Burlesque-act-001

21

The water was choppy and colder than I was used to, but on this triple-digit day there was no debate.

“It’s too hot”

“Right!?” He was faced-down on his towel, but the beads of sweat on his back agreed.

“I’m going in.”

I stood up, brushed the sand from my palms and pranced my completely naked, out-of-shape ass in front of everyone on the nude beach and walked.

As my body floated with the current, my belly and me had a moment. I laced my fingertips across my navel and exhaled with determination to get back into stripper shape. Fine – as close to stripper shape as a middle-aged broad can get.

“You just have to get all the way in, then it’s awesome!” I was thirteen, bragging about how I had the balls to brave the cold (it only took the afternoon to submerge myself completely).

Once I was swimming, my eyes surveyed the people along the shore. It didn’t matter that my body wasn’t perfect. That a crowd of strangers saw my cellulite and buddha belly in motion. I was comfortable in my skin. I wasn’t happy with my body at the moment – but holy fuck – I was happy.

A swell lifted my body – and the water mirrored my breath – sighing with me in the realization of just how far I’ve come.

Christine Macdonald
FCCmac

A safe kind of high: My unexpected relapse

You would think after fifteen years, my memories of “rolling” and free-falling inside myself would be strung together on a distant, blurry line, for which I am older and wiser living clear on the other side. For the most part, this is true.

I can’t remember my last night taking Molly (we called it ecstasy, or “X”), but it’s been so long, my cravings are nearly non-existent. There are times when I allow myself to enjoy a memory or two – and those flashes in my mind are always wrapped in a glittery bow of reckless abandon, stitched together with youth and frivolity. These warm and fuzzy emotions are always balanced by the harsh realization that thanks to a solid five-year, six-pill-a-day habit, my brain is now permanently damaged. My docs and I have a good thing going now, with regular maintenance of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) therapy. It’s a pain in the

Christine Macdonald
Bob Fosse obsessed

Music and Chair Shows: Reflections of a retired stripper

Navigating six-inch heels on stage with smoke in your face takes practice. Sporting a smile while dancing to Me So Horny in those heels, and you’ll need a cocktail.

One of the unique challenges I faced during my ten-year career as a stripper was pretending to like certain types of music. Like suffering through a bad date, you realize something isn’t your taste but you smile politely and muddle through.

A typical Saturday night set on the main stage was shared with three other women, each providing the DJ with very specific song requests. I was always the Enigma or Nine Inch Nails girl with an occasional PJ Harvey thrown in for good measure. Pair that up with the Bel Biv Devoe and Naughty by Nature chicks and let the muddling ensue. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate a little Ice Cube with my INXS; I just didn’t feel sexy dancing on stage with them. I always felt like an extra on MTV’s Beach House.

My personal taste in music was a bit more edgy and alternative than what was played on mainstream radio. In classic narcissistic fashion, I took full credit for introducing the local

Christine Macdonald
Vacation Part Two: Stripper Reunion

Vacation Part Two: Stripper Reunion

There’s nothing like balancing out a whirlwind sexcapade with some overdue girl time during the same vacation. The fact that the girls were once strippers 20 years ago? Well, that makes it even better.

It doesn’t matter if you were college roommates, volunteered together in the Peace Corp, or worked the shower stage together in Waikiki, to reconnect with old friends is a true gift to the people we’ve become. We see our [younger] selves in their eyes, and through walking hand-in-hand down our memory mazes, we tap in to the part of our spirits we thought were long gone.

Freedom tastes sweeter the second time around.

As former strippers, there’s a perfect storm of brass balls and naïveté we young gals possessed. We knew enough to balance the tightrope of mischief and debauchery, but not enough to realize there was no safety net below.

To reunite with my stripper sisters last week was nothing short of fabulous. We marinated in

Christine Macdonald
Musical memory: who was your first concert?

Musical memory: who was your first concert?

There’s something about being in the presence of live music that provides such a gift. As audience members, we allow ourselves to get lost within the melody, riding the waves of each instrument, feeling the energy as it seeps into our blood. With every drum beat, guitar riff, base line and lyric – we soak it all in. What’s theirs is suddenly ours, wrapping around our hearts, moving our bodies to the beat of extraordinary creation. Live music is so raw and real, never duplicated in the exact way you experience it, which is what makes living in the moment, and sharing performances of your favorite musicians priceless.

It doesn’t matter if the venue is small (my favorite), or the size of a football field, the energy among audience members is palpable – even before anyone steps foot on stage. And when they do – when the space is illuminated and that very first sound fills the air, we all feel it – the collective first musical kiss. Our knees get weak and butterflies turn to thunderous applause and cheers.

On the heels of a Billy Idol reference regarding last week’s post (with those crazy 80s photos), I thought this would be a fun question to answer.

Who was the first person (band) you saw in concert?

I’ll go first.

The first (supervised, with my mom) performance I saw was Stevie Wonder, at age 13 in 1982. He rocked that piano out like no one’s business; so much so, at one point, he actually fell off his piano chair. He quickly recovered, and finished the show with the most insane rendition of “Boogie On Reggae Woman” I ever heard. To this day, I can’t keep still when hearing that tune.

My first (unsupervised) concert was a triple threat of musical goodness: Cheap Trick, who opened for The Police, who opened for

Christine Macdonald