On Friday, the oft mentioned and happily anticipated flamingo dress arrived in the mail and...didn't fit. It should have fit. It should have rendered me kind of fantastic in a chic, long-legged sort of way, but it would appear that I've been making too many white-flour-based dining decisions and it rendered me more potato-on-stilts-esque. Sigh.
Instead, I put on an old red dress that still more or less fits me, along with the grown-up shoes I bought specifically to take to NY because I have anxiety about looking like someone's country cousin when I'm Manhattan. Then, despite having taken them all the way there in my wee suitcase, I never wore them. I had forgotten that just going to NY doesn't mean I can suddenly walk in heels. I had big plans to wear them to my hotel's trendy speakeasy, assuming I could manage to walk down two hallways and into an elevator without hobbling myself for life, but my hotel's trendy speakeasy proved to only be open Wednesday-Saturday and I was there Monday and Tuesday--nights, apparently, when only uncool people stay in hotels. I hope my shoes enjoyed the trip though. I held them up to the hotel window so they could at least see the view.
Anyway. At home I have a car, so my red dress and new shoes and I went out. We looked pretty good--particularly when standing still--the walking down the street part was still a little painful and teetery. Sadly, even with a car, there is still going to be a walking down the street part, especially when you're trying to go to two events, but park just once. By remarkable serendipity, the dueling events were just four blocks apart (that is, there were two simultaneous events that I wanted to attend; the events themselves did not feature any dueling). I went to Porchlight, which was great, and then I went to the second half of a friend's show--the half that featured burlesque.
Before the evening was through, I saw six women remove all but very tiny bits of their clothing. An unexpected entertainment proved to be watching the members of the large band, mostly men, none of whom had seen the acts before, try to decide where to look. The stage was a bit crowded and the newly revealed flesh was in some cases very proximate indeed.
Having seen Gypsy more than once, I know you gotta have a gimmick, but I find my own taste runs to the old fashioned, glamorous pin-up girl style, more than to the "edgy." This would surprise exactly no one. But really, I don't need you to be nearly naked and lying on broken glass. I also don't need you to sing a song. Or paint yourself like a skeleton. I really, really don't need you to paint yourself like a skeleton. "Taking it all off" should stop way before one reaches bone. For me, the sexiest women were the first, in a floor-length gown, and the last, in a 1940's style fitted suit. Were there elbow length gloves, you ask? Why, yes. Of course there were.
After the show, I walked up to the stage to congratulate my friend who had orchestrated the whole evening. Then, as I headed toward the exit, a man stepped away from his group of friends and stopped me. "I really enjoyed your act," he said. "It was great." I thought he was kidding. I thought maybe it was his idea of a good post-burlesque-show pick-up line. I said, "You mean the one where I walked from over there to over here? I thought it went pretty well." We had a bit more confusing back and forth. He reiterated how much he had enjoyed the performance; I thanked him and left. Only when I reached the door, did I realize that he had been sincere albeit rather unobservant. The only woman in the show for whom I possibly could have been mistaken was the last one and then only because we are both white women with dark hair and bangs. Mind you, we do not otherwise resemble each other at all. And having seen very nearly all of her, I feel I can say so with certainty. Still. I'll take it. From potato on stilts to hot stripper all in one evening.
Bangs. Huh. I always thought it was so much more complicated than that.
As a little postscript, I was driving home when I passed one of the performers making her way on foot through the creepy dark with a huge suitcase. I pulled over, told her I'd just been at her show, and asked if I could drive her somewhere. She gratefully accepted a ride to BART, stashing her suitcase in the trunk. When we arrived and wrestled it out, it was heavier than I'd expected (her costumes were nothing if not um...small). "Twenty-five pounds of broken glass," she said.