For those of you who know me personally, many of you know exactly what I do for my, as one friend puts it, “jobby job”. For others, suffice it to say that I work, generally, in the finance industry, a pretty conservative group of people. Most of the time, the worlds of burlesque and finance do not meet, but every once in awhile they brush together awfully closely and sometimes do a big thud when they meet ass to ass!
That is not to say I don’t have some sleepy mornings after a late night show, or small flakes of glitter appearing randomly on my clothes or body. Those things are a given, and can easily be explained away by late night parties and a fetish for glittery objects. Hell, even my husband’s students have frequently been known to say to him, ” Mr. Velvet, you have glitter on your _______(insert word here: lip, mustache, shoe, cheek, pants, hair, etc.)”. And the poor man doesn’t even bathe himself in glitter the way I do before a show… He just gets it second hand. But I digress…
Before I share my specific anecdotes, I do want to stress that I am a woman who runs around on stage in pasties and a g-string AND I also have a full time job that requires a significant amount of education and brain power. Smart and sexy is a great package and I know a helluva lot of women who have it!
I dance.. I spin… I kick… And I rarely sit still. Waiting for the elevator is stagnant time, especially if the wait is a long wait. So, while I wait, I entertain myself and do dance moves: a bump here, a grind there, step ball change, a little kick, a big kick. So, one day, I am impatiently waiting for the elevator and doing some dance combinations when I kick: a Very Big Kick. My ballet flat slides off the bottom of my foot and arcs through the air as, simultaneously, the elevator door glides open and three male coworkers in suit and tie peer agape at the sailing shoe flying upwards and towards them through the open door. Their mouths are open in astonishment, almost as if they have never seen a flying shoe in an office building. I want to cringe and turn the other way, but instead I run into the elevator, grab my shoe and shove it back on my foot while simpering something to the effect of, “…slipped off… He he”. They did not ask and I did not tell, but I was happy it was the results of a virulent kick and not the potential results of a bra strap popping loose from an overly vehement shimmy!
The Vampire Kiss…
One morning after a show I had an 8am meeting. Now, I think 8am meetings are punishment on a normal day, but after a show they make me want to scream. But, we had Individuals from another business entity flying in the night before for this 8am venture, so I have to be there! Well, I get home 1:30am from the show, wash my face really good, hop in the shower and stand under the warm water and wash my hairspray encrusted hair thoroughly. Hop out, put on a robe over my dripping skin… Most of the time, I can’t even be bothered to take the time to actually DRY myself, and curl up under blankets on our couch. (This is my sleep spot on show nights when Mr. Velvet works the next day. Just because I am sleepless, he doesn’t figure he should be)!
Alarm goes off 7am, I grab food, caffeine, brush my long hair, slide into my blouse and suit, cram my feet into my shoes and head to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit – in other words, public transit, for those of you not in San Fran). I put a dab of makeup on using my handheld mirror while I ride BART, and traipse into the office with a minute to spare. Barely a minute. I sit down in the meeting and proceed to alternate between talking and listening and taking notes. At some point during the meeting, I get warm and take off my suit jacket. I receive a couple of odd glances and a stare, but I look down at my cleavage and nothing inappropriate is sticking out. Breasts are aligned, I have no nipple pokage, and my cleavage is relatively covered up in a round-necked blouse. “hmmmm. Maybe they just haven’t seen breasts enough lately, I think.” I continue to get occasionally looks and surreptitious stares. After the meeting is over, I go to the restroom and finally look at myself in a large mirror for the first time that day. Now I understand the stares. The running water had, apparently, not been sufficient to remove the sparkly detritus from the night before. Hidden by the jacket, but clearly visible above my blouse once the jacket was removed, sits two silver sequins. Right below my collar bone and firmly pasted to my skin, they are the perfect width apart to mimic incisor bites… I realize that the stares were a result of my sparkley vampire kiss. To this day, I am sure the people at that meeting are still wondering what bit me or if I am some deranged Twilight fan and this is my secret marking…
Really Unusual Dresser
I have a reputation at the office for being an unusual dresser. Not that I really dress that unusually, but I don’t wear khakis and polo shirts on casual days. I have some designer dresses, I have some retro dresses, I shop at thrift stores, and I sew. Yes, I can look traditional, but I pretty much wear whatever I want to within the confines of respectability. I have been accused on a few occasions for showing too much cleavage (I think they are really accusing me of Having cleavage, which can’t be helped), and once for wearing a “hooker” skirt to work because it was three inches above my knee. (Note: one of my coworkers told me it couldn’t have been too short because it passed the below-the-fingertip test that the nuns have for the children at Catholic school.). I do have style, I have flare, I have fun, and I enjoy my clothes. In a conservative industry that is not a crime. Just almost a crime.
