As soon as you step out of your front door you start to get the fear a little bit. When you were stood in front of the mirror slapping your war-paint on you felt giddy and liberated but now it's crunch time.
You curse the fact you live in a small town. If you lived in a city, you think to yourself, there'd be a whole bunch of like-minded people to meet up with on a Friday night. A scene. But you do live in a small town and as far as you know it's just you. You take a menthol fag out with your trembling pink finger-nailed hand and put it between your matching lips. People have always said you had "lady hands". Good for foreplay. Not so great for bricklaying and knocking people out in chip shops at 3am.
You worry about your left eye. You still can't get the hang of using an eyeliner pencil without poking yourself in the eye with it. You console yourself with the thought that a spot of pinkeye is going to be the last thing that people notice tonight. You like a bit of cross-dressing. You love women. They fascinate and enchant you. Wearing "their clothes" makes you feel closer to them.
But there's another reason you do it. It infuriates the ignorant. It's taking all that homophobic playground and PE changing room rhetoric the school bullies used to spew; poof, Jessie, big girl's blouse etc, etc, and ramming it in their faces now that they've grown up into pub and nightclub bullies. And maybe in town tonight you'll meet that girl you dreamt of. The one who will look at you with awe rather than snort and giggle into her bottle of alcopop and come home with you and show you how to do your eyeliner properly and lend you her shoes.
The further you get into town the more you start to wonder whether you've thought this through. A couple of cars drive past you. Baseball-capped craniums poke out the window and shout at you. Groups of perma-tanned girls stifle "oh my gods" as they pass you. You're beginning to think you should have stayed in with a bottle of Vodka and Grease on DVD drunkenly fantasising about Frenchie giving you a makeover.
Soon you're at the front door of the pub. Two doormen stand arms folded, veins popping in their foreheads as if the dickie bows are cutting the circulation off. You think to yourself that surely they won't let you in there dressed like that. But they do, with a grinning rictus that makes you even more paranoid. As if they think that actually letting you in there will be a worse fate than sending you packing. You pause for a few seconds and then you walk in regretting it instantly.
The whole place stinks of lads' banter, zip-up cardigans and right-wing social media posts that say "99 percent of you won't share this". It's like a Western movie except you're the mild-mannered bystander who just wants a drink walking into a saloon full of gunfighters rather than the other way round. Then it begins. One bloke wolf whistles you. Another asks if you've lost a bet. Another guy asks if you're gay. When you tell him you're not, he looks confused and aggravated. You only last one drink there and then you're off home. A couple more cars full of ignoramuses shout at you before you're safe and dry and going with the vodka and Grease plan after all.
But you didn't really go through that ordeal on your own. You don't have a big group of cross-dressing punk rockers to hang around with, but someone did have your back. Someone who laid the foundations for everything from the New York Dolls and Glam, through Punk and Adam Ant and Boy George and Marilyn Manson and Placebo and all the other music that excites and emboldens you. He's had the back of you and your ilk since before you were even born and he'll have the back of your ilk who haven't even been born yet.
The patron saint of every boy who gets called a "poof" for having an earring or dyeing their hair, who goes to dodgy nightclubs with panda eye makeup and gets chased down the high street by a gang of thugs and does the same thing again the next week regardless. He watches over those of us who like to do "girly" things like a glittering guardian angel. If you were a boy like that, even if it was just the one time you experimented with eyeliner for a night out, then you'll feel the same way I do today. Sad but thankful.
RIP David Bowie.
Wil Hodgson is an award winning stand up comedian and writer from Chippenham.