I hope that you have your dance hat on ready to enjoy this week’s episode of Queer Tango. I’m still not feeling very well so I hope you try your best impression of Andy, George and Stan!
Episode 33: Stanetta’s New Wig
Stan was a steady sort of bloke. He tended to like his routine: he had a creamy coffee with his breakfast of five slices of toast and jam—which Mary-Lou had been confused with and said she ate jelly with her toast. Hedges tried to explain that Mary-Lou called jam jelly but Stan needed a biscuit by then so he’d drifted off.
But, he liked his jam on his toast then he’d head out in his van to his first job making sure the people of Bumblethorpe had shelves in the right places, a tap that worked or even the house painted. He didn’t mind what they needed him to do just as long as they didn’t mind a chat and a cuppa.
He took afternoons off so he and Liza could have some fun. He took her to the park and the soft play and even up Bumblethorpe Hill on his old pushbike. He never used to be able to cycle up the hill but classes were really toning him up and dancing with Liza more so. They’d giggle and she’d gurgle and he’d tell her about his adventures in the military then they’d head home to make tea ready for Gaynor.
On some evenings he’d head to the pub to catch Ruby and Plimsole; flower arranging class which Hedges had taken to running in Squishy’s not yet opened garden centre. Hedges was really good with making bouquets look pretty and she’d taken to running the poetry group at the same time so he could try out his new work and prune his petals. Then, his favourite class was with Gaynor and Liza. He really enjoyed pulling on his frock and his wig and the set of heels Andy had helped him to dig out. Even Gaynor was getting used to it so didn’t mutter half as much about the fact he was wearing a frock.
Stan really liked his wig but with Agnes… Plimsole Senior not gurgler… having a habit of thwacking his wig when it slipped, it was looking slightly worse for wear. Besides, it was one of Andy’s old ones so it never really felt quite like his. So, he was breaking from his routine to have a lads day out with Andy and George to find a new wig of his own.
‘Stanetta, Georgey, we need to talk shopping strategy. You boys are not used to big time shopping and it’s important you don’t get distracted by the sales.’ Andy flicked his hand through the air as he sped them along the motorway toward the big shopping centre.
‘Sails?’ George grunted from the backseat holding onto Teddy, Andy’s tile. ‘Is the shop at the yacht club.’
Stan snorted and held on as Andy whizzed them toward the slip road. ‘You got enough money to buy a yacht, mate?’
‘No,’ George wrinkled up his mouth then rubbed at this trim beard—Diane was only letting him keep it if he kept it tidy. ‘I just fancied getting a hat.’
Andy raised his eyebrow in the mirror. ‘Georgey, with your dancing, we’d be better to borrow a bicycle helmet from Lanie.’
‘I can’t help it.’ George wrinkled up his mouth and brushed off his white cotton shirt—Diane was dressing him ‘properly’ now so he was wearing jeans and a shirt when he usually wandered around in joggers or those chinos he loved so much.
Andy parked up, leaving exactly the same space all the way around the car—He was good like that—and turned around. ‘Shopping is tactical. Your focus is important. They will lure you with two for one… ten percent off… or even fifty percent…’ He swiped his hand through the air. ‘But… don’t be swayed, gentleman, it is blatant teasing.’
‘Well, you’d know about that,’ George muttered still cuddling Teddy.
Stan nodded. ‘We’ve seen your frocks.’
Andy winked. ‘Yes, and like those sales, it’s window shopping… we’d never be a good fit and I’d rather run off with the hot dance teacher in a suit.’
Stan smiled. ‘Can’t blame you. She’s got some flashy suits.’
‘Yeah, that’s why I think she’s nice too.’ George rolled his eyes and put Teddy down. ‘So the shops are Ruby’s who’d rather shack up with a Plimsole… I’m not interested in Ruby or her frocks. I need to buy Diane something nice… and not too expensive.’
Andy sighed. ‘You might have stayed in more when you married Diane but I’ve noticed you’re back on your favourite stool when I dance.’ He fluttered his eyebrows at George. ‘I’ll help you buy a nice top for Diane or shoes… but if you get distracted by the sales, I will need to take a safety mat to you.’
Stan sniggered. ‘Diane’s been telling Gaynor you’re visiting the pub again.’
‘I like the pub.’ George put Teddy down, patted him, and got out.
Andy held Stan’s gaze. ‘He’s still emotional over Ruby… Paulette tells me I should make him go to counselling.’
‘Ruby’s a hard woman to let go.’ Stan got out and scratched at his stubble. ‘Even I need counselling and I only saw you… a few times.’
Andy tutted and flapped his hand. ‘Ruby still loves you both, we’re taking you shopping, aren’t we?’ He patted George on the backside then flounced off toward the shop in his usual sassy stride.
