Burlesque Chair Dancing Class

“These are chairs,” Arielle said, gesturing to the three objects in front of her.

They were, indeed, chairs.  The six ladies in the class nodded.

“However, they are not all the same.  You need to find the chair that’s right for you.  This is a typical metal folding chair, which I bought at Target for about twenty dollars.  This is another folding chair, white plastic with a higher back.  And this wooden chair is my chair, which I use in performances.  As you can see, it has a nice wide seat.  It’s sturdy.”

Over the next hour, Arielle showed us a series of moves.  I couldn’t believe that this was an introduction; wait a minute, I could.  I mean, in the movies or on the stage, performers make dancing with chairs look so easy.

That should be: DECEPTIVELY easy.

Some of the basic moves were easy enough: step onto the chair, pull your other leg up, and sit on the back.  Ok, I can do that.

Stand behind the chair, put your stomach on the back, lay your chest on the seat, then slither down to the floor without bumping your head or breaking your nose.

Um, can you repeat that one for me?

Ya, no, that’s not going to work for me.  I don’t have that much confidence in my upper body strength, or in my gracefulness.

That’s fine, Arielle understood when most of the class took that stance.  Ophelia tried it, and then admitted, “I’ve taken lots of classes.”  That was reassuring; I don’t have to master all the moves on day one.  Cool.

We learned how to pull a chair from behind us and put it down in front of us.  We learned the rules of dancing with a chair:

  1. Stay in front of it. Don’t put it between you and the audience; then they can’t see what you’re doing.  And trust me: you’ll want to see what Arielle is doing!
  2. Choose a nail polish that contrasts with your outfit, so that it stands out when you touch yourself. I’ve been doing it wrong for years!   My fingernails have always matched my clothes, and have usually been purple.  Guys must’ve been confused about where the dress stopped and the hands started!
  3. If the chair falls down, pretend like you did that on purpose. Dance on it, then smoothly pick it up, like, “Oh ya, I mean to knock the chair over.  Look, I’m cool.  Watch my ass shake.    You like it don’t you?”  Now you’re all like, what chair?  Something fell over?
  4. Dragging a chair on or off stage can be sexy. Who knew?!
  5. You can sit with your back to the audience, but remember to look at them to stay connected. This is a repeat of what Lisa and Molly had said, but it’s so important that it bears repeating.  Look into my eyes.  Stay with me.  Oh ya, look at this.  Now this.  Stare into my eyes some more…

Interesting side note, Arielle doesn’t dance with a smile.  She dances with a sexy little pout.  One of those, “You think you’re good enough for me?  Show me,” looks.  When she grins mischievously, it’s rather exciting.

At one point during the class, we moved our hips provocatively while one foot was on the chair and the other foot was on the floor.  Ophelia said, “You know this one, ladies, it’s just like having sex!”

I answered without thinking.  “What’s that?  It’s been so long, I don’t think I remember!”

Another classmate said, “I guess I should I keep my mouth shut, but I had sex this morning!”

I high fived her.  Heck, if it were me, I’d brag, too!

Speaking of bragging, Ophelia told me later, “I wouldn’t have guessed that it’s been so long for you.  You’re a natural.”

I answered, “Thank you!  That’s so sweet!”

Then she added, “Whatever you’re doing, it’s working for you.  So maybe you hold off until after your Bust Out.”  She was referring the grand finale of the Burlesque Experience classes, when I’d dance on stage in front of a crowd of 250 people.  I’m still trying to get used to that idea!

She smiled slyly and said, “If you can stay away from the cute Marine.”

Another classmate, Aly-Sinn, had a similar train of thought.  While we were practicing V-sits—legs up in the air at about 45 degrees, open the legs, then close, repeat—she said, “I have no problem opening my legs.  I’ve ALWAYS had trouble keeping them closed!”

On that note…

Cheers!

Arielle teaches other classes, too.  Contact me if you’re interested in learning more.  BTW, Molly Macabre provides private coaching for reasonable rates; I’m seriously considering hiring her to polish my performance.

For some idea of what Chair Dancing entails:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOGxTo2iMqU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scYcP-E_MHM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEjueEd4zCE

Burlesque Experience, Part III – Boas and Pasties!

