Homophobes at the Salvation Army store

Mornin’ glories! When I was a baby drag queen, I got so much of my drag at thrift stores. I absolutely love going to thrift stores. Even now that I can afford better drag, I still will pop into a Goodwill or resale shop just to see what they have. There is no better feeling than finding something you like, and then it actually fits!

The other day, I found a pair of heels that were perfect for me. I CANNOT wear super high heels anymore. It fucking hurts, and I walk like a baby giraffe. So, when I found a sensible shoe in a cool color — and it fit! — you betta believe I snatched those bitches up! For $8, you can’t beat it.
Y’all know the Salvation Army store on Inwood? I hadn’t been there in years but decided to stop in the other day ….. It was dreadful.

Twenty-plus years ago it was a cool place with lots of drag options, and it felt clean. Now it looks like a gutted-out Gibson’s or K Mart, and the quality of the clothes was horrendous.

Now I will tell you the real reason I have not been to that Salvation Army in over 20 years. I used to go by there once or twice a month and find all kinds of weird and eclectic clothes, costumes or accessories.

Back then, to the back left of the store, they had a room that was just the better-quality women’s clothing and costume jewelry. It was a poor drag queen’s wet dream.

Plus, they had sales all the time. Each item had color-coded price tags, and, on certain days, one particular color would be 30, 40 or even 50 percent off. But they wouldn’t sell you anything that did not have a price tag on it. They were strict about it, too. It kept people from pulling tags off to get stuff cheaper.

On this particular day, I found the most fabulous champagne-colored shear robe — with marabou feathers along the sleeves and a ton more feathers along the edge — that just billowed across the floor. It was gorgeous. I had to have it. Then I noticed that it did not have a price tag.

Well, fuck! I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask if they could find out a price because I really wanted it.

In my head, I already had a song picked out to do in it. I knew what hair I wanted to wear. I had some great big, special occasion Dragon Lady jewelry that would be so perfect to wear with this classy sheer robe/dress. I would wear a nude bodysuit underneath it to give it a hint of naughtiness. I even had the perfect shoes to finish off the entire ensemble.

So, I go to the counter to talk to the little lady that was working the back room. I asked her if she could please find a price for the dress. I basically told her money was no object; just name your price, and I will pay it. Normally I would never do something like that, but I had a wad of cash from working a full weekend just burning a hole in my pocket.

Bills be damned; I wanted a new piece!

The little lady — by the way, her name was Eunice or Agnes or some other old-ass name — told me,

“Yes sir. I will be right back. Let me take this to the back and see what I can find out.” I thanked her profusely and went back to shopping.

Like I said, the back left of the store was upscale ladies clothing; the back right was a room of collectables that had books, tchotchkes, tools and a variety of weird and cool stuff. Between those two rooms was their employee area, and it had a set of double swinging doors.

The weird thing was that the walls between the three rooms didn’t go all of the way to the ceiling. There was about two feet of open space between the top of the wall and the ceiling, so you could easily hear people talking in the employee area. And I could hear Little Miss Eunice Bitch burst through the double swinging doors and announce, very loudly, to the other people in the room that “There is a homosexual out there that would like to know how much this fabulous dress is!” And then she started laughing.

She said it so fucking loud that every person in or around that back room lifted their heads and looked at me.

I was not embarrassed or sad about it. But I was fucking pissed.

I walked out of the back left room and stormed to the employee area. I literally kicked the swinging doors open and yelled, “This HOMOSEXUAL has changed his mind, and you can shove that dress up your ass!”

I turned and stomped my gay ass towards the front door to leave, all while cussing and mumbling: “This was fucking ridiculous; fucking rude-ass bitch; I am never coming back here!”

By the time I get to the front door, the store manager, a big country preacher-looking guy, is asking me to please stop, asking how he could make the situation better. I stop and listen, because I still want that fucking robe. (By the way, the store manager guy was always nice to me. He always said hi and would make small talk. I had heard rumors that the Salvation Army were not very gay friendly, but that store manager was never anything but nice.)

I explained the whole situation, and he shakes his head at Agnes Bitchface. He asks me to wait one moment while he talks to her. A few seconds later, the old battle axe walks over to me and asks if she can talk to me in private. I’m like, “Naw son, I do not wanna talk to your bitch ass.” but I did. She walks me out the front door and says, “I’m sorry, I just felt like I could say that because I’m a lesbian.” But she said it “lespian.”

I said, “What the fuck ever? You are a lesbian?” She said yes but nobody at work knew and for me to keep it between us.

She was no more lesbian that I am straight. I told her, “Okay, if you are a lesbian, then name one lesbian bar.” Back then there were lots of lesbian bars — Sue Ellen’s, Buddies and, one of my favorite hangouts, Jugs. Hell, I would have been okay if she said the name of any gay bar. She gives me a deer in the headlights look and says she doesn’t go out to the bars. Okay sure, but if you are a lesbian, you can name one lesbian bar. She thinks about it for a second and said, “Dykies!”

I walked back into the store and told her manager — and the rest of the store — that she was trying to convince me she’s a lesbian, and that she’s a fucking liar and a horrible person. She then lets her true self slip out as she mumbles, “Fucking faggot!”

Luckily the store manager heard her and fired her on the spot. He told that ho to get her stuff and never come back. I started to walk out as the store manager chased me down again. He gives me a speech about how the Salvation Army is a Christian company that follows the teachings of Jesus Christ and although he doesn’t agree with my lifestyle, it is not up to them to judge me, but I will need to get right with the Lord.

I roll my eyes and walk to my car all while their ex-employee, short-termed lespian and self-professed child of God is yelling, “You goin’ to hell, faggot!”

You just gotta love a good Christian.

Needless to say, I did not get that fabulous fucking dress. At that point, it wasn’t worth it. It was tainted with hate. A few weeks later, I see a drag queen wearing it onstage, and it was as beautiful as I remembered. I’m still a little bitter about it. Oh well. Goodwill and other thrift stores for me. I won’t even put spare change in the bell ringers’ bucket at Christmas time. I can hold a grudge. Any who!

Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova