I don’t know how many of you have been to burlesque lessons before, but at some point in the planning process you have to confront the big question: What are you supposed to wear? There were no instructions in the online promo. All I knew was that Virgie Tovar (above) a.k.a. Dulce de Lecherous, a “rising fat burlesque starlet” was going to teach a free class on “Burlesque Basics for the Shy and Awkward” at a sex shop on Polk.

For more info on why I’m doing this in the first place, see my previous post.

Burlesque, for those of you not featured on this map, is a trendy revival/re-appropriation of 1920’s striptease. I’ll let Christina Aguilera and Cher handle the rest:

So getting back to the matter at hand: do you layer? I thought of wearing soccer shorts under my pants. But what kind of confidence would that project?  Boxers or boxer briefs? Was anyone else at the event going to find out the answer to the question? I hoped not, but now was not the time for half-assing. Ha!

I chose a daring v-neck notable only because it gave an easy out when, at the beginning of class, Virgie–excuse me, de Lecherous–asked us, by way of introduction, what was making us feel sexy. “I don’t want to know your name!” she snapped.

We were arranged in your standard meeting room in black plastic chairs that made a semi circle around de Lecherous and her 90’s era Sony blast-master. I was one of three men in a room of at least 30. The white-haired man sitting to my left, who was wearing a beige shirt and beige khakis, and had the presence of someone who’s life obsession is orchids, was the first to raise his hand.

“My wife.” He said. “She makes me feel sexy.” There was a collective, “Awww” and she blushed and squeezed bis hand.

“My great white ass.” Someone else said.


“I just had a massage,” said a Scandinavian blond.

“My vu-jay is pierced!” There were cheers.

“I wore my glitter leggings to work!”

“How about the boys?” asked de Lecherous, looking at me. I was coming up against what was going to be a constant dilemma in my quest to seek out the unusual:  the anomaly isn’t going to be the girl bragging about her groin piercings. It was going to be me, and people were going to have some fun with it.

“I feel sexy,” I said, “because I’m wearing a v-neck that profiles my ample chest hair.” That got a quiet chuckle–I’d passed the first test.

Read on…