Boa_sloves_shoes

“Put your boa around your neck.  We’re going to start by stroking it, ya, feel it.  No one needs to know that it’s scratching our necks; make it look so soft.  Now hook your thumbs under it and pop it out to the sides.  We’re going to lift it up, then lower it as we pivot, turning our backs to the audience.  Now, peep over your shoulder and…” Lisa continued the routine as we all got used to working with our boas for the very first time.

Earlier in the class, experts had shared some much appreciated information on costumes.  Chordella Smash, Molly Macabre, and Luscious Scarlet Peach have sewn and/or modified many costumes.  I can’t begin to share everything they told us, but here are some of the gems (pun intended):

  • To dance as Miss Piggy, Chordella sewed some simple pig ears of her own design onto a blonde wig.
  • When adding rhinestones to a garter belt, stretch it out to your size first. You can use a cardboard box and leave it on there to dry.  That way, the rhinestones won’t pop off when you put it on!
  • Cut up an old sequined jacket from the thrift store for a cheap set of bling to add to a new bra.
  • Make your own pasties by using cross-stitch fabric. Cut it half-an inch larger than your nipple, cut along the radius, then overlap it and glue.  Decorate with whatever bling you desire.
  • Toupee tape holds on pasties and may be less irritating to your skin.
  • Adding glitter to plain white shoes really dresses them up.  Add some rhinestones or shiny trim to the strap for an even fancier look.  If the glitter comes off, you can touch it up later.
  • If you’re going to use props, use over-sized props. Molly showed us a tea cup big enough to hold a basketball and a whistle as big as her fist.  They were decorated with rhinestones, of course.
  • Paint it! Molly had painted flames onto plain yellow fans from the dollar store.  They were beautiful!

The ladies were very knowledgeable and showed us stacks of costumes and pasties.  My favorite may have been the bra with the fringe, which was found in the upholstery section at Hobby Lobby.  The fringe, that is, not the bra!  It also had rhinestones glued on it, scattered like stars across the top half.  It looked like expensive lingerie and was beautiful!

No, wait!  The bra with the rhinestones all over was my fav: the gems were different colors on a white bra.  “I placed the large stone in the center first, then placed the smaller stones around it.  Then I just repeated that pattern, more or less,” Chordella told us.  The matching garter belt was also gorgeous!

After the costume panel was over, Molly shared some musicality advice with us.  “Listen to your music, really listen to it.  Get the lyrics sheet and write down all the downbeats and pauses.  Use those in your act.”  She demonstrated by snapping the fans open to drum beats in the music and making other key gestures in time with the beats.  Then she played a different song, and showed that the same moves could apply to a completely different set of beats.  She showed us similar techniques with other props.

My favorite lesson, though, was the eyes.  Molly knows how to keep eye contact with the audience and get them involved.  A playful peek, a bashful glance down, or a penetrating stare—they drew in the audience.  I was on the edge of my seat, and she kept her clothes on the whole time!  Well, until she showed us how to playfully remove a stocking.  But she just put that over her yoga pants.

The class flew by!  My classmates and I were furiously scribbling notes and asking questions the whole time.  We have lists of the best places to buy stuff around town: rhinestones and feathers and toupee tape.  Scarlet will make costumes or help modify them, for a fee.  Her work is so gorgeous that I am seriously considering employing her to bling up my corset and gloves.

Seriously, y’all, I’m an engineer.  If I try to apply rhinestones, even if I try to make them random, they will probably come out in a perfectly square pattern.  Knowing me, I’ll do science experiments to determine the proper ratio of glue per rhinestone to prevent disbonding, but also prevent glue from clumping around the stone.  I’ll need an extra pair of gloves, multiple rhinestones of varying sizes, a fixture and motor to simulate the stress seen while dancing…Well, let’s just say, that it’s easier to hire an expert.

I’m making fun of my engineering side just a little bit.  I can be creative at times.  However, I’m much better at painting with words than paint!

There are also experts who will help splice our music, if we wanted to combine songs or add sound effects.

Lisa (aka Carmen Diablo) knows all the cool kids!

My head was spinning with all the information.  Getting up to dance near the end of class was a welcome break to the information.  Only, it wasn’t.  That is, boas have specific dance moves.

“I can’t teach you everything about dancing with boas and gloves today, so visit You Tube University!  Check out a different burlesque video every day,” Lisa advised us.

Wow, who knew that there was so much to learn?  I’d better go check out You Tube, because I’ll be in Chair Dancing Class tomorrow night!

