Introducing Free Your V’s latest guest poster: Sassy Muffin!
Sassy Muffin’s bureaucratic alter ego moved to Ottawa in June of 2008 from the deep wilds of northern BC to complete her Master’s degree while pursuing her career in the federal public service. Through classes at a local dance school, she discovered Ottawa’s glittering and sparkling underbelly.
Armed with her Master’s degree and suitably bodacious body, this bureaucrat-by-day and show-pony-by-night brings cheeky character-driven acts to the stage to taunt, tease, and celebrate art and the bodies that make it. Inspired by the likes of Mae West and Joan Rivers, Sassy’s worships the saucy confidence of curves that will not be avoided, often with a sweetly biting comedic edge. As the “Naughtiest Lips in the Capital”, Sassy strives to remind everyone that our nation’s capital is not boring, but is full to the bursting with talented people and features a vibrant performing arts community.
Sassy is a performer with Capital Tease Burlesque, one-part of the production duo Frisque Femme, and a burlesque emcee who enjoys gently scandalizing her audience with her pretty pout and her trucker’s mouth.
On Sunday, April 12, the second annual Capital Burlesque Expo came to a close in a sunny explosion of bacon and legs at Maxwell’s Bar and Bistro. Sassy Muffin (that’s me!) had flounced about the wooden stage dressed as a saucy 1960s airline stewardess, and spun airplane inspired tassels (otherwise known as ‘assels’) on her buttocks. Monday morning dawned too soon and too bright, as Miss Muffin’s bureaucratic alter ego dragged herself from bed, across the river into Gatineau, and up many flights of stairs to her, unfortunately for this particular Monday, well-lit cubicle.
As a bureaucrat-by-day, I (Sassy) live the office 2.0 reality of the majority of public servants in Ottawa. I know a few individuals who meet every stereotype of the ‘public servant,’ and I know many more who break the mold – who are intensely focused, who work long hours, who are devoutly committed to serving Canadians, and who lead interesting lives as athletes, activists and artists.
In this column on Free Your V, I will be sharing with you, dear reader, some of my experiences as a career oriented woman, a committed public servant, and a member of the exclusively inclusive Ottawa glitterati. It will sometimes be shocking (at least to me – I’m pretty ‘vanilla’), sometimes informative (but not too much – that would be boring), and sometimes hilarity will ensue (but I hope you will laugh along with me!).
So, let’s start at the beginning(s).
A Born Bureaucrat
I was born and spent my childhood in northern BC, in a community that, to this day, does not have cable television, still has some homes without their own telephone line, where cell phones do not work, and internet and TV is only really available via satellite. We had chickens and pigs (they were both cuddly and delicious), and I had a horse of my own. I often ate wild strawberries as I walked to the school bus stop where our dirt road met the only paved road that wound its way through rolling hills dotted by tiny unincorporated villages much like my own.
I looked up to my Aunt, who had moved away from the small remote village, attended college, and was working for the federal public service. It all seemed very glamorous and cosmopolitan to young me, and I adored visiting her each summer. I had every intention of growing up, and being just like my Auntie.
Later, I moved around the Okanagan and the Shuswap, graduating high school in Kamloops before going north again for university. After I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies, I made the move to Vancouver, working in the private sector before entering the public service. While I was happy to be in the public service, I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, and I knew I would have a better opportunity to grow my career if I moved to Ottawa. And so I applied to a Master’s program in Ottawa, was accepted, packed my tiny car full, and drove across the country to start my new life.
At some point, I began to feel uncomfortable in my body. I felt like I was constantly in my own way. I couldn’t bend that way, or this way, because some part of my body was always in my way. I was out of breath, tired and defeated.
I knew I needed to do something different, and I thought back to my first trip overseas. I had tried belly dancing in Egypt, and loved the diverse women (and one overly enthusiastic French man) who I had the opportunity to see perform. I began looking for a belly dance class. What I found was a small dance school that offered belly dance and burlesque at a price even a poor graduate student working as a barista could afford.
I signed up.
Our instructor was Bambi Van Boom. She entered the dance room with swift graceful movements, and commanded our attention immediately. She was strikingly beautiful, with colourful tattoos on her fair skin, cropped dyed black hair, and full lips painted a deep red. I looked nervously at her petite frame, and worried about all my voluptuousness spilling over onto everything.
However, Miss Van Boom quickly had her school for wayward girls gleefully bumping and grinding, quivering and shimmying through her intricately beautiful choreographies with her seemingly inexhaustible patience – and her absolutely mesmerizingly taunt and tiny but beautifully jiggling butt-cheeks.
Yeah, I stared. A lot.
Around our second or third class, Miss Van Boom asked us to start thinking about our persona – who was our inner burlesque queen, and what did she want to be called?
I looked, and I found: