Monday, March 18, 2024

Gloria Mardi Gras, Blackpool

Gloria, in blue
By Gloria

Before I proceed, I would like to proclaim that I deem myself a transvestite or TV, for short, the classic, original epithet being more to my liking than crossdresser or CD, for short. More modern terminology would describe my very early leanings as nuclear. I simply think of my undoubted feminine side as nature’s trick.

Resident in Blackpool, in what is described, rightly or wrongly, as the Gay Capital Of The North, my TV life hitherto had always been confined either to my own four walls or a safe, controlled environment and Gloria’s very existence known only to a handful of people. However, I had long strained at the leash for a public stage of some sort and it came to pass in late middle age, that I finally procured the position of resident TV at Mardi Gras Hotel on Lord Street in the heart of the Gay Village. 

Up to that stage, I had never been on the gay scene, nor am I on it now, the wheel having turned full circle. However, for the tenure of my role at the hotel, the said scene became de rigeur.

And so it came to pass that from the summer of 2009 until the summer of 2018, when the place was put on the market, Gloria was an integral and regular member of staff. She brought business in and she brought it back. 

Mardi Gras was a double-fronted, gay-owned, but straight-friendly establishment. The mix of gays and straights was probably 50/50. Nothing untoward of a sexual nature took place while I was there – mainly Saturday afternoon into the early evening and the occasional Friday and/or Sunday. It wasn’t that sort of a business. It was simply good, clean fun all the way. 

The owners took me on initially as meeter and greeter and the adrenalin of going to the front door never left me, especially to welcome first-time visitors, to whom I was a novelty. Much to the delight of both myself and the owners, Gloria’s popularity took off and meet and greet soon blossomed into social hostess.

There was a good-sized and well-stocked bar, lounge and small dance-floor, complete with disco equipment and flashing lights. The owners wanted me to keep the punters in the bar and though I say it myself, I reckon I was pretty good at it or I wouldn’t have lasted so long! 

A year or so in, the lads were offered another, smaller hotel a hundred yards or so along the street on a five-year lease. Formerly known as Northern Star, it became Mardi Gras 2. Business was certainly booming and though Mardi Gras 1 was to remain favorite for me, I operated at No. 2 when required. So there was some tripping about to do, involving crossing a busy junction. I stopped the traffic on more than one occasion to mince across!

I was primarily in situ for the straight people. While there are exceptions to every rule, the gays male and female took little notice of me. Besides this genre, we took in as guests parties of women, whether hens or those just out for a fun time, and mature couples, but no stags or minors. In my everyday life, I was expected to look professional and smart and for Gloria, it was exactly the same, fulfilling as she was a PR role for the hotel. I invariably wore a dress, brightly-colored or floral, never leggings and very occasionally, a pink leather skirt and top. My outfits and wigs were rotated, but my makeup style and routine never altered.

The owners installed me on Facebook as Gloria Mardi Gras and when photos were taken, I exhorted the guests to post them thereon. Countless images were indeed produced and though the site is now deleted as of no further use, I downloaded most of the better ones to take me back to the days when the going was good. 

As with many TVs, my everyday life as a man was largely kept separate, only the long-established regulars were allowed into my inner sanctum to observe the other half of my body. One such couple, man and wife, remarked tentatively one day that they were of the opinion that I looked better in a frock than I did as a fella and asked, was I insulted? Certainly not, I regarded this as a compliment. To me it meant I was doing my job to the best of my ability. There were times, privately, when I thought this myself.

When I began at Mardi Gras, the owners were three years into a ten-year plan, after which they intended to open a bar of the same name in Gran Canaria and this they have done. I shall be eternally grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to both exercise, and exorcise, this part of my personality. I have been there and done it, a little late in life perhaps, and have got, if not the T-shirt, but the frock! 

The new owners did not invite me back and indeed are running the establishment in a different way, so I do not consider that I am missing anything. I often walk past the place now with a complete air of detachment, incognito and unrecognized by the punters on the terrace.

Happy days, I look back on it with pride and the satisfaction of a job well done for the benefit of all concerned. Though the years may disappear, now going on six, the memories certainly do not. And I still have the photos to remind me of who I once was: Gloria Mardi Gras, Blackpool! 

Source: RE/DONE
Wearing RE/DONE

Jim Bailey
Jim Bailey femulating on a 1985 episode of television’s Night Court.


  1. Thanks for telling us your story, Gloria.

    Jim Bailey's femulation is so good, that I wouldn't have realised it was one, if you hadn't labelled it as such, Stana.

    Penny from Edinburgh.