Before I go, though, let me just say: I’m having so much fun!  Playing with the boas, seeing all the costumes, and meeting these fabulous ladies was all FUN!  I can’t wait ‘til the next class and I love connecting with new friends on Facebook.  I hope there’s a show this weekend!!

Until then, I’ll practice with my boa and listen to my music like Molly said.  Anyone wanna come over and make pasties?

Cheers!

This is part of a continuing series on the Burlesque Experience.  Read the other parts here: Part I, Part II.

Match Madness Revisited: PSA

Hiker

I received this email on Match today:

DFib360J_3

Ok, he’s a little cynical, but I like his directness.  I also LOVE that he read my profile and is responding to something that I like, as well as my dislikes.  What a guy!  He’s 7 years older than me, but I can let that pass because he’s otherwise awesome.  He has recent pictures, dated and with captions.  They’re interesting and include pictures from recent races, so he stays in shape.  Check out this picture of his 6-pack:

DFib360J_2e

That’s my kind of guy!  Check out those crazy straws!  I wrote him back, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Public Service Announcement

Match.com advertises 6 months for free if you don’t find love in the first 6 months.

The fine print:

  • You must keep your account active.
  • You must send or respond to at least 5 emails each month.
  • You must have an approved profile picture.
  • You must call Match at least a week before your 6 months is up, and request the free 6 months.

It’s that last one that got me.  It’s buried in the legalese page of the guarantee rule, not on the easy-to-read, bulleted-list page.  So my credit card was charged $115 for a 6 month renewal.

Son-of-a-bitch.

Good news: I called them and they refunded my money.  The legalese page says that they won’t do this, so I can’t guarantee that they’ll do it for you.  Which is why I’m making this PSA.

Gary, Nadia’s new long-distance boyfriend—not to be confused with her Saturday guy or her Friday night date—called me “Jedi Jules” for my accurate Match profile psych evals.  LOL, I can read them well for other people, but I’m not doing so hot for myself!

The guy from Waco, who I’m trying hard not to refer to as “Waco Wacko,” texted me requesting a second chance.  Let’s review, shall we?

  • Baby Mama Drama. He has an alcoholic, abusive ex-wife who could show up at any minute and demand to see the kids.
  • He lives 2 hours away.
  • He moved waaaaay too fast.
  • He has four kids. Count ‘em: FOUR.  All under the age of 12.

That’s four more deal-breakers than I like in a date.

“Ignore him,” Gary said.

So I did.

While I was at dinner tonight with Jack, talking about his father, I received a Match email from someone with my ex’s name.  WHAT ARE THE F-ING CHANCES?!  I wasn’t attracted to the guy anyway, regardless of his name, so it was easy for me to say, “No, thanks.”  But man!  The TIMING!

I sent a couple of clever of emails off to guys this week.  They responded to that initial email, but not to my follow up email.  Why?  My clever repartee deserves one email, but isn’t enough for two?

For the record, here are my clever openers:  (Gary, got your pen and paper ready to take notes?)

  • “Your profile states that you don’t need someone as sexy as Ms. Jenner. How ‘bout someone as sexy as Ms. Jules?”
  • “I see that you’re a ballroom dancer. I’ve taken a few West Coast Swing lessons; want to learn with me?  Or, if you’re patient, would you like to teach me ballroom dance?”

In both cases, the guy applauded my pickup lines.  Then they ignored me when I followed up with, “How’s your week going?”  It’s not a particularly inspired question, true, but it’s one that should be simple to answer.

I thought.

Maybe I should have followed up with, “I’m off to a burlesque show.  Let me know if you want to join me there.”  Or, “Want to be the star of my next blog?”

I tried to keep it simple, per the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid.  But maybe the guys on Match are too used to simple.  Maybe it’s time to step up my game.

Then again, if they cannot recognize the awesomeness which is me from my profile, then they don’t deserve a second thought.

I think the Burlesque Experience must have boosted my confidence.  I no longer feel like over-analyzing these guys; I’m just ready to find one that deserves me.

That’s right.  I’ve moved from, “Why doesn’t he like me?” to “If he doesn’t recognize my awesomeness, he doesn’t deserve me.”

Thanks, Lisa.  My inner goddess is growing stronger.  I’m about ready for that Bust Out.

Oh, wait, that’s on stage in front of 250 people.  Maybe not *quite* yet.  Pass the wine!  No, make that whiskey!

