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[Confessions of a Showgirl]

Confessions of a Showgirl(’s grandmother)

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Maren Wade

They say it’s a combination of nature versus nurture that makes you who you are. I would have to agree with They on this one. I’m sure many of you are wondering where I get that hunger to be in the spotlight, that yearning to please and be pleased, that need to make a difference and do my part for mankind.

Okay, I have a confession to make: Being a showgirl probably doesn’t help mankind. Still, I’m sure if everyone loved showgirls it could do a lot. But that’s not my point. I thought I would take the opportunity to introduce you to the woman who has made me who I am, my grandmother. I’m not sure if all showgirls have grandmothers like mine but if they did the world would be a far more entertaining place.

You can learn so much from your elders. Sometimes it’s not what they say, it’s just a matter of watching their mistakes and making sure you do the opposite. My grandmother has been an integral part of my learning process. She was a Canadian showgirl back in the day, a promotional model for Chrysler. She was busy singing and dancing and starring in commercials. She was quite stunning. Till this day, she’s always ready for her close-up. Every location is her next red carpet. Every family gathering is her next photo shoot. Every shower is her next performance of a lifetime. She’s always trying out the latest beauty products. QVC loves her and knows her by name. She’s eighty-six and still up on important showgirl news in such publications as People and Us Weekly.

Which is a relief to me because that’s when showgirls really go downhill—when they stop following the news.

She has this talent for speaking her mind and just letting the words fly out with absolutely no censoring. Sometimes it’s not what you say or how you say it. It’s just the fact that you said it at all. She has such a great outlook on life. For instance, after 36 years of marriage, she lost my grandfather. It was a sad time but she wanted to focus on the wonderful memories. At the funeral, whenever someone would come over to offer condolences, she would tell the secret to her successful marriage: “We fought a lot and we made love a lot. Keep having sex as long as you can. We were married for 36 years! Plus two before, in sin … well actually it was more than that.”

My grandparents really had some great times together.

My grandmother came to Vegas to visit me not too long ago. She arrived, fresh off the plane in her Juicy velour sweat suit and her sequined Ugg boots, ready to take on the town. The key to being a good showgirl is to keep people on their toes. Never let them know what you might do next. My grandmother excels at that.

For instance, we decided to go see a show on the strip. Those big casinos can be intimidating and it’s easy for anyone to get lost in them. I dropped my grandmother off at the front entrance and told her to stay where she was so I could meet her there after I parked the car. When I got back to the entrance, she was gone. I had misplaced my grandmother! I tried calling her but there was no answer. She has a cell phone but never brings it with her. I’ve tried to explain to her that a cell phone is not just for her to reach people; it’s also the other way around. I guess I still have some explaining to do.

I searched every restroom, every gift shop and every gaming table. I alerted all security. We had a full search party looking for my grandmother for over an hour. She was the most famous person in the casino.

We finally found her in the most likely place a veteran showgirl would be found. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it sooner. She was nostalgically standing outside the theater. The first thing she said when I spotted her was “Where have you been?! We’re going to be late for the show!” We missed the show.

Luckily, they had a later show, and for that we were able to arrive on time. As we were waiting, my grandmother explained that she was never lost. She knew exactly where she was because it’s where she’s meant to be, in the theater.

A showgirl never forgets her home. She just forgets cell phones.

Anyway, the moral of this story is once a showgirl, always a showgirl … and keep a short leash on your grandparents.

Follow Maren on Twitter @marenwade and read more Confessions at confessionsofashowgirl.com.

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