Review: striptease

Dear Constant Reader,

Here’s your daily reminder to nominate The Boston Babydolls for Best Burlesque. You can vote once per day per email/IP address. Thank you!

striptease by Libby Jones (1967).

This slim volume is a gem. Subtitled “The one ‘How To’ book no woman should be without”, it covers all the basics a budding stripper could want in a mere 80 pages and boasts of “step-by-step, fully illustrated instructions by one of the most famous practitioners of the art, Libby Jones”. Published in 1967, it has the aesthetic of the era. There’s just something about the typeface of the headers that says “groovy” to me.

Ms. Jones starts off with, as promised, step-by-step instructions for stripping out of specific garments (gloves, dress, chemise, stockings, garter belt, bra, and panties). Each garment section is accompanied by line drawings showing how to remove it. Best of all is that each one is a convenient 2-page spread, for easy reference. Remember what I mentioned about the aesthetic? The illustration for “the dress” shows a maxi-dress with an empire waist with a floral slip (“the chemise”) worn underneath.

After you’ve learned to take it off, come “The Actions”: tassel twirling (the instant gratification method), breast bounce (a way of faking pectoral control a la Carrie Finnel or Donna Denise), shimmy (quivering the bum), bump (which “isn’t really one of life’s classiest gestures”), grind, floorwork, lunge, walks, and props (a pillow and earrings). All are again illustrated and each one is only on one or two pages. There are a couple of different floorwork poses and three walks, from coy to aggressive. I was quite thrilled to see some underutilized props. Now I’m inspired to try an earring remove — it could be quite seductive.

There’s even a section for making your own g-string and pasties. Remember, in 1967 there was no Etsy. ; ) The techniques are remarkably similar to the ones many people use today — if it ain’t broke…

The remaining 20-odd pages are on “beauty”. There are toning exercises for all parts of the body, like “firming and developing the bust”, “slimming the hips and buttocks”, and “reducing thick ankles”. Lastly, there are make up tips, such as conturing the face, making up eyes and lips, and “beauty hints”. Much of this section makes me think of the Virginia Slim’s motto, because we have come a long way.

I like it, part because it is a good how-to (the stripping part), and part because it is a window into its time period.

That’s the last burlesque book on my shelf! Do you have any suggestions for what I should review next?


Published in: on 30 January 2013 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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