Tonight, though, I have a 2nd date with Kenneth.  We’re going dancing.  If that goes well, I may not want to meet the Match guy.  Wish me luck!

Cheers!

Burlesque – Hot and Sweaty

Mina Volare

Mina Volare

“She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini…” the music played as Ophelia Wood and Sin LaVie pranced onto the stage.  They shed their beach cover-ups and hats to reveal matching bikinis.  They were both yellow with black polka dots!  Sooooo cute!

Ophelia and Sin looked at each other, put their hands on their hips, and projected their thoughts, “How DARE you wear the same swimsuit as me?!”

They play fought, and Sin ripped off Ophelia’s top, accidentally-on-purpose.  Ooops!  Ophelia covered up with a beach ball and danced around with a big smile, playing to the audience.  Not to be outdone, Sin took of her own top and covered up with a magazine, mugging for the crowd.  The playful fight continued until both ladies stood in g-strings and pasties.  They looked at each other, shrugged, and communicated through actions, “At least we don’t match any more.”

THAT’S the difference between burlesque and stripping: burlesque is FUN!!

I’ve visited the finest strip clubs in Austin, Dallas, and Houston.  I’ve seen some very talented ladies: some were very clearly trained in classical ballet and others could climb up a pole upside down with their eyes closed.  They all seemed bored, even when they were smiling and hustling a guy.  The men at the male strip clubs seemed to enjoy themselves a little more, but they still seemed to be working.

Burlesque dancers play on stage.

Maria Von ShutyoTrapp was the fabulous MC.  She started out the show by asking, “Who wants to get laid tonight?”

Then she handed out leis.  You know, the Hawaiian flower necklaces.

Anna Mulhouse danced to Maroon 5’s song “Sugar” and tossed candy to the audience.  How cute is that?!

Ginger Rockafella may have had the most fun.  She came out on stage in an old pink bathrobe, feathered cap, and a cup of coffee.  She yawned, chugged down the coffee, then performed an inspired strip tease that revealed sparkly gloves, flowered corset, and tail feathers that would have made Big Bird proud.  (Had Big Bird been pink, that is.)  Had I gone shopping with her, I may have said, “Uh, are you sure that that corset goes with that skirt?”  But you know, it worked!  It totally worked! She was fantastic!

The audience hooted and hollered, egging her on, letting her know that her moves were appreciated.

That’s another thing that’s different than strip clubs: the audience.  At strip clubs, there may be some cat calls, sure.  But mostly the patrons are silent and watchful.  At burlesque shows, you’re encouraged to applaud and make noise, so that the performers know that you appreciate their moves.

And this morning, I’m surprised I’m not hoarse.

There were some more serious acts.  Mina Volare (pictured above) wore a classy evening gown and long gloves.  Femme Le Soliel lived up to her hot, hot name (which means “sun” in French) with her seriously sexy, “wearing my boyfriend’s white button up, tie, and hat” act.  The heels and beautiful sparkly bra and panties set really completed the outfit well.  Madame Azucar Noir, Ms. Sapphire, Ariel and the others all heated up the stage with intriguing acts of their own.

Best of all, I learned some new moves that I’m going to incorporate into my act.  The one where the dancer bends over to touch her toes, then reaches through her legs to caress her legs and peek at the audience – I’m using that.  Ariel did the splits, and I’m doing that, too.

Just kidding.  I could NEVER do the splits.  Damn, woman, you’ve got skills!

I met a handsome man that night.  He’s a Marine who came out to support one of his friends.  “Add me as a friend on Facebook, so that I can tag you in this picture,” I told him.

And he did.

Later I programmed my phone number into his phone, just in case he needed it.  You know, in case a burlesque emergency arose.  ; – )  He might need a date to the next performance; that would qualify.

A few other men were in attendance.  Most were the boyfriends or husbands of the performers.  A few, like my Marine, were supportive friends.  I’d estimate that 70% of the audience were women who were BE alumni or knew them.

I especially love that some of my classmates from BE came out.

Ophelia Wood posted on her Facebook page, “Do you know the best part about being a burlesque performer? The rush of energy you get from performing….The ability to bring your creativity to life and share with other….The chance to dress in fantastical costumes …

“All those are great, but no, you’d be wrong as I was at first. It’s really worthwhile because of the awesome women that I have met through this hobby and how they will welcome me in and are fast friends – just because I have joined the community, I am included. Love all you gals.”

