Life Lessons from a Burlesque Show

My friends and I had a much needed girls’ night out this weekend and spent it in Nashville. All week long I looked forward to a tasty meal and my first visit to a burlesque show, something that has always intrigued me. What I didn’t expect was to come away from the experience with a new perspective on beauty and sex appeal.

City Winery in Nashville hosts a show organized by Gigi LaFemme every month. She MC’s and performs and brings in acts from all over the country. And she has a few regulars from the Nashville area. All of them were wonderful. None of them had what I would consider to be society’s “perfect body.” Some of the performers were gracefully muscular. Others were just a hair’s breadth away from masculine. Some would be considered voluptuous and buxom. One or two would have even been called chubby or maybe even a little more. They were all beautiful. And sexy. And oozed confidence–which is something I have only ever had for the briefest of seconds. The idea of being in front of a room full of people sends me into a dither of perceived inadequacy. The idea of performing half naked in front of any people practically sends me into the fetal position.

But as I sat there, thinking about how I was the fat duckling in my group, wishing I didn’t feel like I was wearing a green gunney sack, watching these amazingly brave women fling clothing across a stage and shimmy their breasts at perfect strangers, I began to see with different eyes. These dancers had embraced who they were and by doing so, and presenting it for the rest of the world to see with the supposition that it would embrace them and love them, too, they had succeeded in making that happen. I watched them–rail thin or chunky, voluptuous or spare–and I saw that not only were they beautiful but they were sexy, and they made me feel like I could be considered beautiful and sexy. Their confidence was contagious. Finally, I actually believed the men in my world when they said that a woman’s figure didn’t have to be perfect. Finally, I understood what they meant when they said it was all in the attitude.

Don’t worry, though, I’m not changing my medium from the written word to nude dancing. I will continue, though, to branch out and experience other art forms for myself, and I encourage you to do that as well. You never know what you might learn.

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