From The Oxford English Dictionary : Ecdysiast: (noun) a striptease performer
In the late sixties, Jeff, my ex-husband, and I met a dancer from a long legacy of ecdysiasts. We were promptly invited to her home to inspect generations of vintage stage costumes, and to meet her thirteen foot boa constrictor, Tiny Tim.
Upon arrival, our hostess said, “The snake is hiding behind the stove.” So the dark-haired beauty pulled out her Kansas City skin-trade costumes, many of which belonged to her mother. Dressed in regular clothing, she demonstrated a few shakes from behind a fluttering fan of pink ostrich feathers.
Very distracted by the sound of slithering, I could only barely whisper, “That’s cool.” A snake on the loose was not what I anticipated from our social call.
“Jeff, will you help me get him out of there,” the dancer said. “He might cut himself.”
Jeff wrestled the stove out of its confines, the woman grabbed the snake by the tail, and said, “Oh God, help me! Tiny’s wrapped around the gas-line.”
Jeff gripped Tiny Tim with both hands. Because of the reptile’s powerful writhing, his arms shot above his head, positioning the monster close to the ceiling. Jeff managed to hang on, but as we stared in horror, dust bunnies from Tiny’s body fell off him and landed in our eyes.
I never heard such sounds from my ex, as if he were on a runaway roller coaster. He lurched, twisted, and tripped from the kitchen to a small cage in the front room. Tiny obediently coiled inside his home, the dancer slammed the door and locked it. Just like that, it was over. Left panting and sweating, Jeff held his snake oiled hands out like he’d been slimed, I was fairly sure I never wanted him to come near me again, and with a quick dip and giggle, our hostess had just survived an awkward performance.
In seconds, we left that house with an oft-told tale: Jeff and I knew a stripper who performed with a boa constrictor. Given the strength required to handle thirteen feet of pure muscle, it simply wasn’t possible. After all these years of embellishment, this is the truth: that girl was a normal dancer with a pole, removable costumes, and a few inanimate props; Tiny Tim was her household pet; and it was Jeff who danced with a boa constrictor.
Photo by Marissa Bridge