Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tassel Tee's? Fuggedaboutit. Let's talk about tassel sleaze.

My bro' over at the Conservatarian pointed out another story that dovetails with my post on Little Miss Pole Dancer. Yes, another item in the Junior Skank line.

Don't get your panties in a bunch, Moms of America.
No girl kid on the planet would ever wear anything this ridiculously lame.

Actually, I did see this at the time but I really couldn't think of much to say about it. Obviously, it's stupid and tasteless. But beyond that, does anybody under the age of, oh...60 years old even know what the hell tittie tassels are? (See this obit.) I mean, that kind of quaint gesture of modesty for strippers is strictly from the boom-bada-boom-bada-boom-boom-boom era when the gals who shed their clothes on stage were known as ecdysiasts. (You can look it up.) Go to a strip club these days and you'll see the title "stripper" is actually a misnomer. The whole point nowadays is to come out wearing as little as possible, get even that off as soon as possible then throw yourself strategically around a pole so as many guys as possible can see your cooter as much as possible.

The Tittie Tassel. Seductive and hypnotic.

I have to brag that I was lucky enough to see one of these old school burlesque shows. My family used to spend every summer at Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio. Or as my Uncle Jim used to call it - The Tobacco Road Disneyland. One night a week the local theatre was devoted to this archaic but still tantalizingly sleazy entertainment. This was due in part to the fact that the Navy had some type of training facility in the area. Hence: sailors.

So one night in the summer of 1966 it was decided, by which family member I don't specifically recall (but most likely Uncle Jim), that we were all going to go down to see the burlesque show. Like most of the side adventures on these family vacations in the 50's and 60's the impetus for this idea was most assuredly fueled by alcohol. Believe me, the adults in my family made the guys on Mad Men look like rank amateurs. On this night anybody game was enlisted in the fun. The oldest, my Nana, who was probably in her early 70's. The youngest, me and my brother, 15 and 17 respectively. (My other cousins were either not interested or not yet teenagers and deemed too innocent.) The rest of the party consisted of my parents and assorted aunts and uncles.

I honestly don't remember how in the hell we got in the door. It wasn't like my brother and I were prematurely gray or had mustaches. I've always figured that my father talked the proprietor into letting all of us in. He was an attorney of Irish ancestry and persuasive by training and genetics. Looking back though, its entirely possible that the guy and his joint were just seedy enough that old adage "money talks and bullshit walks" was the magic password.

First up was a stripper whose name I can't recall. I think that's because she was the only one on the bill that had a name as opposed to a moniker. I do remember that she didn't look like she was new to the business or to anything else for that matter. Then came (no pun intended) the baggy pants comedians doing their cobweb covered skits with the help of the girls. It was the usual shaggy dog stuff with doctors and nurses and housewives and plumbers. I surprised myself by actually understanding the double entendres. Precocious? What can I say?

A blonde named Sandy Beach was the next act. She was the youngest of the lot by a mile. At least she appeared to be the only one that could have possibly been born after Hitler came to power. She was a hard looking semi-pretty woman with a wanton sag to her average boobs who danced like she was bored out of her mind. "No pep" as my grandmother whispered to me. The main attraction was an old warhorse of a stripper named Busty Russell. Ugly as a mud fence but her tits were HUGE! She did that trick where she could make the tassels spin clockwise, then counter clockwise and then in opposite directions. All without stopping! At the end of her set she tucked a breast under each arm, then turned around and squeezed; making them look like veiny stretched balloons that were winking at the audience. Tah Dah....The Grand Finale.

You had to hand it to all the ladies. They did all the old school stripper cliches. The Tassel Twirls, the Tittie Teases, the Butt Crack Peek-A-Boos, and of course, the Curtain Hump. I don't think I have to tell you that the sailors loved every second of it.

Busty Russell. OK, Miss America, she ain't.

As we were leaving I remember my dad laughing his ass off as he asked my grandmother how she liked the show. She shot him a smile and said, "It was a nice night out." For me, my first experience with sex as recreational entertainment was kind of a letdown. Funny, but for a kid so horny he could pop a boner during a history class recapping of the Lewis and Clark expedition, I found the LIVE GIRLS BURLESQUE about as sexy as a Betty Boop cartoon.

But I'm glad my Nana had a good time.

Update: From my bro' The Conservartian.

I read the strip show story. My recollections are a bit different, but it makes a good story. I remember Nana and women leaving the burly early, then when they wanted to go home, Nana went to the box office (not wanting to pay admission again) and told them she need to go in and get her son (and Uncle Jim, George and Dr. Watson, if I recall) out. Dad yucked that on up for hours. 45 years old and his mother is dragging him out of the Buryl-Q.
Me: I will cede to my brother on the ending to the story. When I am foggy on the past I do the best I can. The seediness of the evening and the weirdness of this being a family outing I trust remains undisputed.

1 comment:

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