Pardon My French! A Night at the Burlesque


To my knowledge, it's universally understood that theater people are superstitious. For example, a single lit bulb is left on stage at night to appease the theater ghost. (This light is literally called a ghost light.) Many performers have rituals they always follow, or lucky shoes, or a special talisman they keep in their pocket. But perhaps the most well known of all of these superstitions is that to be wished "good luck" absolutely guarantees very, very bad luck. If you must express well wishes, the preferred statement is "break a leg".

Not surprisingly, dancers aren't as keen on this phrase. While an actor can break their leg and continue on, dancers cannot. The preferred phrase for dancers is simply "merde". (That translates to "shit" in French.)

This past Saturday, one of my good friends had her very first Burlesque performance. I wanted to wish her luck, but knew I wouldn't see her before the curtain went up. I could have texted, or emailed, or even gone old-school and called her.  Instead, I wore my well wishes across my chest. 

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Here we go!

THE EVENT: A Burlesque show

THE BROKEN RULE: Keep the profanity at home.

THE OUTFIT: Have you noticed the current trend of French word shirts? It seems that every store is selling some version of a graphic T with "amour" or "bonjour" or "mademoiselle" emblazoned across the chest. Because of this everywhere-trend, when I saw this T-shirt in the same style but with "merde" across it, I knew I had to have it. (I know, very mature. But also, HILARIOUS.)  

For that evening's Burlesque performance, I paired it with a black A-line skirt, tights, those overworn Supergas, and a shrunken denim jacket. I also found it amusing that from afar my outfit looked very girl-next-door but close up I was sporting profanity, even if it was fancy French profanity. 


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THE EXPERIENCE: As we were at a Burlesque show, and not a children's soccer match, no one seemed too bent out of shape by my t-shirt. It was also dimly lit in the audience, so it's quite possible that no one caught on to my humorous ensemble. 

Geneva (best friend) accompanied me to the show. She's known me long enough not to be very surprised by my often strange sense of humor. After the show was over we headed across the street to a Mexican restaurant and finished our evening with some fun-flavored margaritas! (We both agreed that blood orange was the best.)

THE CONCLUSION: This shirt is not one I'll probably wear very often. For starters, it's not great quality.

I'm kidding. It isn't great quality, but that's not what will keep me from wearing it to brunch with my grandma. (Hi Nana!)

However, Saturday's burlesque performance felt like just the right occasion for its public debut. And sure, maybe no one else thought it was funny as I do. (Or thought it was funny at all....) But, at the very least, hopefully my well wishes emanated into the room and supported my friend. 


What random french word would you want on a T-shirt? I think I'll look for one with "baguette" on it next...

See you on Friday for an Inspired By post!