In which I burlesque up…Posted: May 22, 2011
Recently (yesterday), I went corset shopping. Not the sort of lingerie I normally buy, tbh (because you all wanted to know this), but it was becoming increasingly clear that a corset was a necessity.
I attend burlesque classes. It’s fun and feminine and yes, technically it is stripping, but a classier type of stripping, yes? We do a whole dance routine around it. During our first few classes (way back in September) our instructor impressed upon us the importance of taking on a character, a persona, a name (no, I’m not telling*) and that the removal of clothes within the story has “contextual relevance”. So, for example, when we danced to the Pink Panther music, the story was that we were women masquerading as a male detective…as the clothes came off it was revealed (fnarr) that we were, in fact, women…not just any women but jewel thieves! (Guess where the jewels came from? Ha!) See, it’s cheeky, not slutty, seductive, not aggressive. Anyway, all of this led to the corset.
Soon we are doing an old fashioned “glamour” burlesque routine. With a chair. (I’m 100% going to fall off/over/trip/get caught in it, but that’s beside the point.) Our instructor suggested the corset as part of the outfit. So I dondered through to Glasgow. It was a bit of a revelation.
Did you know you’re meant to hydrate before wearing a corset? You have to hydrate and eat. You should be calm and relaxed. When being laced into it you’re meant to chat away as normal. This should ensure that while the corset is tight, it’s not so restrictive as to make you faint. You chose the corset size by taking a waist measurement, minus four inches. (All of this information from a very fierce Glaswegian lady who has been wearing corsets for 30 years…) There were mortifying bits; including being felt up by the fierce Glaswegian, “ooh, squidgy” was the highlight…hm. And, man, was I nervous when I called my friend (amazing moral support) over to see the end result…I should have videoed her reaction, it was both hilarious (an actual leap backwards and a blur of words) and so good for my ego (“your BOOBS!”).
I’m still not sure what I think about the fact that I now own a corset, I felt very aware, beforehand, of the negative connotations of a garment so restrictive by its very nature, that literally tugs you into the shape meant to be most alluring to men, that women have worn so tight that they faint, for vanity…but honest to miscellaneous deity, I loved it. I couldn’t have predicted the change in my attitude. In the space of two hours I went from hiding in the dressing room to flootering around the shop, perusing the other merchandise (there was a rubber and section…boggled) and generally feeling pretty damn good about myself. I was fairly surprised to find that it wasn’t as restrictive (both physically or mentally) as I thought, although taking off shoes in a corset…not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. So yes, that was my day yesterday. We immediately went for dinner and a truly excellent pudding, this was possibly my subconscious way of rebelling against the restriction I’d just placed myself under? I think yes.
Buying the corset was the first step, dancing in it is going to be a whole new mission…
* Actually, if anyone wants to suggest a burlesque name for me, feel free in the comments.