Behind the Book: Prince Charming Wears Garters
by Clancy Nacht
I remember distinctly the first crossdresser/drag queen I ever saw. My parents took me to New Orleans on a trip with my godparents. In my parents’ world, taking me to bars as a small child wasn’t taboo and so they didn’t give much thought to dragging me along to Bourbon Street.
Boobs, flashing, whatever. I knew what boobs were. My godparents were horrified and trying to block me from seeing anything, but there was simply too much to see in the great wide world of Bourbon Street after dark.
As my mom tells it, there was a man in a dress walking toward me and I stopped walking, confused. I remember my gaze fixing on him, being mesmerized. His make up on his eyes was dark and exaggerated. His dress was red and gold with simple straps that showed his broad shoulders. I don’t really remember his hair, just his mustache, which was thick, lustrous, and exaggerated, as was the style at the time.
I did stop, and I watched, mouth open, amazed. A man in women’s clothes. How did that happen? Where was he going? What was he going to do with all of that make-up on? There was a party where he was going to be welcome and that was exactly the party I wanted to be at.
But I was 8. My godmother covered my eyes and everything else in the trip seemed dull in comparison.
I clearly never got over that. When I approached my husband at a concert, he was in goth drag—black lipstick and a long velvet skirt. Oh, and fishnets. Aw yissss.
Prince Charming Wears Garters is in some ways a very personal story as it expresses my personal love of crossdressing men. A lot of people think crossdressing means that the man is gay, but in general, crossdressers are straight. Drag queens are often gay, but not always. Drag queens tend to be more performative, crossdressers just enjoy feminine clothing—sometimes for sex, sometimes to feel sexy, or for comfort. I don’t know if they could pin down why they enjoy women’s clothes any more than I can pin down why I like seeing men in it.
But then, I’ve always enjoyed a good bit of genderfuckery. What I love about Chuck is that he is a strong man, he just likes garters. I’d envisioned what it would be like to have the character Don Draper from Mad Men with a crossdressing habit, and went from there.
Having worked at a couple of the biggest ad agencies in Texas with clients such as AT&T, Wal-Mart, and McDonalds, I felt pretty comfortable with the setting (though I did gloss over things, it’s not really a story about how the ad world works.)
I also wanted to write a strong female character—a real woman who is serious about her career, but was damaged by a past relationship that ended poorly. Being career-oriented, it seemed right to include some of the real office politics women sometimes face in the workplace. Hers is much more overt than I’ve personally experienced.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with how the book came out. I know it’s not a typical m/f romance, but if you want to try something a little different, you may have your moment of shocked awe like I did as a child and find something you really enjoy.