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Friday, May 3, 2013

Pinky and the Stripper


When I was in grade seven at school, my nickname was ‘Vanessa the Undresser’. Terrible I know. This was not, however, because I had a proclivity for disrobing in front of the boys down the back of the oval at lunch time.

The biggest annual event for primary school kids back in the 70s was the Show, resplendent with dangerous and dodgy rides, sleazy sideshow alley, fairy floss, waffles, Dagwood Dogs and a plethora of mysterious show bags. We would save our pocket money for months, con Dad into shouting for a new winter outfit and breathlessly plan who we were going to go with. 

In grade seven we were finally permitted to go to the show without our embarrassing parents. My friend Lyndy and I invited two other girlfriends, Kimmy and Suzy, and two boys; the exotically named Ignatius and the unexotically named Brian, to join our prepubescent party.

Innocent as this gaggle of eleven year old ratbags appeared, there actually existed an impassioned love triangle lurking beneath the surface. I was love-struck by a massive crush on Ignatius (who was the only boy at school with long hair like David Cassidy). Ignatius, in turn, was helplessly smitten by the bewitching golden ringlets of Lyndy; and Brian, I strongly suspect, also had a crush on Ignatius because he never spoke a word to any of the girls.

Over the previous years of being dragged around the show by my parents, my curiousity had been peaked by a particular sideshow tent advertising “Vanessa the Undresser”. The tent was intriguingly adorned with a titillating painting of a scantily clad dancer and enthrallingly complimented by a hirsute, shady-looking spruiker out the front, slimily beckoning passers-by. 

"Just keep walking and don't look at him Pinky!" my mother would hiss.

“Let’s go and see the stripper first!” I enthused at 11:00 am on the day of our big adventure as we pushed through the turnstiles.

Why they allowed six children into a stripper tent I don’t know and all I can say is that it was in the early seventies when kids could still buy cigarettes over the counter.

On reflection it was a pretty tame strip show (not that I’ve been to many) but “Vanessa” did remove her sequined bikini top and raising her arms in the air, jiggled the bejesus out of her bazookas.

We girls laughed our heads off and the boys went a deep shade of beetroot red. Poor Vanessa.

On Monday morning at school the next week our teacher Mr Williams left the room for a moment. Word had spread that the six of us had daringly gone to a real live strip show. We were legends.

“What happened?” they shrieked at us.

Standing up on my seat and raising my arms in the air I squealed,

“She took off her top and shook her boobies like this!” and proceeded to shimmy my flat-as-an–ironing-board chest.

It was just as the class erupted into raucous laughter that Mr Williams walked back into the room. I had dropped onto my seat quick as a flash but must have looked guilty being the only student not rolling on the floor laughing.

“Pinky! See me at lunchtime!” he barked.

“That’d be right! Pinky was the damn class clown!” I hear you muttering in disappointment.

Well I probably was… until my parents, sick to death of my appalling report cards sent me to a high school across the other side of town where I knew no one. I was sent straight to the bottom of the pecking order and that’s pretty much where I’ve remained ever since.