When I Went to a Burlesque Show

So I have a habit of putting myself in compromising situations. Not bad situations although that happens too. But the kind of situations where my moral barometer suddenly becomes muddied.

Case in point!

Picture me. Your average churchgirl minus the coffee addiction (cough, cough, Savvy). I’m at uni and my friend invites me to a burlesque show. Which is flattering because it shows that she doesn’t think of me as a prude, sheltered Christian girl.

Except that, in a way, I am a prude, sheltered Christian girl.

But this burlesque show couldn’t be that extreme. I mean, my life is not that exciting. I’m picturing pimply millennial girls in 1940s’ getup doing toe-touches to Christina Aguilera songs under fluorescent lighting.

So I say yes.

Warning sign #1: The burlesque show is in a dungeon.

No, literally. This is England we’re talking about. Imagine a 14th-century catacomb. Torches on the wall. Cobwebbed skeletons in the corner. A dragon somewhere. This burlesque show is in a LITERAL DUNGEON.

That’s actually the only warning sign I get.

Sure, there are a few old men in the back of the room but it’s mostly an evenly-coed mass of uni-students crowded around the performance space. And I watch.

Let me tell you. Don’t ever underestimate burlesque dancers. These girls have skill.

They peel off their costumes bit by bit. Everybody’s cheering and I see it all. Tassels on the nipples, shoulders shimmying. It’s impressive. I envy their courage.

But in the far back recesses of my mind, there’s this feeling that I’m doing something wrong. It’s a moral conflict that gradually rises like a tsunami.

My friend later tells me, “That was the Holy Spirit convicting you!”

Maybe. Thou shalt not attend burlesque shows. Or maybe not.

Regardless, there’s no denying that this moment feels familiar. And that annoys me. How do I always find myself in these compromising situations? Fortune-telling. House parties. Dumpsters (don’t ask). Situations that are not necessarily bad things—in fact, I believe that the way you relate to a thing is bad, not the thing itself (read about that here)—but they are compromising situations.

Compromising situations are when I’m toeing the line a little bit. Like I’m not watching my boundaries. Like I’m willing to do whatever whenever and why not.

Am I overreacting?

After that night, I keep tossing it back and forth in my head. It was fine. It was not. You did nothing wrong. Also God forgives you. Why can’t I just be normal and feel that it was a perfectly faultless experience?

When I express this indecision to a friend of mine, she responds in a way that I will never forget. She’s not a Christian but she says:

“Rachel, I really admire how you worry about these things.”

I find this incredibly comforting.

Worry. Not something our society exalts very often. But my friend’s words offer the greatest assurance to me in the midst of my inner moral conflict. It makes me realize something.

It is a good thing to be concerned about your choices, your behavior, and your attitude.

Especially if you’re striving to maintain a moral code. Especially if you’re a Christian and you want people to understand what it means to be a Christian by seeing the decisions that you make, the way you treat people, and the way that you remain disciplined in your personal boundaries.

For me, I want people to see that I have limits. I have things that I will not do. Not because I believe they’re necessarily bad or, dare I say, sinful, but because I know what will trigger that moral conflict in my brain and I don’t need that kind of stress. I don’t want to have that nagging feeling that I might be doing something wrong.

I want to have boundaries and I want to proudly say that I can stick to them.

The next time I’m faced with a situation that could potentially become another compromising situation, I can worry about it and feel glad that I’m worrying.

Because honestly, I’d be worried if I wasn’t worried.

-Rachel

 

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