That’s exactly how I feel.  All of the performers welcomed me and the other new girls with open arms.  Several of them have connected with me on Facebook.  As I mentioned before, more than one mentor invited me over to her house to practice my routine.

Yes, Ophelia, you said it well: community.  Inclusion.  Thank you and everyone else for the warm welcome!  I feel like we’re friends already.

Now, let’s get up on that stage and have some fun!

Oh, wait, gotta have more classes first!  Monday: chair dancing lessons, following by an informal party at one of my mentor’s houses.  Saturday: class on the use of gloves and boas during the regular BE session.

Cheers!

July22_Poster

Jules Strawberry and Chickadee Lee

Jules Strawberry and Chickadee Lee

Lisa Carmen (coach), Jules, Karen (BE classmate)

Lisa Carmen (coach), Jules, Karen (BE classmate)

Blogiversary!!

JNS-2015-Delicious

Happy one year to Jules Rules Blog!  Thank you to all my readers who have quietly supported me, those that return day after day, and ESPECIALLY those who comment on my posts.

I have written over 200 posts during the past 12 months.  Woot!  I don’t believe in writing every day; I believe in writing when I have something fun to share.  Speaking of, here are the Top 5 Blogs for the past year:

  1. Lilly and Lucas Tied the Knot
  2. Engagement Announcement (another Lilly and Lucas post)
  3. Supermodel Contest (This one is about *me*! Yay!)
  4. Lilly Loves Lucas (REALLY? ANOTHER ONE?)
  5. Lilly ❤ Lucas Airport Video (OMG she gets 4 out of 5?)

Love you Lilly!  And watch out—my Burlesque Experience posts are going to dethrone you ;-p

Big thanks to everyone who entered the contest to win an autographed copy of my book!  Feeling generous, it is my pleasure to announce the winners:

  1. Kristin B.! Kristin shared one of my posts on WordPress.  Thank you, Kristin!
  2. Gary Mathews! Thanks, Gary, for sharing my posts and mentioning me in numerous blogs.  Even if you did insult me once or twice.  No hard feelings, Sweet Cheeks!  #flashdance
  3. Lisa Carmen! Thanks, Lisa, for being a kickass coach and for sharing my posts.  Looking forward to more “homework assignments” (read: wild nights on the town) with you!!

We had three winners, because we had so many entries!  Congrats to you all!  The check is in the mail!

Uh, I mean the book ; – )

Yesterday was my birthday.  I’m officially worth a 21 year old PLUS a 20 year old now.  Looking forward to next year, when it’ll be legal for me to drink twice as much.

That is, I’m 41 now.  Old enough to know better, but still too young to care!

The big party is on Saturday: laser tag, air hockey, and skee ball, mixed with Bailey’s Irish whiskey.

Looking forward to the coming year, I’ve got lots of good stuff:

  1. Burlesque Bust Out! This is my on stage appearance on August 21st.  I’ve got one month to master burlesque, put together a costume, choreograph a routine, and learn it by heart.  Oh, and then I get to strip in front of 250 people.  No problem!
  2. Graduation for my master degree! This will be the end of a 5-year journey for me.  I started it thinking, “Fuck it, if my boss will pay for a degree, why not?  I’ll go to class and learn something.  Otherwise, what would I do—sit on the couch and watch TV?”

Ya, I’m really looking forward to sitting on the couch and watching TV.  People keep talking about OITNB; maybe I’ll discover what all the fuss is about.  Or how about GoT?  I hear there are some exotic dancers in that one!  Maybe a little sex, too?

  1. Finish Jules Rules – Volume II! The outline is complete, notes are written, and chapter one is done.  I just have to fill in the rest.  Quick, read volume one before I get two published!
  2. Find the love of my life. Nadia, are you choking?  Why are you laughing so hard?  Nadia?

Here’s to another fabulous year!  Cheers!

JNS_2015 BW

Burlesque Experience Part II

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“I feel sexy!” I thought as I caressed my body and popped my hips to the music.  I was enjoying myself.  Lisa had taught us a simple routine which let us start dancing immediately.  “Left arm out, right arm strokes it.  Follow with your eyes; if you’re not connecting with the audience, watch your hands.  Keep your head up, smile…”

I glanced around at my classmates.  This was only the second class, and we had already started to transform.  A woman who had confessed to hating her body, looked like a pro.  She made me believe that she was beautiful.  Another stumbled a little, but caught herself and started over, determined to get the routine down.  She did, and she looked hot.  I smiled.  Everyone in the room looked beautiful; everyone was sexy.

