Cinema Sutra: Striptease

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The movie: Striptease didn’t win any Oscars, though had there been a category for Best Picture to Watch with the Sound Off, it might have been nominated. While waiting for Demi Moore to dance, we have to endure a “plotline” where she turns to stripping to make money and get her child back from her ex — utterly dire.

The scene: In an apparent homage both to Lena Olin’s hat scene in The Unbearable Lightness of Being and to Demi herself making the power-skirt suit an object of extreme arousal in her earlier film Disclosure, Her Cougarness finally does her routine in a girl’s version of the Blues Brothers get-up.

What you need:
• short business skirt
• matching men’s blazer
• white men’s dress shirt
• tie
• stockings
• heels
• a fedora
• outrageous bra/panty combo

The mechanics: The two hardest things to overcome if you’re going to do some amateur stripping (and, yes, I’m actually speaking from experience) are embarrassment and the urge to laugh. The former is pretty obvious, but by the time you’ve decided to do it, you’re probably already over that hurdle. The related impulse to crack up at yourself and the situation is another matter. Stripping is all about embodying the persona, taking charge, feeling all the power that goes with having someone look at you and desire you (yes, I understand the flipside of objectification, but this time it’s in your control). So instead of thinking that you’re ridiculous or the whole thing is silly, get into character and blast it out. (And if your audience starts laughing, those are grounds for a break-up.)

Demi’s number can teach us a lot about confidence, because even though her moves aren’t especially intricate or compelling and she doesn’t even take her skivvies off, her attitude and bravado make the whole thing very enticing. Let’s break it down step by step.

Assuming you don’t have a stripper’s pole in your living room (I’m not talking to you, Kendra), you’re going to have to go free-standing, which, as Demi shows, really isn’t all that bad. Starting off with a lion strut into the room or toward your lover can really set the mood (and your ‘tude); note how commanding Demi is when she comes on stage. That’s the way to go.

From there she shows that it takes nothing more than a few modified cheerleader moves, opening the jacket button (the shape of things to come), and dropping the skirt. This last, however, is the toughest part: when stepping out of the skirt, be careful to keep it from catching on your heels. (Demi’s pro solution is to step carefully with one foot, then kick it off with the other — takes practice.)

After that it’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On” — or not. Same for the jacket. The tie becomes a useful crotch-flossing implement. She does a little pole routine (you can sub in some lascivious undulating), and finally she builds to her crescendo: the shirt rip.

This part doesn’t work so well at home: buttons tend not to give, and then require restitching if you do pull them off. Better to unbutton them slowly, keeping the shirt halves together so you don’t reveal anything till you want to. Then, with all the buttons opened, Wham! Time to bust out (so to speak). Your lover will thank you for it.

Lesson we learn: Stripping can ultimately be less about technique and more about attitude. And, like Valentine’s presents and preventive medicine, a little effort goes a long way. Not everyone will feel like they can put on a private show, but if you think you’ve got it in you, it’s a great way to make a special someone very happy.

Click here to read — and learn — more in Nerve’s Hollywood Sex Scene Database.