or.. How watching your step sister dance burlesque with your kids, your mom and her family is kind of awesome.
My sister in law is one of the last people I would have expected to get into burlesque. To be clear, both she and my brother are wonderful people. They are great parents, are well liked by their broad group of friends, and treat my aging mother wonderfully. I love them to death. But they are not sexy people.
You know how some people ooze sexuality. They do not. Even as their children approach teen years, one of the two kids often sleeps in their bed at night. When we all go on family vacations together, they show no interest in getting their own room, so they can have a little privacy. They wear bulky flannel jammies. My wife — who is very close to my sister in law — has asked about their sex life. There is none to speak of.
I’m not being critical of this lack of sex in their life. I think absense of sex, for many couples, is a problem. But it is not a problem for them. They are really happy, and happy with each other. They are one another's best friend, they love spending time together and do all sorts of interesting and fun activities. And neither has a wandering eye. They’ve been together for over 20 years and there has never been so much of a whiff of infidelity. They simply are not sexual people.
So I was surprised — to put it mildly — when we showed up to their place and she was all keen to show us a video of her burlesque troop’s rehearsal for their upcoming show. We — my wife and kids, my mom and by borther’s family — had just finished dinner and we went into the family room, where she streamed the performance onto the TV.
It was excellent. She, and about 6 other women, all in lingerie, doing dances and strip tease. It was really impressive. Some of my observations. Firstly, she’s an amazing dancer. She did competitive cheer leading in college so she moves really well. It’s clear she has a dancing background and that she’s very comfortable being on stage.
Secondly, it was really sexy. I was a little sheepish in feeling this, to be honest, but she was really — really — sexy. My sister in law is, objectively speaking, very attractive. She’s the quintessential girl next door. Think Daisy Duke, but without the short jean shorts. And she’s kept in terrific shape. For the performance, she seemed very comfortable with her near nakedness. My wife said she was getting a total girl crush.
And thirdly, and most importantly, she was 100% comfortable with us all watching it together — her kids, her mother in law, my wife, our kids and I. For her — and this was really smart of her I think — it was sexy but not sexual. She said she loved being up there, confident and sexy and not being at all ashamed of it. She said, as I’ve heard others say of burlesque, that it was really empowering. She said this is why she wanted us all to see it together, especially with all of our teen daughters — 4 between the two families — she felt it was a powerful experience that she could be proud and unashamed of. I really respected this.
We asked her afterwards how she had gotten into it. Her daughter — my niece — dances, and one of the other mom’s approached her. Apparently a couple of the dance moms, who had been dancers themselves, now did burlesque. Funnily, they told my sister in law that, for them, it was both the empowering thing but that it had also rekindled their sex lives. My sister in law said she would give it a try but said to us — the kids had left the room at that point — that rekindling her sex life wasn’t a big desire of hers. But she did think dancing again would be really fun. And she loved it.
By the time the live performance came out, we were back in out hometown so we could not see it in person. She did send us the livestream, so we watched it with another couple — good friends — over a glass of wine. Three of the four, my wife and our friends, found it super sexy and ever confessed to a little sexual fantasizing and roll play involving my sister in law. To be honest, I had a harder time finding it overtly sexy, but I did really like it and thought she was excellent.
The next day we watched it with out daughters. They internalized their aunt’s messaging perfectly — they thought it was really beautiful and empowering, but not at all inappropriate.
At the start of this post, I said my sister in law is the last person I would have expected to do burlesque. But I misspoke. When I fully wrap my head around what the burlesque experience is, she is exactly the type person I would expect to do it — a great parent, a great person, happy, confident and a role model for her kids and for other women.