To pube or not to pube: that is the merkin.

I want to state something, for the record, and state it loudly and proudly.  No longer should I slither through the shadows, feeling naked and bare.  No longer will I cross my legs in shame.

I like having pubic hair, y’all.

Maybe it was living in LA that gave me the distaste for it — because I’m convinced that no one in LA has pubic hair — but I’m really not feeling the hairless cooch.  I know it’s all clean and fuck-ready, but I’ve never quite understand why someone would want to look like a character from the first half of a Judy Blume novel.  Sure, I’ve shaved it all once or twice.  And I looked like a 10-year-old.  Baby face, small tits, no pubes.  No good.  I felt like there were a handful of fat, greasy dudes in clown suits trolling the internet who would love the look I had going on.

Plus — and I know I’m not the only one in the world who’s experienced this — pubes on the labia provide a sort of Hoover Dam, if you will, for the stream.  You know what I mean?  Look, when peeing while sitting is your thing, public restrooms can be a little unsavory.  That’s why every female in civilization has perfected the toilet hover.  It’s a magical thing, really.  The pee goes where it needs to go and no part of your body comes in contact with all of that ickyness. (And we encounter a lot of it.  Girls are heavenly creatures and all, but clearly they leave their halos at the bathroom door.)  But conditions have to be just so to achieve a successful hover.  And if you don’t have a little bit of a barrier, things will go awry.  You’ll pee down your leg is what I’m saying.  And then you have to be all Ninja reflexive to catch it with the toilet paper before it hits your pants.

I’m not saying I’m into complete nature or anything like that.  Perish the thought of hairy assholes.  This isn’t 1906.

And there something to be said for unobstruction.  One should be able to find what they’re looking for.  And I’m not sure if even I could find it were I sporting that bush.  A little is nice, though.  I give you exhibit B:

Sasha Grey up there is proof positive that you can cancel your brazilian and still hold some dignity.  I think she looks beautiful and I’ll take this look over the vertical Hitler pussy moustache any day.

But here’s the conundrum:  I’m not having sex for a living.  (Are you just a teensy bit relieved, family, to hear me say it?)  I’m taking my clothes off.  And my two naked jobs conflict.  While I do not enjoy a bunch of college freshman getting a good, long, artful look at my bare labia, likewise do I not want an audience to see a lumberjack peeking out of my g-string.  What to do, what to do?  I can’t wear big girl panties on stage.  Enough performers do that already. (Stop it, by the way.)  And I’ve long since grown tired of getting on my hands and needs in front of a Russian lady with a bowl of hot wax.

Maybe I’ll treat my pubes like Joan Crawford treated her eyebrows.  I’ll get rid of all of it, then paint it on.  Or I could make myself a merkin, a little snatch toupee, to wear at work.  It would give me a ton of creative freedom.  I’ve always wanted to be a redhead.

Boom. Problem solved.

I suffer from BTS (Burlesque Tourette’s Syndrome)

