Monday, March 30, 2015

Believe in your self

Today, I am getting ready to head out of town once again. There is another show to do. There is another adventure to have. The biggest down the side of it, is that I have to do it by myself.

That is something I really want you to be comfortable with, and that is being alone. 

When I think about it the more important point of dating, what always comes to mind is that you cannot be needy. I don't even mean to needy, I just mean needy at all. You have to know your self. You have to know who you are, and what you want. This is one of the most important things for dating.

I am not saying that it will always be easy. There will be times when someone that you think you want you will want to change for. But I am going to counsel you against that, son and a daughter of mine. It never works out when you try to change your self to fit someone else's ideal. Now, I am not saying that you should not be open to new experiences, And break out of your comfort zone doing new things. How else are you going to find out what you really like to do?

Limiting yourself is something you absolutely do not want to do. And by that, I mean deciding that you are only going to date people in your social group. Or, deciding that you will never date people in your social group. Or in your town. Or add to your school. Why limit yourself?

 And frankly, some people are just not going to like you for who you are. And that is their loss. As long as you are comfortable with your self, you will always come out on top.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Subjugation Is NOT the Answer!

Oh, jeez... These ones are mine. 

As I look at my daughter I see the star quality in her eyes. I see how great she can really be. In one of the parts of our show we use a line from the movie Conan the Barbarian, where Charlotte is asked, "What is best in life?" To which she responds (in her best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice) "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women."

This is something we've gotten her to do on stage a number of times, always to huge applause. 

My concern for her as she grows up and she begins dating and begins being concerned in relationships (or, as I should to say, since she is already interested in that kind of thing. Because, apparently there is a boy in Sunday school that she thinks is cute) my concern again comes that she will subdue her greatness to somehow fit into some kind of mold. The sort of made up mold of expectation about what a young lady should be imposed by either society or this hypothetical individual. This is something that I do not want to happen. 

When I started this blog, a friend of mine (a performer that I have worked with often, even though we do not work together in the same show, we often find ourselves in the same places and working the same gigs), wrote to tell me how much she likes this blog and how, specifically, she wanted me to talk about the problem of female performers finding it necessary to subjugate themselves to  male performers. Now, this tied in with my blog entry about the "Hot Trap," and with good reason. See, her concern is that being a fine performer in her own right she feel relegated to be nothing more than a sidekick to the male performers that she inevitably ends up working for or with. 

Somehow, she finds herself relegated to that position no matter how it starts out, her ideas not taken seriously, and in the end not feeling that she is a part of the show in the part and parcel with which she should be. And, I understand what she means. I think my only girl could write an entire years worth of blogs maybe even a series of best-selling series of books all about how she feels I have relegated her to a secondary position that she should not be in. 

It becomes that problem with the person who has the vision in the beginning, or at least thinks they are the visionary, start calling all of the shots as well. Especially - and this is where we get into the crux of the issue - when you are in a relationship with said person, and you take that secondary role to support that person's "vision," you end up often times finding yourself unable to break free of that role. 

Now, this is predominantly my assumption based upon what I have been told by a variety of female performers who have partnered up with a male performer. And I do not believe this is just in entertainment, I believe this transfers both into business and marriage... and even dating as well. That somehow the female part of the duo ends up becoming the secondary performer. This is something that I am often concerned about and try to take an active part in not making happen. However, in the end, I am just a man, and I am afraid that often times it is without malice that I take this particular role of being bossy and relegating others to secondary position. It just turned out that way. I have a very strong personality, and it is easy to intimidate people into following along. And I don't mean intimidate in a bad way, necessarily, as my ideas are just so strong somehow I just end up winning out with my creative vision.

I want to open a dialogue about gender roles with everyone -- how much is nature... How much nurture? Societal training? Shrug -- you tell me...

Something that I feel very strongly about is the world of Burlesque. I, personally, an not comfortable with the idea or practice of me telling a burlesque dancer what they should or should not be doing. This is even in an educational sense, based off of choreography or any of the other things that I do know and have training in. I for one am supportive of the idea that modern Burlesque should be almost entirely female run. I don't think that it is right for a man to produce a burlesque show. I can see partnering with a female producer in order to create the product, but I cannot see trying to do it without any input from a female producer/Burlesque aficionado. 

It is not a matter of feeling that everyone should "have their place," but more the idea of abandoning the traditional gender role of mail a producer, female performer. But it is not easy! Like it or not, it is still mostly a male run world out there, ladies, and it is up to you to make that change.