I am sure one incident did not help my reputation any. I had a show at a venue two blocks from my office on a week night. Call time wasn’t crazy late – about 8:30pm and I knew I had a lot of work to do. I also knew the place had a crap dressing room and my costume had a lovely, but respectably covered-up dress on top of the sparkly bra, panties, and other sparkly tidbits underneath. So, given my work load and the crappy dressing room I decide it would be a great idea to bring my makeup and costume and get changed in the office. Most people leave the building by 6:30pm, so I should be clear of prying eyes! So, I work, work, work away. About 7:45 I look around my floor and it is empty. Time to get ready. I go to the bathroom and do makeup and then start to change into costume. I take off my daytime clothes, wiggle into the panties, stick my pasties to my nipples and am just slipping on my beaded and bejeweled bra when a coworker walks into the bathroom. I freeze. “Do you need help with the bra”? ” umm… Sure….” I quip. So she fastens my bra and proceeds into a stall to take care of her bathroom business. “going out?” ” yes,” I reply. After all, it is true, I am going out! I mean, I am not staying in with that outfit… And yes, I intend the double entendre! So, I proceed to put on my dress as she washes her hands and admires my outfit. “where are you going?” So, I tell her the bar I am performing at (but not that I am performing) and she nods and smiles. She never asks, but to this day, she looks at me a bit oddly and I am sure she wonders why I wear such sparkly underwear when go out at night! And me, married and all. I just thank goodness I wasn’t in the middle of putting on the pasties when she walked in the door!
So, I hate sitting still. I may have said that before. I have always had a tendency to talk projects with me to conferences and events where I have to sit still for long periods of time because having something to sew keeps my fingers busy and actually helps my mind form wandering. I am a much better listener when I have something to do with my hands. So, I used to take embroidery or cross stitch or something pretty but inane. And then, I had a brainstorm! Why not work on my dance costumes? So, I take hand sewing, sew trim on petticoats and bras, and even panties. One time I rhinestoned a pair of shoes while at a conference. I glued (not toxic) and listened and even asked questions and participated in the commentary, because I am involved whether I am crafting or not! You would have thought I was beating small dogs the way some people complained about me… Like it is any of their business. I was told by one woman I was disruptive. I told her the only reason I was disruptive was because she was so inattentive she couldn’t keep her eyes on the speakers and maybe she needed a project as well. She didn’t like that too much.
One of the more humorous moments happened at a conference where I was sewing trim on a bra. I had pinned everything before stitching, but I would lift it up periodically to make sure things were hanging correctly and see what other embellishments would be good. I was sitting in the back row (trying not to be disruptive) with a coworker who knows I do burlesque and is okay with it. At one point, while holding up the bra, the guy sitting in front of me turns around to find a bra in his face (well, face level) and opens his eyes wide in astonishment. He turns around, but, periodically looks back at me after that, as I sit quietly sewing and listening. At one point when I was gone, he asks my coworker – “what is she working on?”. My coworker tells him, “dance costumes”. He says, ” But I’ve met her. She seems so quiet and reserved. She wears that on stage?”. My coworker says ” Yes, she does wear that. I think different aspects of her personality come out on stage that may not be as evident in the workplace”.
At the same conference, another woman came up, asked what I was working on and I showed her. She was delighted, and asked if I could show her how to do that because she did belly dance and wanted to wear that kind of costume herself! So, you never what you are going to find out about people at a conference…
Well, that is it for now… Will blog more later – who knows what I information I will have to share with you next?