I woke up this morning with the insides of my thighs on fire.  Was it because of friction caused by a pair of ears rubbing against them?  No. (Though that probably didn’t help. Zing.)  It was because of rehearsal yesterday and the crazy squatty jungle cat move Michelle had us doing.  And the plank-pose-to-donkey-kick-walk-it-back-up-and-do-it again-a-zillion-more-times thing.  A burlesque work out is not the same as yoga, people.  That woman is in some good fucking shape.  She’s hard to keep up with on a good day but she must have had her Wheaties yesterday.  And that was just the warm-up.  Then we moved on to a solid hour and a half of rehearsing the Wiggle Room number.  It’s an awesome number.  Super fun.  Full of thrills and spills.  And it’s my Mount Fuji.  Meaning it’s really hard to do, but I am going to climb that motherfucker.  But right now I’m only, eh, about half-way up it.  Learning complicated group choreography is not easy for someone like me who thought it would be more high-brow and academic to focus on Shakespeare instead of Sondheim with my theatre major.  (Fat lot of good you’re doing me now, thesis paper on Titus Andronicus.  Thanks for the jobs.  You’re the worst play in the canon, by the way.  Loser.)  So, yeah.  I’ve been spending a lot of time asking my body to do things and having it respond to my requests like a drunk hobo passed out on the sidewalk.  (“Huzzz, wha? Frack.  Where’s my trombone?” it says to me before peeing on a 7-11 window.)  My body is starting to sober up and come around after many curses and threats, but the thing is — now it’s my mouth that’s a problem.   Have you ever watched a dancer and noticed her lips moving because she’s either lip synching with the music or counting steps?  It’s weird.  And somewhere along the line I’ve picked up this dirty nasty habit.  If I’m not counting beats, I’m murmuring this strange language that I’ve created that’s a mish mash of steps and verbalization of music notes. Badadah Bah Bump – Kick! Badadah Bah Bump – Kick! Step Step Step Kick! Badoodoo Doooooooh Wahhhhhhhhhh Wahhhh — Football Shiiiiiimmmmmmmmyyyyyy!! I didn’t even know I was doing it until it was pointed out to me.  I couldn’t control it.  Like a tic.  Like I have burlesque Tourette’s.  It’s no good.  Is there a medication for this?  A burly equivalent of Clonidine?  Now I’m worried about overcompensating for it and performing with a slightly psychotic smile plastered on my face.  I don’t know.  Maybe it could work.  Maybe that could be my angle.

“Welcome to the stage Ray Ray Sunshine — The Slighty Off-Putting Temptress!”

Kittens!  Shit Horse!  Balls!

A little new year retrospective

Have you ever been so excited about going to a fancy, artisinal cuisine kind of restaurant that it feels like this huge, momentous event?  You carefully plan what to wear, fantasize about what you’re going to eat the whole week leading up to it, and then you get there and it’s more wonderful than you imagined and you pile all of that buerre blanc and truffle emulsion into your mouth like it’s the first dick you’ve seen in years, adding on wine and dessert and more wine, until your tight belly is straining at the waistband of your skirt as the Jeeves-like waiter caresses the bill onto the table, and as reality begins to edge it’s toe into your fantasy world you muffle a whimper as you put your card down, praying that you have enough in your checking account to cover it, and as you rise from the still immaculate table, you feel a painful and immediate rumble and are forced to flee, with sweat dripping down your face, to the polished marble bathroom where that buerre blanc will reap it’s swift and cruel revenge, leaving you pale and sweaty, trying to project a modicum of dignity as you teeter on your high heels through the lobby and out the door feeling like you’ve left the scene of a crime?

No one?  Just me?  Several years ago, my husband and I went to this super high brow restaurant called Tru.  I had never been to a place like that before.  It was SO fancy.  I was nervously excited at the table, sat up rigidly straight and responded to the waiter in monosyllables like I didn’t speak english.  I went for Chef Rick Tramonto’s tasting menu and it was goddamn splendid.  There was risotto with fucking truffles as an appetizer.  And this lobster tasted like the poor creature had been given a IV butter drip before it was dropped into the pot.  The dessert was dense chocolate something with one of those crazy ice creams that you would never think could be an ice cream.  Curry, maybe?  Anyway, all I remember is that is was like magic and I ate every single bite and when a ridiculously beautiful woman came to our table and offered us a tray of Gale Gand’s handmade candies and coffee, I said “yes, please!” and topped it all off with that before finishing what was left of the wine.  The bill was just as grand as the meal, leaving our checking account devastated, and my poor Alabama girl intestinal system did not react well to the crash course in fine dining.  In addition to committing a crime against humanity in the ladies room, I had to stop at a McDonald’s to use the bathroom on the way home.  It was too much.  Just too much fanciness too fast.

And that’s what kind of happened with burlesque.