George folded his arms. ‘That’s cheeky, that is.’
Stan nodded. ‘I tried pinching Gaynor’s backside once.’
George stared at him.
‘Yeah, I couldn’t feel my chin for a week.’ He rubbed at it then strutted after Andy. Gaynor always said he walked like his toes were pointed out in opposite directions and wanted people to admire his belly. He tapped his stomach with a grin. Dancing had sorted that out. He looked better than he had in uniform.
‘I asked Diane if I could pinch hers,’ George mumbled and tripped into step. ‘I said I wanted to flirt with her… that I wanted to because she has a lovely backside.’
Stan grinned. ‘What she say?’
‘That she really appreciated how much I liked her bum but if I pinched it she’d make me flirt with a disposable razor.’ George furrowed his brow.
‘You thought about dealing with the razor anyway, didn’t you?’ Stan said with a chuckle as they caught up to Andy who was standing in the doorway with his eyebrow raised.
‘Yup.’ George shrugged then checked his beard. ‘So, where are we headed?’
‘There’s a lovely boutique shop which we’ll find the perfect wig for Stanetta.’ Andy took them both by the elbow. ‘I was thinking you should go blonde.’
Stan cocked his head. ‘You think Gaynor would go for it?’
Andy placed his index finger to his chin. ‘She’s a hard woman to please is your Gaynor.’
George and Stan nodded.
‘She’s fashion conscious, very slick.’ Andy led them through the bustling shopping centre by the elbows as several people passing by eyed them. ‘Her long black hair works so well with her sunglasses.’
‘They aren’t sunglasses,’ Stan said and smiled at the elderly lady scowling at them. ‘Her spectacles have that tinting ability but they tint more than they don’t.’ He shrugged then tried to wave at the elderly lady who hmmpf’d back and stomped off. ‘She needs new glasses.’
‘Gaynor or the lady?’ George asked, then fell into the potted plant as he plugged his ear. ‘I don’t get how people cope with children.’
‘He’s overtired,’ Andy said with a doting smile at the screaming boy.
‘Or he wants to dance,’ Stan said with a wince as the boy’s mother carried the glazed over ‘why did I have kids’ look.
George shuddered. ‘I’ll stick to the boys, thanks. They squeal less and they can help out in the shop.’
‘That’s just cheating,’ Andy said with a pouty lip. ‘I don’t think Paulette will let me take Agnes on the roofs.’
Stan shook his head.
‘Why?’ George stumbled around two women dashing toward the ‘sale’ banner across one shoe shop. ‘She’s quite capable of sticking a tile on.’
Andy stopped then pulled George into a tight hug. ‘I’m so proud of you.’
Stan caught sight of the elderly lady again and she pursed her lips at Andy and George. ‘I wear a frock and heels but Andy looks far better when he sticks his lippy on.’
The lady tutted then stomped off again as George tried to brush himself off and glance around as if the whole shopping centre hadn’t seen him get hugged.
‘I don’t get why you hugged me,’ he said, clearing his throat and tidying himself up. ‘In public.’
‘You love me, Georgey, that’s why.’ Andy said it really loudly, so much three women discussing the cookie stand turned and grinned at George who flushed so pink he looked like he was standing behind a fryer. ‘And it was very non-binary of you; perfectly said but Paulette doesn’t want our Agnes working at height.’
‘So have a boy then,’ George said and trudged off toward the cookie stand more so to avoid Andy’s scowl.
‘And why would she let a boy work at height.’ Andy wagged his finger then sighed at the ladies near the cookie stand. ‘You flash your eyes at a man and he’s focused, try to educate him on equality and he only half listens.’ He grabbed Stan by the elbow. ‘However, this gentleman is very well trained.’
Stan nodded. He was. Gaynor wasn’t one to argue with.
Andy flounced them toward a little shop tucked in the corner and tapped on the door. ‘Are you decent?’
The bloke behind the counter threw his magazine down with a squeal and sprinted over. ‘Ruby, you know I’m never decent. That’s why you love me.’
Andy and the bloke air kissed each cheek and Stan glanced back at George who was scouring the sales banner in the window of the handbag shop.
‘I have a task for you,’ Andy said and shoved Stan forward. ‘This is Stanetta, who is in dance class with me. We need a wig that makes him ping.’
Stan glanced back at George again. ‘If you don’t get over here, I’ll tell Diane you hugged Ruby.’
George narrowed his eyes, shoved his hands in his pockets and trudged over. ‘I didn’t know he was gonna hug me.’
Andy was too busy tittering with the bloke to notice Stan extract his arm and lean against the door. He was good with frocks and that but tittering and air kissing and hugged were a bit much.
‘This is Georgey… but you know him,’ Andy said with a wink at George and headed over to the wigs on stands. ‘I think Stanetta should go blonde.’