With that said, here is my dating tip for YOU, daughter of mine:  Never let any man (or anyone) just boss you around. Establish the dynamics of your relationship - whatever it may be - from the beginning, and keep constant, frank communication to keep that balance going. Perhaps your choice will be to subjugate yourself, and that is fine - as long as it is YOUR choice! Never suffer a fool, kiddo...

And for YOU, son of mine:  Do not be that guy. Treat your partners as equals. Establish your boundaries and keep communication open. Treat your employees (if that's what they are) well. 

Actually, seeing as how my daughter will be running everything - that last piece of advice is for HER, too (as well as for you, gentle reader)!

Suck it, Dad. We've already stopped listening. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

How Far Are You Willing To Go?

In the winter time, our off-season for shows, I grow a beard. 

No one is happy about it at my house, but I get tired of shaving (which involves having to sculpt my psychobilly side chops, which I am constantly messing up and making uneven and the most inappropriate times), and it gets cold. I don't like being cold. 

When I was younger and rode motorcycles all the time, I tended to grow a beard in the winter, then shave every summer. Again - cause it is cold. I used to get crap at this one place I worked because they felt the beard to be unprofessional. Like my hair braided down to my waist fit in with their office culture (NOT!). 

I am lucky - I can grow a pretty impressive beard in a very short amount of time. So traditionally, I stop shaving in November, and by December I look pretty burly. Usually, then, I have to shave in January when shows start up again. 

Not this year, though. 

This year, I opted to keep the beard a while longer. After all, it was terribly cold this winter!! Sub-zero weather made the thought of shaving unbearable. So I didn't. 

While my daughter does like me having a beard, her mother does not. The complaints began while my chin was scruffy & scratchy, continuing as my upper lip disappeared under a thick mustache, and continued as I took a straighter to my beard to make it "stretch" as long as possible. 

When I was not combing it the wrong way. 

Or making it do funny things. 

Or taking pics of myself in the Cracker Barrel bathroom. Like a nutjob. 

There are other NSFW photos of me and my beard... I'm saving them for TMZ. 

So though I was having fun with it, and liked the way it looked, my girl was decidedly not enjoying it. And while she said that it was up to me what I wanted to do -- 

Well, that coupled with the fact that my beard was also a huge fire risk for me at every show (though I did get stellar advice from fellow performer Tyler Fyre how to treat it to keep it from burning, which totally worked for the shows I did with the beard) -- on the first day of spring, I decided it was time to shave. 

So I invited my girl to help me out - and we shaved away! Here are some highlights:

Until, somewhat, back to "normal."

We really had a great time together, removing my beard - and now my lips are fully kissable!

However, ever since that day, I catch her looking at me wistfully and saying, "You know - I really miss your beard."

Sigh. You just can't win!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

Respect - Got to Give It to Get It!

Let it be known that I do not respect the snow...

Probably the most significant concern my baby mama and I have regarding our daughter is that she get... And demand, respect. For our son, we want to make sure he grows up having a healthy respect for women. That all starts with how he respects his mother and his sister. 

If there is a hard part to this, it is trying to make sure that our daughter ALSO shows proper respect. As it is due, anyway...

Teaching both kids that respect, above and beyond all else, is one of the most important things to give and receive. It should not be given lightly - and that it has to be earned...

In this maybe my girl and I are a little old-fashioned (at least, for sure, I am). I was raised in the old ways about respect and the like. The idea of it. The up-on-a-pedestal version. But, in a way, that ideal does not really exist. Here's my example:

Like when the FBI used to investigate the Italian Mafia, and said they were, effectively, a bunch of track-suit wearing losers who would happily role over on each other for hardly a deal - all until Francis Ford Coppola's THE GODFATHER came out... After that it was all suits and silk ties, ring-kissing, and playing the movie soundtrack so loud that the FBI's bugs in their clubhouses were no longer effective. 

What does that mean? It means that the whole idea of "loyalty" in the mob is a Hollywood creation!! Just like the ideals of the "biker culture" (made up for THE WILD ONE), as well as serial killers, truckers, and samurai.

But does that mean this ideal is any less worthwhile? Less important to strive for?

I would say no. 