Yeah, maybe comparing my Chicago Starlet apprenticeship with getting the shits from too much epicurean indulgence isn’t so flattering for the art form but I say the analogy stands.  I got excited about all the possibilities laid in front of me and I grabbed at all of it with no thought to whether or not I could handle it.  I couldn’t.  I mean, I did.  I handled it.  But fuck.  It was no party.  I look back on the last six months and I want to slap myself in the face.  There was no way I could possibly have taken on all of that work and had things end up any different.  And if you’re wondering how they ended up, here’s the deal.  I wanted to be a member of this Burlesque troop, The Chicago Starlets, right?  So I took classes, learned all I could about the art of burlesque, and apparently did something right because I earned an apprenticeship with them.  And, typically, the deal is that you apprentice for six months and then you’re starleted.  Not so for me.  I dropped the burly ball.  Missed a rehearsal, fell behind, lost focus, lost confidence in my ability to perform.  And this is not easy shit here.  Especially for someone for whom the concept of getting ones body to move in a predetermined way to the beat of music is completely foreign.  (That was nerdspeak for dancing.)  So, I started sucking a little.  Then I got discouraged, beat myself up a little, then I started sucking a lot.  And that little asshole voice in the back of my head started whispering “fuuuuck it.”

Why did this happen?  Do I suck?  No.  I don’t.  No one in the world could possibly be harder on me than me, but I’m going to give myself a little bit of a break here.  And it gets back to that taking on too much thing.  I stretched myself too thin.  I don’t like making excuses for falling short of my goals, but Christ on a Biscuit.  Over the last six months I designed and constructed six complex custom costumes, each consisting of multiple pieces, designed a tee shirt line for Studio L’amour and handled the production of those, I started this blog, I worked a full-time job, I stage-kittened every show, I went to class, rehearsals, I put together a solo number, a duet, and performed two group numbers.  What I did not do much of was sleep, or clean my house, or eat well, or make time for my husband or myself, even.  And with all of that going on at once, when it came to rehearsals and learning group choreography, I just had nothing left in me.  No brain space left for it.  I was an empty well.  A limp rag.  A flaccid penis.  And flaccid penises don’t look good in pasties.

And so here I am.  With a second chance to make this shit happen (I’m not out of the running yet, ) and you mark my fucking words.  I will do it.  But, did I make the right choices leading to here?  No.  Yes.  I don’t know.  I’m proud of the work I did.  And that high-stress situation taught me a lot about what I want out of my career and how I will and won’t do business.  I never know my limitations until I hit them.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.  I do know that I adore these women in this troop and I was looking forward to my apprenticeship with them.  It should have been fun and it wasn’t.  That’s on me.  I was stressed and grumpy the whole time.  And it’s time to lighten up a little.  My name is Ray Ray Sunshine, for fuck’s sake.  Not Work Work Sucktime.  And I think I’m going to start by going to get a pedicure.  My pigs are ugly.

Confessions of a Filthy Mind

The thing that’s been staying my hand from the keyboard over the last couple of weeks, besides a tsunami of costume work that recently hit my shore, is an indecision about what to do with this blog.  Sure, I have a lot of interests and I’m decidedly busier these last few months.  I could write about a myriad of topics.  Food? Cooking?  Love it.  Wish I had more time and money to devote to it.  Lingerie?  Ditto.  Sex?  Yeah, I’ve got some stories that will make you drop your glass of Pepsi in your lap and exclaim “Oh, my!”  Sewing, artwork, burlesque?  Yes, I have thoughts and experiences to describe.  There are things to say.  It’s just — how much do you want to know?  And how much do I want you to know?

The compulsive answer is:  everything.

I’m a difficult person to know.  I’m intensely shy.  I find large groups of people collected for the purpose of socializing more than a bit intimidating. (Mingling? Networking?  Fuck me.  I’m way more comfortable in a corner with a glass of bourbon.  I’m weird at parties.)  But when I do get to know someone and ‘let them in’, as they say, I start spilling it double time.  I purge.  Discretionary speech is stomped.  I’m normally so self-conscious and neurotic about participating in any meaningful conversation, that once I’m given the chance I’m like a little kid at an amusement park.  Only instead of riding the teacups, I’m telling tenuous acquaintances about the duration and viscosity of my last period.  And yeah, it usually turns out how you’d expect: with that all too familiar awkward chuckle accompanied by a defriending on facebook a few days later.

