What’s It Like Being A Mom Who Does Burlesque?

Putting on pasties for the first time was fabulous. Putting on pasties for the first time while lactating—well, that was fabulous and messy. But no matter what, I refuse to turn them in!

Before I became a mom, I regularly emceed a bunch of New York-based burlesque shows (Starshine Burlesque, Le Scandal, and Red Hots Burlesque to name a few) and I found that audiences enjoyed my raunchy persona, a combination of Elvira’s boobs and wardrobe, Ethel Merman’s voice and Rudy Ray Moore’s mouth (and if you don’t know who Rudy Ray Moore is, I encourage you to get schooled immediately). But once I had a kid, everyone seemed to assume that I would change, that I’d become more, oh, I don’t know, virginal. I always thought that was kind of odd. After all, I had an 8 pound 12 ounce infant pop out of my vag, so there was no longer anything even remotely virginal about me (not like there had been before).
Although I took a little time off (hey, one of the keys to being in burlesque is feeling sexy, and I won’t lie: post-childbirth, it took me a while to feel sexy again!), when my daughter was about six-months-old, I started contacting my old burly-Q buddies to let them know I was ready to get back in the game. They were all very sweet and booked me immediately, but they seemed surprised that I wanted to continue doing burlesque at all.

Audiences seemed to feel the same way. Whenever I mentioned that I had a kid at home, I always heard gasps or nervous giggles. It was as if, as a mom, I wasn’t allowed to do certain things—like have random female audience members lick whip cream off my boobs (I enjoy reliving my liberal arts college lezzie days) or participate in a simulated orgy to “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me” or sing a torch song to my vibrator. (Hey, I never said my act was classy. I know I’m one step down from the strip club den mother in Showgirls.)

If anything, being a mom has turned me into more of a perv, at least on stage. That’s partly because I no longer have the time to be a sexual deviant in real life. After spending all day being “mommy,” it’s a relief to be a foul-mouthed temptress on the boards (and to get paid for it, too!). Post-mommydom, I’ve said things and gone places I never thought I would as an emcee. A few weeks ago, I hosted a show in which a performer rubbed her nipples during an act. After she finished, I took the mike and started rambling about how the last time my nipples saw that kind of action was when my daughter unwittingly reenacted the “Tune in Tokyo” scene from Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. I got laughs and groans (not sure if the groans were inspired by my lewdness, or the fact that I made such an arcane pop-culture reference), then I demonstrated how I could lick my own nipples (thank you double Ds!). And everyone in that room—especially me—had a rollicking good time.

There are other red hot mamas. So many in fact, that in May (shameless plug alert!), I’m producing and hosting an all-moms burlesque show starring fellow burly-Q breeders Camillicious, Fritzi Collins, Ravenna Black, Tessie Tingle, Allison Tilsen and The Incredible, Edible Akynos. Like me, they find a way to balance maternity and mammary-baring.

I think we do it by embracing our whole selves, instead of getting caught up in the unsustainable Madonna-whore-Britney-Lindsay-complex that obsesses much of the world. After I get home from a show, I take off my lashes and my corset and my pasties and my glitter and my performing persona. I’m mommy again. But I’m still me…and I know that deep down inside, I’m one twisted burlesque bitch.