Lisa stopped the music and picked up a marker to write on the white board. “Remember the 5 C’s:

  • Connection: Connect with your audience: look at them.  Or, rather, look at the top of their heads.  The spotlight will be too bright for you to see beyond the front row.  But the audience will know when you’re looking at them.
  • Charisma: Smile!
  • Choreography: Practice your moves.  You don’t need to know every step; maybe you just have certain musical queues that you hit.  And if you mess up, keep going!  You’re the only one who knows your routine.  I saw a dancer once, who struggled to get out of her corset.  She kept smiling and engaging with the audience while she tugged at it.  When she finally got it off, wow!  The release of energy was amazing!  The crowd went crazy!
  • Character: Know your back story, and work it into your routine.  One woman—the only woman that I’ve ever told to smile less—did a dark routine with a knife.  Get into your character and really think about that when you choose your music, too.
  • Costume: Same thing with costume.  Sinn La Vie cooked cupcakes, so she wore an apron; it was so cute!

The Burlesque Experience (BE) is a class to learn burlesque moves, but it’s much more than just a dance class.  It really is an experience.  We share our fears and what’s holding us back.  We share a part of our lives.  Sinn La Vie, Lisa’s assistant, said, everyone in the class will become friends.  I truly believe that; I’m already Facebook friends with three of my classmates.  I know that we’ll keep in touch after BE.

Before class, alumni of previous BE classes met us for lunch.  They were there to help us, ladies who were total strangers to them.  Lily LaCroix, Ophelia Wood, and others offered us their guidance.  After just an hour of getting to know each other, Lily invited me to visit her home where I can see her costumes and practice my dance routine.  I was truly touched.  These alumni are a testimony to how deeply the class affects people: they want to come back and help new students.  Some also contribute money for scholarships so that other women can take part in BE.  How many classes can say that?!

And hell ya, I’ll visit Lily’s woman cave!  She has some AMAZING peacock costumes.  I can’t wait to try one on!!

We’re all working toward our Bust Out, which is the final performance.  On stage.  In a theater.  In front of 250 people.  Deep breaths.  I’m taking deep breaths.  I love to be the center of attention, but being mostly naked in front of that many people intimidates even me!

About that, Lisa said, “Another thing: you are in Idea Land right now.  This is an easy place to be.  Crossing over to Reality Land is hard.  There are monkeys on the border.  As we get closer, these monkeys tell us, You’re not good enough! Or It’s too hard!  Right?” Lisa paused to get our buy in.  We knew what she was saying.  We’d all heard those damn monkeys; most of us, more than once.  “We’re not going to kill the monkeys, but we are going to pat them on the head.  They mean well.  But when I hear a monkey, I know that I’m on the right track, headed in the right direction.”

Powerful words.  Those monkeys have stopped me from taking chances before, and I could see from the looks on my classmates’ faces that they had been there, too.

Normally, though, I just laughed at those monkeys and did what I wanted to do.  Like now, taking this class.  If I don’t have monkeys trying to stop me, I get bored!

At the beginning of class, we introduced our personas.  These are the names and personalities that we’ll bring to the stage; our characters.  We have a quiet librarian, complete with modest glasses and long brown hair.  Then there’s the jewel thief, who likes to get caught, so she can get off!  Her nemesis is the bounty hunter, who used to catch the bad guys for the law, but now catches those bad boys for her own selfish reasons.  Oh oh!

One of my friends said, “I’m going to let my nerd flag fly.  I want to get you all into a room and make Dungeons & Dragons characters for your personas and play a campaign.”

I laughed.  I get her; I really do!

There are other, more exotic characters as well.  I’ll introduce mine when I have a picture to go along with the story.

I already have costume elements bought: a wig, a couple of skirts (I couldn’t decide which one!), a cape (which I may not use, because it’s the wrong fabric), and sequins.  I already had four corsets—for real!  They’re black velvet, purple, purple sparkly, and black satin.  My plan is, to try them on and see which one works best with the rest of the outfit.  But first, I need to go shopping for the fabric for my cape.  This is so much fun!!  A reason to shop and be creative—WHEEEE!

