Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Risqué Business

Ninja gnome
I accidentally skipped a step in my quest for the perfect mid-life crisis while I was surfing the net looking for a budget-mindful way start my garden gnome collection. I mentioned that I am not a great risk taker. If I'm taking a risk, it is usually an accident or an exercise in self-preservation (e.g. to prevent lasting physical damage) so when I found myself looking at a Groupon-like "experience" for burlesque classes, I was surprise to find that my interest was piqued!

From my limited understanding, burlesque unites the basic principles of dance and theater. You know, vaudeville, variety show. That kind of thing. Having experience in both dance and theater, I thought that this might be a fun opportunity to socialize a bit, workout, and do something new and mid-life crisis-y-like. I think I was picturing Fred and Ethyl Mertz on I Love Lucy. Not too risky. So without much ado, I leaped at the offer. Not just the 4-class minimum either, but 8! If I was going to do it, I would go whole hog.

In my usual ass-backwards way, I quickly bought the deal (it was so cheap!) and then I googled my way in to some research. I needed to get some idea of what I was getting myself in to and...OH SHIT! Apparently, there are two forms of burlesque....the European (think variety show) and the American (think strip tease!).

Horrified, I frantically read the terms and conditions to my purchase in search of a merciful loophole that would allow me to return the damn thing. No luck. Those terms must have been written by tax lawyers. I was stuck with it. In a final act of desperation, I gathered my wits and placed a call to the teacher. "Um, I just bought a Groupon...and, I, uh, have a few, um, questions...."

I was overjoyed to discover that I would be allowed to keep my clothes on and that the only things I needed would be gloves, a feather boa, and dancing shoes. Lucky for me, I was already just about equipped! I was also thrilled to find out that the place was a good 45 minutes away so there would be little chance of any witnesses. I do have a (borderline) reputation to protect.

When the first night arrived with alarming speed, I hemmed and hawed some more about going and spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what was appropriate to wear for a burlesque class. I mean, I had the required accessories, but my wardrobe is far from even the most broad definitions of burlesque. Eventually, I got myself together, threw all my belongings into an eco-friendly shopping tote, and off I went with utmost trepidation.

An hour later, I was standing in the lobby feeling clammy with a similarly shell-shocked looking group of women with a smattering of more "experienced" dancers. (When I say "experienced", read "unusually limber".) All I could do was pray that I could keep what was left of my dignity intact. It was then that I looked down and realized that I'd thrown all my "accessories" in to a eco-friendly, Toys R Us (!) bag. Glam. No doubt.

Just as the panic started to break through, class began. With (at least one) aging stripper to my left and a state crime scene tech to my right, I was definitely among the more vanilla members of the group. But what I lacked in flavor, I think I made up for with sheer hilarity. Picture, if you will, Benny Hill in long, satin gloves and high heeled shoes....dancing. Sort of. (OK, that might be a little more brutal than necessary, but you get the idea.)  That first night wasn't pretty. I won't bore you with the details. If you know me, you can probably imagine...and I'm sorry for that vision.

The class ended, I tucked all my accessories neatly into my Toy R Us (!) eco-bag and slunk home to lick my wounds. I knew that I would have to go back. (I'm nothing, if not persistent.) But I really wished I could just send a clone.

The next week rolled around and my sense of commitment prevailed. I swallowed my pride (and about $15 in gasoline) and hauled my butt over to the class once again. I was more nervous this time because I knew what I was in for. But somehow, someway, my body remembered that it had a purpose and some experience with coordination- based activites  and it didn't completely fail me. Even my trick hip was a touch less tricky. This time it was actually really fun (and I was a lot less funny).

It's been a few weeks now and I'm finally learning to channel my inner Mata Hari...in a supremely vanilla way, but that's ok because things didn't end that well for her anyway.

So what, might you ask, is the moral of the wordy tale? An excellent question. Overall, I think it is try not to let you dignity get in the way of your dignity.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness Helen, that's amazing. I love dance and dancing but you would never be able to convince me to do this! Rockstar!!!