It was the spring of 2005, and I was performing at Starshine Burlesque. The day had been a long one. School had been arduous, and it seemed the world was raining down upon me. I had just had my heartbroken by a total hottie who I believed to be in love with me. We had hung out, things had gone great, and then he disappeared. The hottie had told his bestie that I was, “Too weird” and then the immortal words, “sort of ugly the way I wore my makeup.”
Did it make me cry? You bet.
After crying on the train trip over I got into Rififi. This was the Lower East Side at it’s finest. Before Starshine was always a comedy show where people like Eugene Merman would make appearances. Some old friends were coming out as me and my friends for the burlesque show entered. Usually, when I did burlesque I did an act where I had an audience member help take off a tacky dress. May Wilson, my trouble sidekick, always prompted this command.
Going backstage, I saw my dancer friends. They all greeted me with hugs as I put on my eyelashes. The World Famous B.O.B, a legend in the burlesque community, was on the show that night. We met for a few seconds. B.O.B was a legend. She was in her own world seemingly. She was confident. Everything I wanted to be. I dried the tears in my eyes to throw on my fake lashes. There was a show that had to be done.
Part of me thought maybe, just maybe, I could win this loser back. Maybe if I were prettier and didn’t do my makeup so bizarre. Maybe if I were less weird. Maybe if I were some stripper swinging down a pole. Maybe if I didn’t go to NYU and went to BMCC. I looked at myself in the mirror. Applying my red lipstick I felt the sting of this man’s rejection. The thing with guys is that when they rejected you, they always made it hurt. And as women we always seemingly ran back for more.
The worst part was the dickhead was talented in every way. He was a good comedian, a fabulous writer, an awesome musician, and an overall stud. I, on the other hand, was just a weird girl with a puppet. He would be making it big and I would still be pining after him. Overall, my life sucked.
I put on my lashes, determined not to let this man ruin my night. The person hosting the show grabbed me and asked me about an intro. I gave it to them. B.O.B saw me and asked me to move so she could use the mirror. I was so far into my own world that I didn’t realize I had hogged it in my moping. Somehow we started talking and I mentioned this guy. B.O.B stopped me and said, “Stop crying over him. He sounds like a loser and you look pathetic doing it.”
Sure, she was right. But why was it so hard?
That’s when the show begin and my life would change. I told myself B.O.B was right. Still, it stung, weird and ugly. Those adjectives, no matter how apt, hurt. The host went onstage. As the acts came on the audience was wild and ready. I found myself wanting to perform, needing desperately to be cheered up. Finally we were called, April and May: The Roommates.
I went onstage with May. The act was going swimmingly. Already I was feeling better. That’s when the part came for an audience member to strip me. I asked for volunteers and a red headed, freckled boy who introduced himself as Flannigan ran up onstage. May did the act where he prompted Flannigan to take my dress revealing world’s worst lingerie, something no man would probably ever want. Flannigan unbuttoned with the speed of light. Wow, he must have been mad drunk.
In any event, the adventure was not ending but merely beginning. That’s when Flannigan took the dress and ran from the stage. I didn’t notice it at first, being busy with my act and all with May. However, when things ended I noticed my clothes were gone. While it was starting to warm up, there was no way I could ever get a cab in these undergarments.
I ran offstage and exclaimed, “Flannigan’s got my dress and I need it to get home!”
That’s when the stage manager began to go into the crowd and tried to get the dress from Flannigan. Coming backstage he said exasperated, “He won’t give it back. I need backup.”
The host, who was backstage between acts, then joined the stage manager. Flannigan wasn’t hearing of it. Trying to assist them, I went out. Flannigan was holding onto my dress for dear life! The stage manager and then tried to pry it from his fingers. But Flannigan was not letting go. He was in flight. Taking off out of the show room, the bouncer eventually stopped him, pinned him against the wall, and tore my dress from his fingers. The dress was safe.
The show continued without a hitch and afterwards we found ourselves laughing about the incident. With my dress on my person, I didn’t know what to think or feel. B.O.B came over to me. She said, “I saw your act and I liked it. You are very daring, very original.”
“It means a lot coming from someone like you.” I said.
“Now no more crying over losers. It only makes you look pathetic. And besides, it looks like you had one hell of a fan tonight.”
“Really?” I asked.
B.O.B shook her head and smiled. “Yeah, you have it April. That’s all I am going to say to you.” And then off into the night she went.
As I left Rififfi, I had people offer to put me in a cab. They feared Flannigan would try to take my clothes again. I wasn’t scared though. He had probably left, staggering home, vomiting in some alley way. However, as I got outside the bar I saw him against the wall having a cigarette with two of his homies. I tried not to look at him. After all, I wanted to keep my dress.
“Hey April.” I heard him say.
I turned around. “Yes?” I asked.
“I am sorry I took your dress and was a dick about giving it back. But you are so funny and beautiful I had to have something to remember you by.” My mouth dropped open.
Flannigan continued, “You are awesome. Anyone who doesn’t think so is an asshole. You’re a fairy princess” Either it was the booze or the truth, but in a very bizarre way I went from feeling like zero to fairy princess. I was a fairy princess Goddamnit!
I walked home, moonlight guiding me, with a new sense of self-worth. I wasn’t an ugly duckling anymore. I was a freaking swan. Okay, maybe not but I sure as hell felt like it. Above all things I was a fairy princess. That hottie was just a loser. He saved his head because he was probably losing his hair. And to come to think of it, he was getting a beer belly.
The hottie that had broken my heart moved to LA and drank himself out of his career. He is now living with some woman who hates him, gained weight, and looks worse than ever. My weird self and ugly makeup are rising in the ranks and making names for ourselves. Everytime he sees me on TV I know he chokes, and my fans love my outrageous eye makeup.
And everytime he wakes up next to his fat, ugly girlfriend I know he regrets not being Mr. April Brucker, especially when one of his friends posted on my facebook about how proud they were of me and all I was doing, mentioning that this loser said hello.
I never saw Flannigan again after that night, but he was the first of my adoring fan boys. Fan boys, who sometimes no matter how crazy, always make me feel special and loved. Fan boys who send me presents, write me poems, draw me, and profess their love in other ways. Fan boys who think I am beautiful.
Because of my fan boys, I am a fairy princess.
And Flannigan, wherever you are, the next time you see me you can keep my dress. Who needs clothes? I guess what I am trying to say is, thank you for making me feel pretty. Love, April
|The loser didn't love my daringness, but Flannigan did. Therefore, the loser is now a fat drunk and Flannigan can tell the story of the night he stole my dress as I rise to stardom. Take that shade as I throw it!|