About a year ago my husband stopped using his personal Amazon account and started using mine. Neither one of us remembers why he did this, but if I had to guess, I’d say it probably had something to do with a 30-day Prime trial I’d signed up for. But it’s not important. All you really need to know is that he’s used my Amazon account ever since.
Anyway, before my husband started using my account, a brief review of my order history would have revealed a lot of items like this:
- Nail polish
- Twee video games
- Shape wear
- Skin care products
- Women’s clothing
- Women’s accessories
But over the past year, the order history on my account has started to look more like this:
- Nail polish
- Bike parts
- Sweat socks
- Twee video games
- Barbecue gloves
- A weather radio
- More bike parts
- Shape wear
- Skin care products
- Still more bike parts
- Women’s clothing
- Tennis tape for men
Just a stereotypical heterosexual married couple sharing an Amazon account. As you do.
No big deal.
A little while ago, however, after our end-of-the-year flurry of Christmas purchases, Amazon began suggesting some very interesting (and slightly confusing) items as “Featured Recommendations.” Read on and make of them what you will.
Kryolan Eyebrow Plastic Stick Eyebrow Cover Wax
When this recommendation popped up on the bottom of my screen, it struck me as a little strange, but not that strange. I buy a lot of makeup, and this is essentially stage makeup, so it’s not a ridiculous leap for the Amazon algorithm to make.
Also, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t complaining. It was makeup. I love makeup. If anything, I wanted to take a closer look. So I checked out the reviews, and that’s when I read that one reviewer had purchased this particular product because he’d “started doing drag performances in the area and needed a good way to conceal [his] eyebrows.”
Okay. Well, no big deal. Drag queens wear makeup too. Obviously.
But then I noticed that Amazon had recommended at least half a dozen more Kryolan products for my perusal. Which seemed weird, because I’d never even heard of that brand before. I’d certainly never bought any of its products. So I got to Googling.
It turns out that Kryolan cosmetics are in fact the cosmetics of choice for many gorgeous queens. And as I read more about the Kryolan product line, I came across quite a few testimonials echoing this sentiment:
“Kryolan: This has been the best makeup I have ever used in my drag career and [I] will stand by them. I use their TV Paint Stick, which is perfect for stage and photography. Their makeup is meant for stage, theatre, and photography work and this is the product queens should be using.” – Cee-Cee LaRouge, Chicago drag queen
What a discovery! There was a bunch of kickass drag makeup in my Featured Recommendations! I was suddenly torn between a) wanting to buy about a thousand dollars’ worth of Kryolan products RIGHT NOW and b) wanting to rewatch all five seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race RIGHT NOW. (Funnily enough, Kryolan sponsored Season 3 of Drag Race. Surprised? Of course you aren’t.)
After managing to restrain myself from doing either of these things, it occurred to me that I hadn’t come any closer to solving the mystery of why Kryolan products were showing up in my Amazon recommendations. Well, other than the likelihood that Amazon probably doesn’t know where regular makeup ends and stage/drag makeup begins. Which is kind of shabby for an online provider as massive as Amazon, but clueless straight men. So I get it.
Then I saw these:
Elegant Lashes: Black Thick Super-Long 100% Human Hair False Eyelashes for Dancers, Drag Queen, Halloween, Costume, Rave
All right, so this recommendation was a little bit weirder, mainly because I’ve never bought or worn a pair of false eyelashes in my entire life. Still, like the eyebrow cover wax, I guess they kind of fall into the makeup/cosmetics category. And maybe, just maybe, if you’re buying a lot of makeup and nail polish online, there’s a point where Amazon just throws its hands in the air and says: “Girl, just buy some damn lashes.”
Again, not a completely unreasonable stretch. I mean, I personally wouldn’t choose “Black Thick Super-Long 100% Human Hair False Eyelashes for Dancers, Drag Queen, Halloween, Costume, Rave” as my first venture into the land of fake eyelashes, but different strokes for different folks. The world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some. And etc.
This, in no uncertain terms, is a man-panty. If for some reason you feel awkward about clicking over to learn more, I’ll do you a solid and paste an excerpt of the product description here:
“Our stretch spandex mesh panty redistributes and re-invents your lower body. The front is double lined to flatten your front comfortably. An extra wide cotton-lined crotch provides a soft place to tuck what you’ve got.”
While the majority of reviewers of this product seem to be cross-dressers and transvestites, there are definitely a few drag queens weighing in with their opinions. (I do seem to remember that some queens prefer gaffs to tucking.)
Now. Let’s discuss where in fresh hell Amazon got the idea that I would need to buy a man-panty. I mean, I’ll freely admit that I’ve bought
a few some many foundation garments through Amazon. Come on. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. Bike short type things to prevent chub rub. Compression rompers. Slips. Control-top pantyhose. Minimizer bras. Seriously, I’m almost 40 and I’ve birthed a baby. I should probably change my family crest to say: “Shape Wear: Now and Always.”
But a gaff is a far cry from a Spanx high-waisted brief. A gaff has a specific purpose and that is to HIDE YO GENITALS. Any gender can partake of one, but typically when you hear the word “gaff” in modern culture, it’s referring to a garment that hides the peen. And I don’t have a peen. And my husband has no desire to hide the one he’s attached to. If anything, he probably wants it to look HUGER.
So why, Amazon? Why are you recommending to me that I wear a man-panty? Or ridiculously long and camp fake eyelashes? Or eyebrow gum? Why? WHY?
Well. Here’s my theory.
If asked to take a look at an Amazon purchase history representing both “stereotypically male” and “stereotypically female” items, I’m guessing that most of us would probably come to one of the following conclusions:
- This account is shared by a man and a woman.
- This account is not shared, but is owned by one person who makes purchases for a diverse group of people (e.g. a parent who shops for the entire family.)
- This account is owned by a cross dresser, transvestite, or transgendered person.
- This account is owned by a drag queen.
I’m going to guess that conclusions #1 and #2 are statistically more probable, with #3 trailing from a distance, but still very much representin’. And I feel like a mathematical calculation like a predictive algorithm should take statistical likelihoods into consideration. Right. RIGHT?
But guys. GUYS. We should know that Amazon is not your average retailer. Their gift wrap has achieved record-setting levels of hideousness. And they have DRONES, for Christ’s sake. It should come as no surprise to us that Amazon would choose to fly in the face of probability and jump STRAIGHT TO CONCLUSION #4.
That’s right, ladies and gentleman. It’s the Amazon Drag Queen Algorithm. And I have discovered it.
Don’t worry — I’m not passing any moral judgment on the algorithm in any way whatsoever. I just wanted to point out that I’m pretty sure it exists, and I think this blog post proves it. Before my husband joined my account and started to buy “manly” things? Amazon was all like “Hey. You’re a woman.” After my husband joined my account and started to buy “manly” things? Amazon was all like “Hey. You’re a man. Who likes make up, nail polish, and compression underwear. Want to take a look at our fine selection of drag accoutrements? Step this way!”
(Oh! And lest you think that the Featured Recommendations I’ve already discussed are not enough evidence to support the Amazon Drag Queen Algorithm, the following items were also on my list:
- wig caps
- spirit gum
- silicon breast prosthetics
- *two* other transformation briefs, including one called the “What a Butt! Bareback Gaff”)
Case DOUBLE closed.