A few years back I took a weekend workshop on love, sexuality, and intimacy. Go figure, right? I’m sure this comes as a total surprise to you that I would be interested in such a thing. *places her tongue firmly in cheek*
It started on a Friday night, and ended on a Sunday afternoon, with most people showing up earlier in the afternoon on Friday, and staying later on Sunday to socialize. It was a pretty intense weekend considering that, for the most part, I really knew absolutely no one there, save for my friend who convinced me to go.
On the Saturday night of the workshop they held a talent show. You were not required to, but were encouraged to participate. You could do anything you wanted, but you only had 3 minutes for your performance. Some people sang, some danced, some played the guitar, and some recited poetry. It was actually quite a good array of various talents, and quite enjoyable. We were all aware prior to the workshop about the talent show, so we could come prepared accordingly if we chose to perform.
I love to dance, but I have not had any real formal training, save for a few years of dance lessons of various styles as a kid; ballet, modern, and jazz. My father tells me that although I went to college for art, I really majored in “dance club”, and seeing as it was NYC and I did frequent an awful lot of clubs, I suppose you could say he was right. Still, dancing to techno music isn’t exactly the kind of dance that requires much technical “training”. It does, however, require good rhythm and stamina. Oh Tunnel NYC, how I miss you!
Dancing is when I feel most free, and most myself in purest form. Once I let go, all shreds of self-consciousness slip away, and I just flow effortlessly. I can get myself lost in a song; in its rhythm, in its words, until it consumes me and I become it. This past February at my cousin’s wife’s 50th birthday party they had a DJ, and I spent most of the night dancing away. My cousin Dave at one point in the evening caught my attention and asked me “How old are you again?”, and I smiled and replied, “36, why?”. He then told me that he kept having friends ask who that amazing dancer was, and they asked him how old I was. He said he thought I was in my mid 30’s, and when he told them that, they all thought that I was, in fact, a teenager! Awwww. This is what every 36 yr old woman wants to hear! I told Dave o tell them they were my new best friends. Dancing makes me feel like a force of nature; uninhibited by anything, anyone, anywhere.
But, I digress…
For the Saturday night talent show I had decided I was going to do a strip tease to Peggy Lee’s “Fever”. I didn’t really practice, and I had no routine planned. I had maybe run through a few practice dances moves in my living room, but that was it. Like the way I do a lot of things in my life, I was going to make it up as I went along.
I wore a deep cool-toned red crimson dress, which was made of that drapey lycra material. The halter style neckline drapes in rolling cascades of thin fabric i a curved “V” between my small breasts, and the back plunges, open and inviting, to just above the cleavage of my perfectly round bottom. Every inch of the dress hugs the body, until it begins to fan out somewhere around the knees like a fishtail. Very easy to move in, and might I add, very slinky, like me. Underneath the dress I wore a pair of black lace-topped thigh high silk stockings, the kind that stay up on their own, no garters needed, and a thin chiffon thong trimmed in black lace. I was barefoot. I can dance in heels, but I didn’t pack any somehow.
I was surprisingly nervous as I waited behind the room divider that was supposed to be our “backstage”. I was having second thoughts about stepping out there. I knew there were people in attendance that were actual trained dancers. All my self-doubt and fear rushed in, and I kept vacillating over whether I was going to bolt or not. The person who went on before me wasn’t super awesome, so somehow their lack-luster performance gave me courage to suck it up and go for it. This is sometimes a point of humor for people who know me because they don’t see me as being nervous or self-conscious. They see me as loving the performance, with an exhibitionist side that loves to play. And I am somewhat exhibitionistic, though really it’s just that I am very comfortable in my own skin. I am also, despite notions to the contrary, shy.
Finally they introduced me, and started my music as I walked anxiously out into view. I told myself to imagine being Aphrodite, the Goddess of love, and bring her from the firmament, to manifest in an earthly body. Beginning in the center of the stage, I pulled up a chair to use as a prop. I faced the wall, and got courage by dancing with it as first. Dancing is one thing, being aware that a roomful of 90 people had all their 180 eyes on me is a different story. When I turned around, I slithered down the wall and back up, and then strut straight forward toward the audience. I decided I now could own that stage I was on, and the audience watching. That energy propelled me, fed me, and I fed them back like the smooth flow of an electric circuit.
I couldn’t even tell you now as I recall it all, just what moves I did or didn’t do, or what it all ended up looking like. From that point on I was on autopilot, riding the energy exchange between myself and those watching. I focused on a few people in the front row, and drew from those connections.
I removed only one item of clothing: my red dress.
The music faded down around the 3 minute mark, and the room exploded in applause. I was so relieved, and joyous too. Three minutes is a long time to do a strip tease where you only end up removing one item of clothing. *smiles* That takes a real effort! After everyone was finished performing, we milled about congratulating one another on our performances. The couple who I knew were professional dancers came up to me, told me that me choreography was amazing, and asked where I trained. I was surprised, in shock, and flattered. I told them I hadn’t taken dance since I was a little girl, that I honestly was scared shitless out there, and had made the whole thing up as I went along! They were taken aback, and encouraged me to keep dancing! That felt so good to hear, because I was afraid in the beginning that I looked like I had no clue what I was doing.
Peter, one of the two workshop facilitators, came up and said to me, “That was the sexiest strip tease I ever saw where only one piece of clothing was removed!” You know, I don’t think it was until that very moment that I had actually realized that I only removed the dress alone. *laughs* Honestly though, you have to eave a little mystery.
If there is one thing I have learned as I have grown older, it’s that there is power in a mystery. While I have no issues with being naked and enjoy it very much, despite the fact that I have a normal, un-airbrushed-looking body that is far from the magazine image of perfection, I have learned that being totally naked leaves nothing to the imagination. It leaves nothing to hunger for discovering, and honestly, there is something really sexy about discovering the nuances of a body; each rise, dip, and curve, one morsel at a time.
I could have taken off everything, but then what would be left to explore? What would be left unknown? What would be left for me to keep, and gift to those I felt worthy of more, if they had already seen what everyone else had seen?
I wanted to leave them wanting.
Now that, is a gift.