Ask Revolva: Unitard bathroom breaks and alter egos
Ask Revolva is an ongoing column, in which the public expresses confusion about anything from hooping and performance, to career counseling and tax advice (actually, don’t ask about the latter) — and Revolva answers, with wit and wisdom. This week’s questions involve unitards and alter egos, two topics on which Revolva happens to have a PhD. Click here to submit a question for future columns.
Q: Revolva, how does one use the bathroom IN A HURRY between sets when one is wearing a gold spandex unitard?
A: First of all, thank you for referring to them by their scientific name, “unitards,” rather than their tribal hipster name “onesies” – a term which has so obviously been appropriated from babies. (Take your culture back, babies!)
I have a two-word answer to your question: You don’t. There simply is no way to exit the stage, spring through people and props, find a bathroom, which may be a port-a-john at outdoor shows, peel off a layer off sweaty spandex from chest to knees, and pee quickly while simultaneously not being able to pee because your entire top half is naked, and if someone were to burst through the door (Is it REALLY locked?), the bathroom line will get a free peep show. Digital cameras. Internet. Career over.
Omg, this unitard is available in my store!
Never fear, however, because “you don’t” doesn’t just mean you don’t go quickly – it means you don’t have to go at all. When performing a physical act, you have to learn a very basic lesson: You are the master of what comes out of your body because you are the master of what goes into it. In the hours leading up to a show, on top of rehearsal, makeup, getting your tech organized, you will have an ultimate important job: Body State Negotiation.
BSN is a fine art. Drink enough water to stay hydrated. But slow down or stop as the act time approaches. Don’t drink alcohol at all (it has extra pee qualities, and also “drunk skill act” is an oxymoron). Do not eat a heavy meal in the couple hours leading up to stage time. Snacks are good, if you’re feeling low-energy. Avoid burritos, fries – anything that may be trying to exit the stage before you do. Eat your big meal and down a beer after your act is over (note: this may mean squirreling away free food given by the show or packing your own meal, ala third grade).
Basically, with enough attention paid to spacing out what’s gone into your system, you can go to the bathroom before you put the unitard on, and you will not have to go again until all your sets are over. If you THINK you have to pee, rest assured, the same answer applies: you don’t. It’s phantom pee, which is composed of nervousness, not actual pee, which is composed of liquid. As you can see, many hours of planning go into Body State Negotiation. Just one of many reasons entertainers should always be paid.
Q: Revolva, how do you work out being a writer and a hooper, or do your talents meld together seamlessly without creating any major personality disorders/confusion? Any suggestions for finding some balance for a gal in a similar situation?
A: Wait, there’s someone in a similar situation? That’s amazing! Let’s hang out. The short answer is that yes, my talents meld together seamlessly – inside of me. The outside world is a different story.
It’s a struggle to compartmentalize yourself because doing that is for other people’s benefit, not your own. That said, I’ve had formal writing clients that I never bothered to tell that I perform, and I’ve also been on tours or performed in shows where I never mentioned that I write.
Keeping things separate is a way to avoid judgment and keep getting hired. There’s an idea that if you haven’t just specialized in ONE field, you’re not good enough at what you do. As a woman, there’s also the misconception that if you do something with your body, you’re not smart, or that if you do something with your brain, you’re not sexy (sexy, of course, being a prerequisite for women to get on stage).
It’s really hard to meet everyone ELSE’s expectations. To a large degree, I think it’s good advice to just stop trying. In recent years, I’ve “come out” to cool clients (the last one said, “Hey, this is California. Everyone is weird!” and pulled juggling balls out of her desk.) I’ve also started teaching hoop classes that incorporate creative writing, and people seem to love it. Granted, you have to spend enough time practicing each art form enough to get good at it, but after a while, practice at one IS practice at the other. Little nuances travel back and forth.
Know your audience. If you’ll lose work over it, be more of one identity and less of the other. If not, be your holistic self. The world can only benefit from having more examples of that.
The final question is one that I’ll ask myself: Revolva, how do you feel about this video of the Cinderella story set entirely to Beyonce music?
I am watching this every single day for the REST OF MY LIFE!!!! Enjoy. And click here to submit a question for future columns.Follow Revolva
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