How Burlesque Helped Me Heal


How stripping helped get one woman back on her feet and discover her inner vixen.

I'm a freelance private investigator based in Paris. I don't stalk people and I don't wear a trench coat and sunglasses—unless it's simultaneously raining and sunny. My company conducts investigations of high-flying financiers. While I have no interest in the finance world whatsoever, my entire income derives from it, and in last year's economic crisis, I had zero income for three solid months. The Frisky: Get Your Rocks Off: 8 Songs For Stripping

The U.S. job market tanked, the dollar crashed, and my company laid off 16 investigators. While I kept my job, there was just no work to do, and I felt like I'd been placed on pause in a world where the film continued on without me. I wept uncontrollably. I lived on baguettes and potatoes. I borrowed money from concerned family members. Friends gave me boots when winter struck because mine had holes in them. It was very Depression Era, financially and emotionally. The Frisky: How To Strip According To Burlesque Bombshell Little Brooklyn

All of this passed in time, as crises tend to do, and my work life returned to normal. But the experience left me feeling shaken and insecure. I longed for my old life—a life based on more than survival. I missed the humor of my pre-financial-crisis days, the sheer pleasure of being alive. I needed something to lift my spirits and take my mind off things. And then one day I came across a video of famed American burlesque performer Dita Von Teese dancing at the Crazy Horse, a well-known Parisian cabaret. She was glamorous and cheeky, both a parody of and the embodiment of female sexuality. Three minutes later I was enrolled in a class to learn the art of burlesque, a.k.a. the striptease. The Frisky: What's It Like Being A Mom Who Does Burlesque?

I armed myself with high heels, garter belts, and thigh-highs, and went to my first class. There were five other women there, all of them French, between the ages of 25 and 36. We stood side-by-side in front of a mirror, wiggled our hips, and practiced removing elbow-length gloves with our teeth. With the body of an adolescent boy and the bank balance of a homeless person, I could hardly be described as a pin-up girl. But the spirit was there. I returned for another class. The Frisky: MERRIMe, A New Web Comedy About Online Dating