|Bob Mackie's Version Complete with Blinking Boobies|
I took my son to meet his first stripper yesterday. He wasn’t overly impressed. Perhaps because he’d seen a few on video the day before and the film versions were a tad more endowed than the live version. In matters of strippers, I hear things are better on film. We’re trying another one on Friday. Perhaps Girl Friday will be more to his liking, or at least have the ability to pull his attention from the pile of Hot Wheels in his backpack.
Before you call Child Protective Services, allow me to explain. I work in the world of professional theatre. I have for years. In between and often simultaneously while teaching, I’ve managed to flesh out a nice career in costumes. It’s a great way to make a few bucks doing something that just comes as second nature. Need a nude bodysuit with nipples and vajayjay outlined in glass beads? I’m your gal. Perhaps you need someone to create life-like blood splatter from a gunshot wound to the chest. I got it covered. Dancing unicorn? No problem. Crack ho? Give me 5 minutes. Or maybe you just need a beautiful period gown from the turn of the century? I can do that too, but it’s not nearly as much fun. Theatre, dance, film, performance art, I’ve done it all. I don’t, however, do Halloween, except for the Midget. And needless to say, he steals the show every Halloween.
Though incredibly dramatic by nature, I’m not really what one would consider a ‘theatre person.’ I hate show tunes and I know relatively nothing about musicals. I do wear a lot of black but that’s more to hide my big butt than to appear dramatic. I fell in to theatre more than anything else. I became a costume designer because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go into fashion or into sculpture – costumes seemed to be the perfect mix. Ok, that and because my high school guidance counselor told me that “Real costume designers do not come from a town of 6000 in the middle of Iowa.” 25 years later I’m still taking design jobs just to spite the old hag. Over the years, I’ve managed to embarrass myself among some of theatre’s biggest - even Arthur Miller, and had a ball. Though I’ve tried many times to quit, I always go back. Theatre is my go to job and since arriving in our new local, I’m back at it. And while years ago I kept working in theatre because it was exciting and fun, now I’m back because it’s the perfect Mom-job. I have built in child labor with nimble little fingers to do all of my fine beading and detail work. Ok, just kidding. I’m no Kathie Lee Gifford but I can save a fortune on daycare by just dragging him along and he doesn’t seem to mind. If he can’t entertain himself with the toys he brings along, his dress-up options are endless. You have no idea how many things a 4 year old boy can do with a stripper’s bra.
In his four years, the Midget has been privy to some extraordinary costume endeavors preformed on the dining room table from a trio of gigantic horse heads to a bedraggled African army to the current bevy of strippers. He’s spent countless hours backstage in dressing rooms and he knows the drill. Find a dressing room, unpack snacks and Matchbox cars and keep busy until Mom is done. And in the case of our current contract – Gypsy - pay no attention to the stripper in the corner.
Now before you all think it’s a great economical plan to take your child to work with you on a daily basis – it’s important to note, it can be dangerous and as in the case of the Midget, scarring to the point of developmental delay. About a year and a half ago, I had taken the Midget with me to one of Philadelphia’s largest theatres. I’d been contracted in to do some distressing. Distressing is the process of using various paints, graters, sanding devices and wire brushes to turn pristine new clothes into something befitting the script, in this case a battle-ragged army, and a handful of dirt poor hookers. While professionally I was dealing with war wounds, personally I was locked in my own war of wills centering on the area of poop with the Midget. I felt the most appropriate place for him to do it was in the potty. He disagreed. Strongly. He’d been peeing in the potty for months but for some reason, refused to poop anywhere but in his pants. As any desperate mother does when stuck in a mind-meld with their suddenly demonic offspring, I shared my problem with the Universe and asked every single parent/aunt/uncle/grandma/godmother – you name it, if they had any tips. Fortunately this particular cast and crew was overflowing with understand, but very little guidance beyond, “He’ll poop when he’s ready.” Easy advice to dispense when you are not elbow deep in kid-poop on a daily basis.
On his third day backstage with Mom, something gave him the urge. As Mommy mixed three shades of red and created a shockingly life-like stab wound on cute little hooker dress to be used in Act 3, the Midget decided it was time to give in.
“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! I gotta poop!! NOW!!!!”
Fast as a ninja, I cast aside my crime scene and hauled him to the nearest bathroom, which of course was attached to the ladies’ dressing room. Amid weaves and wigs he sat happily on the potty and let ‘er rip. He was so elated with his achievement of turd meeting potty that he began to squeal at top decibels.
“Do you see that? Mom do you see it? It’s as big as my arm! I did it! I did it! I FINALLY POOPED IN THE POTTY!!!!!!”
Those of you who’ve ever been backstage during performance know how impressive the level of virtual silence there can be, now combine that with the power a 3-year old has to break the sound barrier. I wanted to quiet him but there was no way I was going to put even the slightest kibosh on the monumental event.
Moments later as we wrapped things up and began to debate the payoff time of a previously issued bribe, The Midget exited the bathroom into a full standing ovation performed by a fully dressed African army and a handful of hookers who were minutes from taking the stage. As he passed through the congratulatory cheers offered by some of television’s best characters and some of regional theatre’s finests, he took it all in like the little sultan believes he is.
It would be another 6 months before my little sultan attempted to poop in the potty again, as I was unable to ever again produce a fully costumed standing ovation upon the final flush. It seemed a simple “Good JOB!!!” from mom was not what he deemed fitting of his stature. Woman, if you want potty poop, I want an ovation.
Now, a year older and wise he’s moved on from armies and hookers to strippers and it seemed he’s rather un-phased. Or it did, until the other night when he asked me if I had a bra that made my boobies light up like the lady at the theatre. Three more days and two more strippers on this contract. I’m certain we can do more damage.