa.

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