It’s been almost 30 years and despite challenges from thousands of hilarious contenders, Rita Beads remains my all time favorite drag name. Rita was a hairy chested, butch mustached, roller-skating, pregnant nun sort of drag queen, back in late 70’s Orlando.
The reason Rita Beads is such a funny name is probably sadly lost to most of you, but the threat to “read your beads” was a common expression back in the day, one homo to another. Reading someone’s beads meant to tell them off, to give them what-for, to put them in the their place, in the sort of high-drama that only can come from a place of great creativity and style. And cuntiness.
“Don’t make me read your beads, bitch!”
The verb “read”, by itself, in this context, continues to be used today, although I rarely hear it these days. “Is he over there reading my outfit?” And I’ve always like the adjective “readful”, as in, “Ooh, I just gave him a readful rake and walked away! (Snap)” Reading often includes snapping but white guys can rarely pull off the snap. It’s a black thing, really. Like the head swivel, which can also be a component of a talented read. Can anybody tell I took a walk on the pier last weekend?