But they did! I was psyched because I’ve admired the CSPH’s work for a long time. And I was nervous because it was starting to hit me that I had never performed anything before, and I wasn’t that confident about the concept I submitted to them.
So I started practicing with Eric and we quickly came up with ideas for making it funner and sexier. But those ideas required that I have a second performer. Eric isn’t a performer either, but he agreed to do it with me, so long as I don’t give him many lines.
As the event neared, I started having flashbacks to the time I did a speech about polyamory at an event at Bridgewater State University. I was invited to speak by one of the event planners, but the other people in charge didn’t seem to want me there at all. Their approach to MCing was to goof around and tell borderline sex-negative and body shaming jokes. I think they thought that even a brief speech would be boring. They pretty much told me to get off the stage as quickly as I could. So I went up and started reading from my notes, and the (large) crowd kept chattering. I was really nervous, with it being possibly the first time I ever spoke in front of a crowd, and I felt completely unwanted. I rushed through what I had to say with little to no inflection in my voice, and left the stage wondering whether any of the 100+ people in the room got anything out of it.
In planning for Smut Night I was really worried that I would freeze up again once I got in front of the crowd. I kept telling myself, “Say things with feeling! Be dramatic!” But in our practice sessions, I continued to be monotone because I couldn’t get past the fact that no one was actually watching us.
When the night of the event finally came and Eric and I found ourselves in front of a real audience (which was a thousand times more welcoming and supportive than the one at Bridgewater, by the way) we both got so much energy from the crowd. We went all out with the over the top theatrics. My hands were visibly shaking with nervous and excited energy (someone from the front row later told me they noticed). I even knocked over the mic stand by pulling the microphone too far away during a chaotic fake-make-out scene. We improvised, goofed around, and ogled each other. I told people to buy the zine way too many times. We had a lot of fun, and I think the audience could tell. A bunch of strangers told me afterward that they loved our performance. :)
Also, someone called my zine “a Puritan’s nightmare.” That was fun to hear. I just looked up the definition of Puritan and found “someone who follows a strict moral code and who believes that pleasure is wrong.” I didn’t realize how accurate that review was until now.
Thanks so much to the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health for putting on a great event and giving us the opportunity to be a part of it!
I’m looking forward to possibly expressing my dramatic inclinations in future performances. Currently brainstorming new Pleasure Pie performance ideas.