The bloke fanned himself. ‘He’d look lovely.’ He pursed his lips, looked Stan up and down then pursed his lips more. ‘My Sally would quite like him.’
‘You mean Ceri’s daughter?’ George raised his eyebrows and shook his head. ‘She’s only eight.’
Andy turned to them, rolled his eyes then dragged them both to the wigs. ‘His Sally could fit a size eight dress when she squeezes herself into it.’
‘Is that Diane’s size?’ George cocked his head at the dresses lining the wall.
‘No,’ Andy said with a doting smile. ‘And don’t buy her one of those or she will use a disposable razor.’ He exchanged an ‘ahhh’ look with the bloke. ‘Sally is of the Ruby and Stanetta variety.’
George stared at him blankly.
‘Means it’s a bloke in a frock,’ Stan said like he was sure about it but he wasn’t. He was never really sure when Andy talked about Ruby stuff.
‘I don’t wear dresses,’ George said like that helped.
The bloke shook his head. ‘No, best you don’t. Leave that to the hubby.’
George stared at Stan.
‘You hugged him, don’t look at me.’ Stan tried to hide his smirk because he was glad he didn’t get a hug. He wouldn’t mind if Andy was Ruby though.
‘Diane is a lady,’ Andy said with a wink at the bloke.
The bloke chuckled behind his hand. ‘Very binary, dear.’
George shrugged. ‘She makes me shave.’
The bloke nodded.
Stan tried on a wig that was nearest to him and checked himself out in the window. ‘Don’t feel right.’
‘It isn’t. You’re not auburn.’ The bloke picked up a long black wig and stroked down the hair like Gaynor did when she was in the salon. ‘Maybe long and voluminous?’
‘Nah, my Gaynor has nice hair like that. I couldn’t wear it. She’d think it was weird.’ Stan picked up a funky looking shorter cut. ‘Ugh, I look like Tracy.’
George snorted. ‘You do.’
Andy tutted and picked up the blonde wig which had curls. ‘I think this would suit you.’
Stan slipped on the wig then felt music in his heartbeat. ‘I think you’re spot on, mate.’ He twirled and the wig twirled too. ‘I love it.’
Andy and the bloke clapped then George shrugged.
‘You look like a really ugly woman,’ he said then shrugged again. ‘Which is less like a bloke in a dress than you do normally.’
Stan shook his hand. ‘I take that compliment.’ He looked to Andy and the bloke. ‘Fancy picking me out a new outfit and heels?’
They turned to each other and giggled.
George thumbed to the doorway. ‘I’ll go find something for Diane.’
Andy dragged him back by the hand. ‘I know what you’re going to get for Diane but she won’t like a gold handbag even if it is half price.’ He held George’s gaze then tapped his wrist. ‘I will find you a present that doesn’t see you balder than Stanetta.’
George sighed. ‘Can I go get cookies then. They’re half price?’
Andy hugged him again.
Stan sniggered. It was funny how pink George could go. He was gonna have to tell Gaynor this.
‘You don’t like sales,’ George mumbled as he brushed himself off again.
‘I love sales, but you need training.’ Andy nodded and the bloke nodded so Stan nodded because he didn’t really know but Gaynor usually spends loads then told him it was all in the sale so that made it alright. ‘Cookies will get you hugged.’
George rubbed at his beard. ‘I’d have bought Ruby a cookie if I’d known that.’ He trudged out then stopped as the elderly lady tutted at him. ‘He looks hot in a frock and I don’t care but he’s not my wife. I’m going through the hugging so she gets a proper gift not one I’d pick up.’ He put his hands on his hips. ‘It took me twenty years to marry her, twenty… but Ruby is still a catch and I’m getting him cookies.’ He wagged his finger. ‘I can be binary and get hugged.’
He blew a raspberry at her, straightened himself out and stumbled over to the cookie stand where the three women hugged him.
George flushed pink all over again.
Stan shook his head as Andy and the bloke cheered.
‘I wasn’t tutting at that but I’m delighted for you and your wife and whoever Ruby is,’ the lady muttered as she nodded approval at George. ‘I’m tutting because I just washed that floor and you trampled muddy footprints all over it.’ She put her hands on her hips. ‘How did you manage to walk in the potted plants?’
George looked down at his muddy shoes. ‘I come with a George Mat normally.’ He shrugged. ‘Wanna cookie?’
The lady hugged him.
George sighed then hugged her back with a shrug. ‘I know full well they’ll tell everyone at the Bee.’
‘We will,’ Andy said with a clap. ‘Won’t we Stan?’
Stan smirked then chuckled then flounced around in his wig. He was a steady sort of bloke and it was more than routine to have a chuckle over a pint at the Bee. ‘Yeah, and we’ll title our poetic retelling as, Stanetta’s new wig.’