And then the 80s - and the obsession with perfection - when we all visited the surgeon and lifted those babies and blew them up to vast proportions. Some of us donned body glitter and sequined G-strings and worked the poles and the tables and the laps of anyone waving a dollar over his head. And that was some fun, yes, it was fun, and some of us owned it and worked it - and made a hell of a living.
What's better — the first ice-cold sip of a perfect martini expertly mixed by a professional with that magic touch or shotgunning whatever lukewarm can of lite beer is handy?
Like the latter? Just stop reading. We're good and it's been nice, don't worry. We'll remember you fondly with every corn nut. Bye now.
Like the former? Excellent. Keep reading, darling. We've got so much to show you...
But not so fast, sailor. Settle down. No peeking - not yet. Burlesque isn't all about getting naked - it's about the chase, the anticipation. The striptease. We want to involve all the erogenous zones, especially that big, beautiful, throbbing head. The one on top of your shoulders, that is. Oh, yes, baby. We give GREAT brain.
You know, back in the 19th century, the lovely Lydia Thompson and the British Blondes could get their audiences all hot and bothered just by shimmying around onstage in tights. And Gypsy Rose Lee could work a room in the 1930s with an art history lecture and just five seconds of peekaboo. The only pink she showed was the design on her gown.
Now, don't get us wrong — we love it when you look. We always did, really, even when we had to pretend otherwise. You know the old drill — nice girls don't, nudity objectifies and demeans women, and all that jazz. And for over a century, there was the little matter of local vice laws. Lili St. Cyr, that sensual chanteuse, was arrested in Quebec in the 1940s on "indecency charges" — the local Catholic clergy claimed whenever she danced, "the theater was made to stink with the foul odor of sexual frenzy."
God bless Lili St Cyr.
But then the 1960s rolled around and we were all dropping acid and rolling around naked in the mud, and no public decency codes were gonna stop us - no way! Naked and free, that's right — burlesque, man? Please. That's for squares, man; that's for our parents. We could see tits any goddamn time we wanted, 'cause we were free and easy.
Oh, honey. This ain't your daddy's burlesque.
In the 70s, things got boring again. People kept taking off their clothes, sure. But it was all a little nasty, a little mean. We made fun of women who didn't take off their clothes — they were too repressed to show their Goddess-given pieces and parts. And then some of us made fun of women who weren’t too repressed to show boobies – but who, we thought, should have been because they sagged and bagged…and who wants to see that anyway?
But when you're the one on the pole? Baby, even that gets boring. You're just going to have to trust me on that.
And then there was grunge. And combat boots, which can be sexy -sure they can. But where was our glamour, my darlings? Where was our style, our wild feminine wiles? You get grunge. We got glam. We learned to work the room, walk in heels, smooth those stockings, slit that skirt.
It was time, you see, to put the tease back in the strip. To have some fun before we got down to the fun - if you dig me, baby, and I know you do. We learned to love it again.
And you loved us right back. You loved us so much that The New York Times and friends wrote about us, dubbing us "the neo-burlesque movement." You discovered how much more mysterious and sexy it was to see the ladies shakin' it in ruffled granny panties and cone bras. You stopped pretending you didn't think big gals were hot when Dirty Martini did her infamous fan dance in Sarajevo. You finally dug what your grandpa thought was so hot about those old Betty Page pinups when you saw Dita von Teese sling her gorgeous legs around that giant martini glass.
Lets face it, darling — we remembered how to put the glam back in the wham-bam. And you said, "Thank you, ma'am." You know you did.