But the thing is, I’m not actually friends with you.  Maybe in reality I am, but in this context I don’t know you.  I can’t see you and I can’t see your reaction.  Hell, I can’t even be sure that you, as a reader, actually exist.  And because I have the magical control of my speech through editing and grammatical deliberation, I don’t have to worry about accidentally making a derisive comment about your mom.

With that in mind, I’m going to indulge myself here.  I’m going to confess.  Best case:  you’re real and you’re entertained, maybe even moved.  Worst case:  you’re real and you’re maybe going to avoid eye contact when you see me in class next.  Worse worst case:  you’re not real and no one is reading this.  All of which I can live with.

So, let’s dive in.

Soul-bearing truth #1:  I’m sick in the head.

In the obvious way, sure.  Maybe my taste isn’t what you’d call elegant.  And my sense of humor is a little on the odd side.  But I mean ‘sick in the head’ in the most literal sense.  Like so many other people (enough to occasionally be able to commiserate about it, but few enough to still feel isolated) I have a fucked brain.  Depression– sometimes severe, anxiety, killer mood swings, panic attacks.  All of that good stuff that drives the psychiatric community.  At it’s best, I function completely normally and don’t even think about it.  When it was at it’s worst, I was rationally weighing out the pros and cons of jumping off of a bridge.

It affects every aspect of my life.  How I interact with people, my sex life, my productivity, my appetite.  My ability to do anything.  From the simplest tasks to the weightiest challenges.  Everything is tempered by my weirdo frontal lobes.

If you know me, you might be thinking that that doesn’t sound like the Ray Ray you know.  Awesome.  That means I’m doing a good job of managing it.  Because I choose not to take medication, I have to continuously make choices that counteract it.  (I’m not knocking medication.  If it works for you, super.  Me — it made me into a slack-jawed unhorny zombie, feeling nothing.  Beige.  Meds made me into a beige person.  I would much rather be a color, even if it’s a nutso color.)  Sometimes they’re small choices and sometimes they’re life-altering whoppers.  About four years ago, when I was neck-deep in my first (and only so far, thankfully) really traumatic depressive episode, I had to make some seriously big decisions.  Like moving to California.  Sunshine fucking helps, people.  I don’t care what people say about Los Angeles.  I saw more people smiling on a daily basis there than in Chicago.  It’s all that vitamin D.  And maybe the plastic surgery.  I went back to school, got a degree in Fashion Design, something I always wanted to do but was afraid that I couldn’t.  I graduated cum laude.  I began to learn that having projects and goals were good ways to prevent being a sobby, fearful train-wreck.

I got a dog.  And this is where this post is going to sway towards the tear-jerker, life-changing romantic comedy crap where the protagonist is a depressed thirty-something who finds inspiration and healing in the most unlikely of places.  (Based on the book.  Starring Julia Roberts. Barf.)  Including my puppy girl, there are three things that have made the biggest difference in my mopey, sad-sack life:

  1. Mike.  It was a fucking godsend to have a husband who simply acknowledged that something real was happening to me and that I wasn’t just a moody bitch.  He’s been amazing.  Even though he really got gipped.  My depression hit like a freight train right after we got married.  Instead of a blushing bride swathed in frothy lingerie, he got a pile of mess with mascara streaks down her cheeks in a ball under the sheets.  My god, how much porn he must have looked at during that time.  But he’s still here.  And he still loves me.  When everyone else bailed, he stayed.  I don’t know what I would do without him.  If only he would close the shower curtain after showering.  It drives me crazy.
  2. Augie ”Fatty” Louise.  I’m actually tearing up a little bit as I’m thinking about how my dog turned my life around.  We first met her when visiting my mom in Alabama right before we moved to L.A.  She was abandoned on the road near her house and since she was clearly a Pit Bull mix, no one wanted to take her on.  My mom was feeding her until she figured out what to do with her.  When I set eyes on her I felt such an immediate connection to her, it was like my womb left my body, ran into my mom’s garage and gave birth to this funny looking creature who came running into my arms, tail wagging furiously and tongue flopping.  Besides my husband, she is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  She gets me up in the morning.  She makes me grin like a loon.  I laugh at her, roll around with her, cuddle with her every day.  I adore the moment before I put the key in the front door because I know that she’s waiting behind it, completely ecstatic to see me.  If that’s not therapy, I don’t know what is.
  3. Burlesque.  Go ahead and roll your eyes. I’m doing it, too.  I mean, come on.  I meant it when I said I’m the depressed girl who finds inspiration in the most unlikely of places (starring Rene Zelwegger and Luke Wilson as ‘Mike’.)  But what can I say?  I’m very goal-oriented and it’s given me a creative outlet and goals.  I am not, however, going to step up onto my feminist soapbox to cry out about how, by taking off my clothes, I’m empowering my female psyche and finding myself.  I’m not hollering “fuck you, I’m beautiful” to an audience of haters.  Burlesque isn’t therapy.  In fact, sometimes it makes me cry, and curse, and bite my nails.  Sometimes it makes me crazy.  But I’m into it.  It engages me, makes me excited.  It challenges me.  I need that.  And when you’ve spent years living a desperate sort of existence, it’s nice to feel grounded in something.