Lisa explained in the first class how the benefits of BE were like a pendulum.  “Bring your fear.  We all know how to be numb.  We use alcohol as liquid courage or use some other method to shut down our feelings.  But the more you bring to this class, the more you have to work and put into it, the higher you’ll swing on the other side.  It’s like a pendulum: the lower you are, the more work that you have to do, the more that struggle—the more exhilarating and powerful your Bust Out will be!”

In our one-on-one, Lisa told me about one of her favorite examples.  “It’s so hard to pick just one success story, since there’s at least one per semester.  The ones that work the hardest, have the best experiences.  One of my favorites was a woman who was 21 years old and had just lost 90 lbs.  She had no confidence and would cry after the first three classes.  She couldn’t make eye contact.  However, she stuck with it, and her Bust Out was fantastic!  That was about a year ago and she hasn’t stopped performing.  She’s done maybe 20 performances and is super dedicated.”

Lisa’s eyes shown with pride and excitement as she told this Cinderella tale.  Then she added, “I don’t like to take credit.  She worked really hard and she owns her success.  I’m really uncomfortable being put on a pedestal.  I’m a work in progress; just a human being.  I’m making it safe for people to be who they are.  We get too much pressure to be glossy versions of who we are, every day.  There’s a time and place for that: on the stage!”

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Deadly Sins Burlesque and Side Show

Speaking of the stage, Lisa and I joined some classmates in Deep Ellum (a neighborhood in Dallas) to watch a burlesque show.  The Devil on stilts carried two evil-looking voodoo dolls while he performed the Master of Ceremonies duties.  The show opened with a Ramones number: I wanna be Sedated played while a nurse attended to a patient in a wheelchair.  A little person (midget) took the stage and ROCKED IT!  She was beautiful, confident, and sexy!  Another performer incorporated the splits and a standing back bend into her act.  WOW!!

Frankie, Dallas’s own bearded lady, entertained us with a less athletic act.

That’s right, folks: a midget AND a bearded lady, with the Devil as MC.

“This is one of the more cutting-edge shows,” Lisa told me.  “Most Burlesque shows aren’t so…rock and roll.”

One of my girlfriends told the Devil that it was our birthdays.  (Mine is today, Sunday, July 19th.)  After intermission, he called us up on stage.  Somehow, glitter from one of the dancers wound up all over me.  Hmmm, how did THAT happen?!

On Wednesday, I’ll attend another burlesque show with Lisa.  This is the best homework assignment EVER!!

Cheers!

Tomorrow’s post: Contest winners!  Today’s your last day to enter!

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Thank you, Bye Bye. 

Jon Cryer plays Chiropractor Alan Harper on the TV show Two and a Half Men.

Jon Cryer plays Chiropractor Alan Harper on the TV show Two and a Half Men.

“My date last night was fun.  But I can’t date the man,” I told her.  Brandon and I had met on Match.com.  He was from Waco, but we got along well, so I invited him to a baseball game.  I was a bit surprised when he accepted the invitation, but it was a bit of an ego boost that he’d drive two hours to meet me.

“How did he manage to screw it up?” Naughty Nadia asked me.  “Did he pull one of the classic jerk moves, or did he come up with a new and exciting way to turn you off?”

“He managed to break several of Jules Rules,” I answered.  “When I texted him to say that I couldn’t date him, he asked me why.  I told him that answering that question got me in trouble.”

Nadia laughed.  “Yes, yes it has!  Like Mr. Can’t Buy Me Love, who got mad at you for saying that he bought you too many presents on your 1st and 2nd dates!  He was freaking out, saying that women say they want romance, but freak out when they get it!!” She said the last part in a mocking voice.

I laughed, too.  “He was sooo upset.  He didn’t get the fact that even though he gave me presents, he still had to listen to me when I talked.”  I rolled my eyes.  “How about the guy who tried to defend himself when I told him why I couldn’t date him?”

“Which one?!” she asked with a smile.  She was half-joking.

“The guy who called himself Mark in his emails on Match, then Mohammed when we met.  Something about him just screamed, Sleeper Cell to me!” I said.

She laughed.  “I get it!  I have friends from all over the world, but if someone lied about their name when I met them, I’d think something was shady, too!”  She stopped laughing long enough to take a drink from her whiskey glass.  Oh, yes, it was whiskey tonight—none of that sissy wine stuff.  “So tell me, what rules Brandon break?”