Most importantly - respect. People question respect all the time. Sometimes, I do not think that the regular civilians in this confusing white-trash culture foisted upon us by popular television culture (i.e., Jersey Shore, The Fast & The Furious, and so on) get to have any idea what that  means. Instead, respect is often confused with fear.

Fear is not the same thing as respect. 

This is how much I have respect for your horrible music choices when I'm driving.

My Personal Observations on Dating Between Socio-Political Groups

Who brought little kids to Bourbon St.?
And what did they do to get all those beads?!
This blog entry if filled with a lot of my personal observations, which may be tainted...

So while we were in New Orleans (sorry I was not able to post while we were there - having way too much fun) I had some time to think about dating and relationships. My son was enamored with several of the female performers who were at the conference we attended and performed at. And, of course, why shouldn't he be? It totally falls into my previous post about the trap of being hot ( that is a serious thing that I'm trying to teach him about.

Another issue that came up for me personally, in my observations, was the continued thinking about dating across the lines of very different cultures. Now I realize this may seem sort of weird, but I'm always reminded of my own experience as someone from the very North, dating and eventually marrying someone who was from the deep South. There were some very different cultural expectations of what was going on (note: the marriage barely lasted a year, despite we dated nearly 5 years prior). In my personal observations, I noticed that many women from the South are sort of trained to run just fast enough for him to catch her. I also noticed with many of the women that I met - it was almost like they were trained to look for a man's potential, and then it is their job as a woman to bring that potential out in him.

At the same time, it appeared the men are trained to be boys.  To have fun and do guy things until such time as a woman marries them, and then it is their job to let her train them to attain the potential that in them that she sees. Now, of course, this is not the way I have observed men and women are raised in the north... but more about that another time.

Now, this is not to say that one way is better than the other, but it is true that you get conflict because of these differences when you try to cross those (Mason Dixon) lines. Like I always said, if Jessica & Nick could not make it... what chance did any of the rest of us have?

I had a similar experience coming from the Midwest, and heading into Southern California and trying to date. There were really a lot of differences in the expectation of what a man does, versus what a woman does in the dating arena. And it is an arena, folks! Dating there is like gladiatorial combat - and, in the end, no one really wins.

Hey! It is not just me!! I had a sociology professor in college in SoCal that a big part of his class was telling us how different cultures have problems trying to date, marry and have children. His big example was that Italian women and Irish men should not marry because of this amazing cultural difference. Effectively saying that the way each is raised effectively develops how they will deal with things when they are older... and that, once ingrained, there is no overcoming nature OR nurture. I was trying to date an Italian girl at the time, so mayhaps I paid a bit too much attention.

I'm still not sure what he was getting that... and, to be fair, there really always seemed to be an undercurrent of racism in his class -  an undercurrent below everything he said. Also, he thought that the repealing of prohibition was the worst thing that ever happened to America, so maybe that's also why I never completely trusted him. 

But, certainly, some of what he said about the social standards and differences does have some truth to it. It's not to say that such things are impossible, but it is to say you have to be aware of it.

A subtle, but noticeable difference.
In my experience, there are just a lot of differences between men and women, period. I do not even think any of us really get a hand on it until we are older, with some life experience under our belts (or kilts, or whatever). Some of these differences & feelings are stemming from hundreds of thousands years of evolution - the primitive brain that keeps us doing these "social" things that really need no longer be the norm. The primitive brain we continually fight against to maintain our current (yet, ever changing) social order. Then, add on top of that, our social conditioning based upon region, social class, political beliefs, historical/tribal tradition... it's a wonder anyone ever gets born outside of their strict socio-political boundaries.

"So Reverend Tommy Gunn," you say, "what are we supposed to do?!"

Here's my advice to you, kids: Do not give up! Respect is the key word. Communication is a close second. Realize there are differences - many of which you will not even realize until you are in it - and just work with it when you get there. I definitely do not think you should limit yourself in any way! If you meet someone you are interested in, see that mysterious stranger that you are drawn to, you definitely need to take the chance! If you only stick within your own socio-political group, you will eventually contribute to the "dumbing down" of our culture, our people, our species. Crossing the blood-lines is the only way to keep the human race moving forward... so get out there and date! You have my blessing.

Just don't be dumb about it. I will know...

Something tells me this relationship is just
NOT going to work... not even in Tijuana.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Treat a Lady Well (part 1)

DATE IDEA: A classic New Orleans tradition is to get a Po Boy and eat it on a shop's stoop until the owner chases you away. This is an experience to share!