I could add a few more essentials to that list like yoga and a good diet, a supportive mom.  I wish that I could add good friends to the list, but well, when you’re a basket case people tend to not stick around.  Most of the friends I had before the depression are only faux friends on facebook now. I used to be really upset about that, but I get it.  I can’t really hold it against them.  Everyone has their own problems and life doesn’t work out like a very special episode of ‘Friends.‘  I’m grateful for the people who came back, few though they are.  And, I don’t know.  It worked out pretty well in the end.  Working through the depression, I’ve managed to reinvent myself.  I’m more in tune now with who I am than I ever was before I was diagnosed.  I’m able to look at myself with a critical eye, assess what’s good for me, who’s good for me.  I’m able to recognize all of those shitty, confidence crushing thoughts as the brain shit that they are.  I’m able to feel good in my own skin, even call attention to myself.  And I’m now very skilled in discerning the difference between a legitimate bad mood or stress, and one induced by a chemical imbalance.  I’m very aware of triggers and I go out my way to prevent them, even if that means turning my back on some people or situations.  And sometimes that really, really sucks.  Sometimes I want to be the outgoing, happy, friendly girl with the flashing smile as she tosses her hair back and laughs, always surrounded by her girls who have her back.  Sometimes I want to go shopping and have brunch with my BFF.  But I’ll content myself with being a moody, glitter-coated, naked designer with a pretty rad g-string collection and a handful of friends who are good for me.  It makes for a more interesting brunch date, anyway.  But wait.  No one ever invites me to brunch because I’m sad and awkward.  Shit.  At least I have the dog.

Dear Dirty Diary,

I have burlesque class today.  I looked at my calendar last night and had a little jolt as I noticed that there’s only 3 months left until the show.  And then my husband pointed that I have 3 months until the show.  It’s nice to have someone to throw a bucket of cold water on my neurosis.  We had idea day last week and my pitch went well, although it did get a “Really? Can you pull this off?” response.  Which I totally expected.  Because I asked myself that, too.  I know I have a bit of a Minnie Mouse thing happening.  And the number is a little bit more…ahem…overt than my last one.  But let me tell you, I am totally rocking it when I’m alone in my kitchen doing the dishes.  Those saucers are scandalized, I tell you.  I put the tap on cold and the water is heated up by the pure incendiary qualities of my shimmy.  The dog has to leave the room because I’m so sexy.  If I can figure out a way to work the dishes into my number, I’m all set.

In other news, Mike and I had an argument this morning because I woke up and our obese cat, Oatmeal, was sitting on my pillow.  I hate when she puts her cat anus where I put my face, so of course I grumpily booted her fat ass off of it.  He said that she was happy and purry on my pillow and I should let her be comfortable.  I said that he should use the cat butt pillow, then.  He saw my point.

Also, I was watching the Nate Berkus show while I was eating my lunch today and I started to tear up a little over a living room makeover.  What is wrong with me?

That’s all for now.  It feels surprisingly nice to write a diary entry, by the way.   I feel like I need to go call a boy I know, giggle, and then hang up.