I didn’t want to be a stripper.
Really, I have no idea what I wanted from the exotic dance class I’d
enrolled in at an adult education center. I didn’t know whether the
course catalog’s promise to help “create a full repertoire of
floor-routine and chair moves you can use in enticing performances” was
an achievable or even worthwhile goal. But there I was in a leotard
and stilettos, undulating my hips against an inert and perfectly
The first order of business on day one was to pick our stripper
names. The gaggle of married lady friends in matching Pink leotards
seemed to be in a geographical mood, seeing as how they chose names
like Savannah, Sierra and Asia. The mousy woman recently dumped by her
boyfriend chose Sexy Sadie because it was her ex’s favorite Beatles
song. The pretty but uptight Indian woman apparently didn’t grasp the
smutty aspect of the renaming process because she replaced her
stripper-ready real name, Shiva, with Diane. I went for Cinnamon,
possibly the most clichéd stripper name in the history of the universe,
but which impressed my classmates nonetheless.
Our second task was to learn the basics, namely, the sexy walk,
grinding against a wall and “butt circles.” Circling the hips whilst
jutting the posterior outward is how one performs the indispensable
“butt circle,” the centerpiece of any striptease worth its weight. In
fact, said our instructor, Candi Apple, the move makes up ninety
percent of any performance and is always a good fallback during lulls.
When in doubt, do butt circles. An apt piece of advice for much of
In the second class, I realized something most people don’t
understand about the tease: it’s damn hard. Easing your back onto the
seat of a chair then spreading your legs in the air? You can’t just do
it, the move takes vast amounts of coordination. Crawling across the
floor like a lascivious feline? Without hours of practice, you look
like an out-of-control slinky.
Candi Apple wasn’t thrilled with my sexy walk. The point was to
strut to the beat of the music, but unlike the rest of the class, I was
catching the backbeat, if you consider Pour Some Sugar on Me as having a backbeat. Once the crappy ‘80s-era hair bands were replaced with Beyoncé, all hell broke loose in my hips.
“Don’t dance, Cinnamon,” Candi Apple shouted as I shimmied across the floor. “Stop being funky!”
Certainly, there was something compelling about the whole scenario.
The gaggle of married gals seemed smack dab in the middle of a sexual
renaissance, rediscovering their bodies after decades of matrimonial
monotony. Sexy Sadie had retrieved some confidence and the Indian
woman had added some voluptuousness to her willowy charm.
Yet, something rubbed me the wrong way. Stripteases are hot. But
if you’re counting steps and making sure your walk isn’t too funky, how
much energy are you putting toward seduction?