How to Frock up for Sydney Mardi Gras

Ryan Auberson-Walsh
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Now a flamboyant and colourful three-week long festival, Sydney Mardi Gras culminates in a well-established, world famous pride parade with roots embedded in a history dating back to the late 1970s.

Celebrating its 36th out-and-proud year in the spotlight, the cherry-on-top parade and following after party are a night of sequins, spray tan and super short shorts.

This following list is a friendly guide of what lengths are gone to in order to be party/parade perfect – and yes, it’s a little like the Jersey Shore slogan of “gym, tan, laundry”, I’ll give you that.

I present to you tack-o-rama at its best – a truly delicious mix of make-up madness that (nearly) every gay man in Sydney prescribes to in order to look, in the words of the greatest explorer in cartoon history, Nigel Thornberry, “smashing”.


Not many people in Sydney are Snow White (and that’s got an awful lot to do with our supreme sunshine), but for us folk who have skin that resembles PVA glue we need some friendly assistance. Alas, from ‘humble’ use during the crazy 1980s, tanning beds and spray tans have emerged as new heroes for those living in Edward Cullen’s shadow.


‘Heaps of hair, don’t go there’ – it’s something that some feel uncomfortable with, though I myself love a bit of chest hair – it’s rugged, sexy, and it reminds me of Hugh Jackman… a.k.a really fucking sexy. Groom it neater, rip it from its follicles, or shave it out of sight and mind, body hair can be troublesome for many. But for those with the balls (and the matching patchwork), I say let your body’s carpet run wild because let’s face it – we all hate doing the vacuuming.


Here’s a confession – I’m a biter. Not a neck nuzzler, but I do love/ have a nervous habit of chewing on my nails. It’s caused me a fair amount of grief in my (let’s say 18) youthful years thus far, so it seems a grand plan to pop by a local salon where the nostril-burning smell of acetone fills the oxygen more densely than John Paul Young’s love-filled air.


Beads, condoms, lube – There’s really nothing else that ends up dangling around your neck or lining your pockets. Except maybe your soulmate of the hour.


Surely you’ve heard of “less is more”? Because that phrase becomes more imperative than the Ten Commandments during Sydney’s February. It’s all about showing off a little flesh (not for any of the Hannibal Lecters out there, but for those prowling eyes looking to find a lover). Mesh is the one exception – nothing says I’m G2G (good to go) better than ‘check out my erect nipples’.


This isn’t just to get you ‘shit-faced’, or to help ease the pain of prospective rejections – it’s to give you that buzz of confidence / kick up the arse you need before you bash down your front door and head on to the parade route ready for mingling with hundreds of thousands of spectators.

And the rest?


Stick it in all those hard to reach places – it makes for the most exciting hangover game you can play with that mysterious stranger in your bed.


If you’ve been, or are attending the Sydney Mardi Gras parade, let us know if we’ve missed anything on this list in the comments below. Good day to you, and have a Happy Mardi Gras from the team at Vada!

About Ryan Auberson-Walsh

Ryan Auberson-Walsh is a sassy Sydneysider who enjoys cocktails and writing from opinion. A student at the University of Technology, Sydney, he was the 2013 editor-in-chief of annual Querelle, and has previously interned at and Australian Traveller. His work has also been published in Cream and Vertigo. @ryanaubiee on Twitter & Instagram.