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3 min

Tips from a drag queen to land a date

Tynomi Banks helps me score a valentine

As Tynomi puts on her face, I watch from the shadows, trying to absorb her beauty.

Credit: Michael Wielgomas

Navigating an app-obsessed dating universe can leave a girl spinning. What’s a newly single gal to do? My track to get back in fighting form is simple: get advice from the gents that look like Hollywood vixens. Drag queens are fascinating creatures: not only do they have the ability to enchant any passerby that dares look their way, they get cash money while doing it. Shit, ladies. Help a girl out.

Sheldon Mcintosh, better known as Tynomi Banks, has agreed to teach me to be a better woman. After exchanging pleasantries (which include coconut water and San Pellegrino — this bitch doesn’t even drink before hitting the stage) we naturally head to the closet, the epicentre of what makes drag so fab. I realize once I see his closet that it doesn’t matter how often you are a lady, your closet is gonna be packed to the tits.

“I mostly just do drag for the passion of fashion,” he says. “I don’t do pageants, either. I just want to perform for you; I don’t need someone to justify it.”

But speaking of tits, and as a lady with sizable assets of her own, we talk about breastplates. “I tried them, but they got in the way of my dancing,” he explains. “I love the stage. I’d love to have the budget to transform my shows into something that is not just drag, it’s art.” He has a few silicone pads, but both of us agree that with the right Victoria’s Secret bra you can fool even the toughest critic. Plus, the fitting-room ladies always make paying that extra $15 worth it.

Tynomi started drag when a good friend was short a performer and recognized Tynomi’s potential and charisma. She was hooked after that first performance  (and no, I don’t mean she became a hooker). Nicolette Brown took Tynomi under her wing shortly after, giving her a discount on her hourly mentoring services that help transform men into butterflies.

Sheldon as a man, by the way, is very handsome. He’s six foot two — six five in heels. Watching this tall drink of water slowly transform into a BeyoncĂ©-like figure really proves how powerful makeup can be . . . and that I should be painting myself to the gods before I fish for new prospects.

And here’s the thing: I know I’m the fish out of water in Tynomi’s world, but there are a lot more straight girls like me in the gay bars. “I originally didn’t get along with girls,” he says. “We’d get in fights. I thought they were being too bitchy, but then I realized I needed to wisen up.” I can’t help but wonder: why did you hate us? “The frustration came from wanting to meet guys, but with so many girls around, it decreased the odds,” he says. But after performing in Montreal, where the drag scene is more integrated than Toronto’s Village, Tynomi realized girls really appreciate the art form. “Men try and be you. I get it and I love it.”

I’ve learned about tits and drag mothers, but I still need to find out how to get back on that dating horse. Apps seem like the way to go, if gay men and Grindr have taught me anything, but Tynomi has nothing but caution to give me. “Girls need to realize that the guys on Tinder are talking with their boner, all the time,” he says. “You need to have a sense of humour. Tinder is all sex. You should get to the point and determine if the dude is just looking to fuck. It’s meant to be a fun app, not serious. Ladies, if you want to meet people, go to the club and meet people the old-fashioned way.”

As I recede back to my bachelor life and Tynomi gets ready to dazzle a crowd, I take mental stock of what I’ve learned: get dolled up to lure in your prey; drink alcohol to numb high-heel pain; and don’t take online apps too seriously. If you want to meet new people, get off your ass and dance. 

Check out Tynomi Banks in her one-woman show, Sat, Feb 28 at Zipperz, 72 Carlton St.  

This story is filed under News & Ideas, Drag, Toronto