Vintage Burlesque

My motto for today: When the chips are down it’s time to buy the fish.

Feel the need to lighten up after the last couple of posts. Sometimes they just ‘take’ me and then I crave a total change of scenery. The image for today’s post should redress the balance. My world in fact has more than a  flavouring of the burlesque, something I’ve perhaps forgotten of late. So to help me remember that I’m something of a high roller, along comes Mickie, a friend from way back, to remind me over a rollicking lunch in the garden, of the lobsters waiting to draw me, feathered and laughing into the future- even though the trip brings with it the danger that the slight discomfort in my rear end is not, as I thought, my inappropriately tight jeans but rather a hotplate bursting into flames.  There is still a stong streak of Mamie Lamb in yours truly.

So it’s time to resurrect the bowler hat from the shed, get out the feathers and that expensive corset. I’ve signed up for a burlesque workshop. How better to shake the dull ache around my heart (still pining for Giles maybe or even the Boy?) Time to rattle the pheremones and get back in the saddle. Dating sites don’t do it for me. I can’t be bothered to go through all that chit chat but I definitely want to reconnect with my libido. It’s been a while since I misplaced it, so I’m off to do something different, as a break from complexity.

I loved burlesque, even as a child, when I realised that my friend’s fancy dress costume was sexier than mine. I was nine and my mother sent me to the carnival dressed as a crepe paper Christmas tree, while she came as Carmen Miranda. Ever since, I’ve had this intermittent and uncontrollable desire to samba with a pineapple on my head. Well, here I go again. It is the saucy edge to burlesque that I like; the pastiche, the parody,the wit. It’s such a relief.

I will learn again to take off my long leather gloves slowly, finger by finger, to the beat of some blue music and to feel the gesture put a tingle up my spine, that once was put there by the gaze of a man following the arc of a saxophone note across a dusty room. There is something about the whole package that is so teasing, so yearning, so out there. A hall throbbing with masculine loneliness and me with a boa and a twinkle in my eye.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that at my age  I don’t have much else to offer. That’s nonsense. I am still woman, in spite of the fact that I will have difficulty with the movements-the knees bend and down to the floor will never be accomplished and there’s no chance that I’m going to disrobe as far as tassels and a g- string. That’s why it’s a workshop I’m signing up for and not the stage. As I’ve often admitted, I’m not competing with the young; I’m completing my turn as a woman, right to the end.

Needs must as the days grow short. Fun is there to be had and sitting in the Warren with Tottie and a pile of books is not going to satisfy this dangerous glimmer that has always been at the periphery of my life, waiting to leave its calling card. Once I thought I’d found my vocation as a dominatrix but I got distracted on the way by a whole series of books on fractal geometry. Now after a summer of Gebser, I am preparing for an autumn of burlesque. The secret of life lies in the middle and that which lurks on the periphery needs to be integrated. Sometimes I think that living this long and fulfilling life of mine, is a little like pulling toffee: rolling and stretching and folding and turning, all the time aware that if I take too long or gaze too hard, it will harden and crack and splinter and no longer be…edible. The process is a lot more fun than the finished product maybe. So give me two lobsters and a burning stove and hey ho, I’m off on my next adventure. As Mae West showed us, it’s nothing to do with youth or body structure: it’s all to do with innuendo and half- decent lighting.


One response to “Vintage Burlesque

  1. Wonderful stuff Allie – glad you’re still going for it!


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