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The Procrastinating 47 Year Old Showgirl. Am I Getting too Old for This?

This weekend I got the opportunity to perform at a benefit for a gentleman named Leo Wilson Starr. He won the title of “Mr. Florida Proud 2014”. The benefit was to help gather funds to get him to the big show to compete for the title of “Mr. U.S. Proud 2014” where he will have a chance to bring the national title home to Florida. I was invited to perform and became instantly excited. It has been well over a year since I have been on stage. I was so thrilled I can’t put it into words.

It was about 3 weeks before the show and the first thing I had to do was select music. What songs would I do and how many? I was running through the list of music I like and had about 30 songs in mind. I acted like I was doing a concert and no one else would be on the stage. I had to narrow it down to two songs. Call me greedy. I was thrilled.

The question was which two songs? Did I want to do show tunes or something current? Did I want to do disco? Country? Hip-Hop? Blues? Opera…I’m kidding about that one. I wanted to make money for Leo, not put people to sleep in a club. I settled on the songs “Stupid Girls” and “My Humps”, then I changed my mind, I settled on “Jesus Take the Wheel” and “She Works Hard for the Money” then I changed my mind and I settled on “I’m All About the Bass” and “Private Dancer”…then I changed my mind…

The two songs I finally settled on were “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” and “Hell is for Children”. Now I had to start thinking about the way I would like my hair styled. Two retro numbers, two different time periods. Hmmm…what a dilemma. I guessed I would pop down to one of the local wig shops. I can just go out with my natural curls to do Cher but I needed a Pat Benatar style as well. Yes that would solve my problem….NOT!

First I went to a wig shop that was run by a scary older Asian couple. I went in and told the lady what I would like to have. I wanted two wigs one long and one short. I started with the long hair I wanted just for fun and a future show. She went to get the requested item and it was perfect in every detail. I asked how much it was. She said “Only 395 dollars. It is human hair. I immediately pulled it off my head and handed it back. I told her “Lady it is for a show. I don’t want to live in it.” I looked around a little longer and she never left my side…must have been a slow day. She offered another wig. This one was 60 dollars. I tried it on and thought the bangs were too long. She told me I could cut them. I am going to pay 60 dollars for a wig I have to take home and cut? Nope. I finally found one that I liked but wanted to go eat some lunch and think on it before making the purchase. I thought she was going to throw a bar across the door and not let me out until I bought something. I did get lunch but I did not go back to see scary wig shop lady.

I went across town and found two perfect wigs. One for fun, one that would work for my Pat Benatar number. Great! Now all I had to do was rehearse with my music a little and gather my costumes. I would put this off until one day before the show.

T-Minus one day to showtime. I start going through my stage costumes. The one I want for “Hell is for Children” is not there!!! When I moved from Georgia to Florida it was one of the costumes that stayed behind safely stored at Grandma’s house. It is my only late 80’s costume. I don’t have time to drive there and back and I don’t want to go shopping for a new one so I start trying other costumes on. Much to my horror I discover in the year I have been off stage that someone sneaked into my house a shrunk all my costumes so they are too tight. I believe her name is Little Debbie. That bitch! Now I can’t get some of the clothing on my body. What am I going to do? Change one of my numbers.

I drop “Hell is for Children” and select “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray. I pull out my school girl outfit. The skirt is snug but fits and the shirt won’t button. I guess I picked the right number. Tracy Turnblad is a big girl and right this moment so am I. I end up pairing the skirt with a polo shirt. Now I have a new issue. I bought a wig that resembles Pat Benatar’s hair. I try to make it into a bouffant. It is not going to work. I end up styling the wig to look like Ally Sheedy’s hair at the end of “The Breakfast Club”.  The gypsy costume is a loose and flowing outfit so it is no problem. It fits.

Ally Sheedy in "The Breakfast Club"

Ally Sheedy in “The Breakfast Club”

Same hair-do...bigger girl.

Same hair-do…bigger girl. I look like I ate Ally Sheedy.

I am listening to the music I have selected and singing to myself while the tracks run. I dawns on me that the Cher song I want to do is very short. It only runs 2 and a half minutes. I debate on whether to add another song and decide the short one will be fine because there will be quite a few performers at this benefit.

Show day! I still have one purchase to make. I need to buy a set of eyelashes for stage. My husband goes to the beauty supply with me. I select a beautiful pair. He looks at them and says “You really want them that thick and long?” Yes. He said they were going to look like caterpillars on my face. That convinced me that I had the right ones. My costumes are together and my wig is ready to go. Now all I have to do is put on my stage face.

The show begins at 10 and I want to be at the club by 9:30. I get in the shower at 4 so I can shave my armpits and legs. At 5 I begin the long process of putting on my stage face. The make-up is heavy and time consuming. I decide I want my eye make-up to look like the make-up in the movie “Showgirls” so I paint my eyes in vivid red, orange and yellow. I put the eyelashes on to complete the look. My husband jumps back when he sees them and says wow! This is a good wow.


We arrive at the club. I go in and ask where I may take my costumes and they point out the dressing room. It is a supply closet that is tiny and there are several entertainers using it. It is crowded but everyone makes it work. Finally the show begins and my turn rolls around. I take my chubby Tracy with the wrong shirt and Ally Sheedy hair onstage to do my number and am swept away by the music. I am home!  As I work my way around the room I see people singing along with me and I am elated. I am back on stage…I am beginning to sweat because it is warm. I am also realizing how lazy I have gotten over the last year because I am getting tired and I have only been performing for 3 minutes. This is a wake up call. I need to become more active during the week. I write for a living and it is not an active job.

As I am performing my second number and new problem arises. One of my eyelashes is coming unglued. It makes me look like I am squinting through one eye, that or I am having a stroke on stage. After my number one of the entertainers helped me fix the evil eyelash. After my second number I am tired. It has been more than a year since I have been on a stage and I now know I need to get back into shape and perhaps go on (cue ominous music) a diet.

The evil escaping eyelash that chose to come unglued right in the middle of my performance.

The evil escaping eyelash that chose to come unglued right in the middle of my performance.

Part of me was thinking at 47 maybe I am getting too old for this. I am happy that the other part of me was elated to be back on a stage doing what I love to do. I had such a wonderful time despite all the bumps in the road. I had a blast with the other entertainers and people that had gathered for the show. I simply adore Leo, who we did this benefit for. He is such a warm and happy man.  Am I getting too old for this? Here is my answer. I am getting older, but too old? Hell no. And I get the feeling that day is a long way off.

Me, the man we are all here for, Leo Wilson Starr and the wildly talented Vanessa Del Rey.

Me, the man we are all here for, Leo Wilson Starr and the wildly talented Vanessa Del Rey.




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