I passed her my cell phone so that she could see the text thread.

She almost dropped it, she was laughing so hard.  “You SERIOUSLY texted him a list of JULES RULES that he broke?!”

“Well, ya.  He asked!” I said.

The list was:

  1. Don’t talk so much about the ex-wife on the first date. If you must bring it up, keep it short and sweet.

“No way.  Isn’t that one of the most basic rules?  I mean, isn’t that a no brainer?” she asked.

“Well, ya.  I think he felt that he had to explain why he was a single dad raising four kids alone.  I get that.  And then, I was just nodding and listening.  He probably took that as a sign to keep talking, when in reality, I was silently freaking out,” I said.

“Really?  What did he say?” she asked.

“His ex was an alcoholic who verbally abused him,” I said.  “He told me a lot of detail—about 20 minutes worth—but that’s what it boils down to.  Oh, and she had an affair with the chiropractor.”

Naughty Nadia laughed.  “THE CHIROPRACTOR?!”

I cracked a smile.  “Are you picturing the guy from Two and a Half Men?” I asked, referring to Jon Cryer, who plays Alan Harper in the TV show.

“YES!!  OhmyGod Brandon looks JUST LIKE HIM!!” Nadia said.

“Wow, he does!” I replied, pulling a picture on my phone of Jon Cryer and then flipping back to Brandon’s picture from Match.  “What are the chances that he looks like a TV chiropractor, and his wife had an affair with a real chiropractor?  Do you think she got TV and reality confused somehow?”

“Stranger things have happened!” Nadia answered.

We fell down the Google hole for a minute, looking at other movies that Jon had been in: Pretty in Pink and Hot Shots!  Finally, we talked back around to Brandon.

  1. Send one text.   If you don’t get an answer, you can send another text an hour later.  That’s it.  Don’t keep texting.

“How many texts did he send you?” Nadia asked me.

“Ten,” I said.

“Wait, what?” she said, with a blank face.  “You’re kidding me.”

“Nope.  Ten texts.  They start with, I really had a nice time.  Thank you for inviting me, and go to How can the tollway be hosed at this hour??? And then circle back to You really smelled nice tonight…”

“Hold it.  He told you that you smelled nice?  Were you wearing perfume?” she asked.

“Nope.  I mean, yes, he texted that, but no, I wasn’t wearing perfume.  That was just ode de Jules,” I said.

We had a violent fit of giggles before we could pull ourselves together for the next rule.

  1. One email at a time. Commenting on my Match pics after we go out is odd.  You’ve already seen me, so you shouldn’t need to look back at my pics.  If you do, you don’t need to tell me about it.

“He went back and looked at your Match profile after you met?  Shouldn’t he have done that before?” she asked.  She had a puzzled look on her face.

“Right, after.  He commented, I want to go hiking with you sometime, on one picture of me hiking, for example.  And kept commenting on five different pictures,” I said.

“Ok, now that’s weird.  Doing that before you meet, ok.  Well, maybe one or two.  Five still seems excessive,” she said.

“Right!  He told me that he was flirting.  I get that.  But, like you said, two would have been enough,” I said.

We nodded to each other and I read the last rule.

  1. Less touching. I typically don’t kiss on the first date.

“What do you mean, less touching?  How much was he touching you?” she asked.

“He put his arm around me, and stroked my other arm with his hand.  He kissed my cheek a few times, and nuzzled me,” I said.  Then I admitted, “It felt kinda nice.  He was good at it, and I liked the attention.”

Nadia punched me playfully.  “Look at you!  Getting all cozy on the first date.  I’m surprised you didn’t tell him to back off, knowing you.  But hey!  If you were enjoying yourself, right on!”

I blushed.  “It made me feel pretty, I must admit.  It’s been a while since I had a boyfriend who held my hand and such.  But it was a bit too much too soon, at the same time.”

“If you say so,” Naughty Nadia said.  “A guy would have to do a lot more than that on a date to break my rules.”

“I thought you didn’t have any rules,” I said.

“Exactly!” Naughty Nadia said with a wink and a smile.

To his credit, Brandon accepted the list and said that he was going to work on all those things.  I wished him luck.

Cheers!

Still 3 more days left in the Contest!  Get your entries in, to win! 

Burlesque Class #2 will be on Saturday and we’re going to a show afterward.  Come back on Sunday to read all about the sexy fun!