I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between porn, erotica, and glamour lately, mainly because I finally went to my first burlesque show! This past Sunday, after many failed attempts, I finally made it to a show. I have so many thoughts about it, but the first and most important one is that I’m definitely going to go again. In honor of how much fun I had, I thought I’d post a more retro picture, for a change: one that was taken of me by the amazing Mayumi! Tired of GWC shoots and looking for a New-York based photographer who “gets it” but is also crazy talented? She’s it. I can’t recommend her highly enough!
Back to the story: after many abandoned plans to see shows at the Slipper Room, Le Scandal, and Hotel Chantelle, I finally managed to catch a regular Sunday burlesque “service” at The Church of Titillation at Times Square. I don’t know exactly what I expected, but it wasn’t to be laughing almost the whole time. It was so much funnier than I had pictured; I sort of thought it was going to be mostly serious striptease with little bits of comedy thrown in, maybe from the MC, but I pretty much couldn’t stop laughing! I saw Jo “Boobs” Weldon, the Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque. I also saw Jonny Porkpie (the Burlesque Mayor of New York), Miss Poison Ivory, BB Heart, Mr Gorgeous (the reigning Exotic World King of Boylesque), Sizzle Dizzle and Magician Patrick Davis. They were all so good!
The one thing that really surprised me was the performer’s bodies; they were very different from what I had expected. I think I had been picturing more like what people call “dancers,” that is, strippers, most of whom I picture as having bodies like fitness or figure models. Not that I have ever been to a strip club in the U.S., but I’ve seen lots of pictures and I think a lot of the pornstars I see are also dancers. At any rate, I think many of them are gym rats, judging by their bodies. And the people in the show I saw last night? As one of my friends pointed out, they are more performers than dancers. That’s not to say that they aren’t very, very sexy, and I can only wish hopelessly to ever have the amazing figure of Jo “Boobs” Weldon. I’d share pictures of the others, but only Jo Boobs had any I could find that were in Creative Commons, and I don’t know any of them well enough to ask for permission.
But it was a real adjustment for me, too. I mean, in addition to porn actresses, the women whose bodies I most see and study and aspire to have are female bodybuilders (which, to me, includes fitness, physique and figure girls). I borderline stalk them on facebook, I study their pictures, I watch their training videos, I examine their diets, I copy their routines, and I do the best I can with the time, genetics, and willpower that I have to look like them. I even sometimes watch their porn and cam shows! My aspirational bodies are all superfit. I suspect I might be slowly developing a case of bigorexia. I’ve even thought about competing, at least once, just to try it. Those girls are muscular, hard-bodied, and, often, ripped. And even the Western porn girls I see mostly look like gym rats. I think many of them are strippers too; I mean the pole-dancing kind, not the burlesque kind.
The women (Mr Gorgeous was a buff exception) I saw last weekend were a different kind of sexy. They were definitely gorgeous and in great shape, but they mostly weren’t buff, they weren’t hard, and they weren’t what bodybuilders consider thin–that is, ripped–either. They had a different kind of shape; shapely, but softer. I don’t mean fat, either. Believe me, these women pay attention to their figures, which were pretty much all better than mine. But their arms were soft, and their bellies, and their thighs. They all had asses, and not just glutes built by deadlifts, either, if you see what I mean. So much ass! I was jealous of all the booty, which I can only ever get by working out…none of my fat ever goes there!
It was crazy sexy, despite the fact that it wasn’t the sort of body I was used to, despite the fact that there was no full nudity (pasties!), and despite the fact that it was mostly very, very funny. I mostly make porn–sometimes what I do might be called erotica. But not much of it it is fun, and not much of it has the same sense of fun as what these performers do. It made me really start to think about what I want to do in 2015; what kind of stories I want to write, what kind of pictures I’ll post, what kind of videos I’ll make. I mean, eventually people will get bored with clit closeups and bodybuilding progress pictures, right? I’m not sure how things will change here, but I can tell you that I will be going to lots more burlesque shows!
How about you? Ever been to a burlesque show? Did you like it? Who are your favorite performers? What’s your favorite venue? Give them a shout out (and help educate me on burlesque) in the comments!