I Am Not Bisexual ..I Really Really Fancy Blonde Bosomy Women; WHY ALL THE GIRLS ARE HOT ON EDDIE'S HIGH HEELS
Byline: SUE CARROLL in Philadelphia
A MAN dressed in designer skirt, teetering in high heels down Main Street, Smallsville, USA, is pretty sure to be in for a hard time.
Americans don't do weird. And yet the country has been captivated by Eddie Izzard. Night after night, his shows have been a sell-out across the States. Fans just can't get enough of Britain's most famous cross-dresser.
Baffling, perhaps, until Eddie points out the fascination in America with John Inman in Are You Being Served? "They love that unique British sense of camp," he says. "Don't forget Monty Python was huge over here."
But they didn't take transvestism to Broadway and beyond as Eddie has, thrilling audiences with a look that's been compared with rock star Pink, except that Eddie's prettier.
The situation could hardly be more surreal as I sit in a macho American bar discussing chipped nails with a man. He's wearing pink lipstick and jeans, so am I.
On the cleavage front, no contest. I'm mesmerised by the bosoms poking out of his tight black T-shirt like a couple of juicy melons.
He's very proud of his 38C falsies, is Eddie, and hasn't taken them off since he left the stage at Philadelphia's Merriam Theatre, where he wowed the audience in a lace wrap-around skirt and black basque.
These days, multi-millionaire Eddie, 41, can afford a better class of frock than your average transvestite, so he looks elegant and friendly, not frumpy or threatening in a stockings-and-suspenders Rocky Horror Show way.
But he must be a martyr to his feet because he wears killer heels that would cripple most women. "They do completely alter the way you walk, that's true," he admits.
"Otherwise, when I'm dressed as a woman I'm still me. I use my own voice and gestures.
"When I first came out as a transvestite, I tried to pass myself off as a girl, but it's like tasting chocolate for the first time in 20 years - you go over the top.
"I think now I'm more of a male Emma Peel. Or Lara Croft. If I had to choose a role model it would be Raquel Welch in the 70s.
"But, really, I just always wanted to look as girly as I could with this boy's body that I had. I've always related to that feminine thing of painted nails, false eyelashes.
"When girls at school hoisted their waistbands up to make their skirts shorter I wanted to do the same.
"That's not gayness, it's just a bloke having an extra girl thing. I felt all those feminine instincts.
"I was caught nicking lipstick from Boots. I used to keep a few in a shoe box with a false lining in the bottom. When I was confronted I said they were for a friend and I showed my dad a picture of a girl I'd met on a school trip and fancied.
"I couldn't deal with the question: 'Are you a transvestite?' Not then."
Eddie was four when he felt the urge to dress up but it was a secret until he emerged at 23, a fledgling comedian making regular appearances at London's Comedy Store. He walked into the club one night in a skirt and top. If he was embarrassed or self-conscious he didn't show it.
But he says now: "I was scared beyond belief. Facing it out was just the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, and even now I still get c**p in the street.
"People will look at me and say: 'What the f***'s that?' I start shouting back then. I can switch easily from being casual and laid-back into ultimate attack mode, especially if it catches you unawares. There's less hassle than there used to be. The last time, it was a bunch of teenage kids flexing the aggressive muscle. I can deal with it."
He's always been fit and lippy enough to look after himself. As a child he was a "boy racer", a superb footballer and a keen Scout. "I had all the badges," he says proudly.
HE'S not gay, and says he couldn't face the idea of kissing a man. In fact, it's hard to imagine a blokier bloke. …