SETTING: A bar during a burlesque show between performances.
RED SNAPPER, in costume bra and panties after performing, walks to the restroom. RANDOM GUY follows.
RANDOM GUYHey, you were really amazing.
RED SNAPPERThank you.
RED SNAPPER smiles and heads toward the bathroom. RANDOM GUY steps into her path.
RANDOM GUYI mean, you were really amazing. You're so hot. What's your name?
RED SNAPPERIt's Red Snapper.
RED SNAPPER makes another attempt for the loo. RANDOM GUY gets in the way again.
RANDOM GUYNo, I mean, what's your real name?
RED SNAPPERIt's Red Snapper.
RANDOM GUYNo, I mean, what's your real name? It's gotta be, like, Jennifer or Kim or something.
RED SNAPPERIt's Red Snapper. That's all you really need to know.
RANDOM GUYHey, give me your phone number.
RED SNAPPERUm, no. I've married. Like, very married.
RANDOM GUY follows RED SNAPPER in the direction of the bathroom but RANDOM GUY surprisingly has enough sense not to follow her inside.
As you can see, Random Guy doesn't have a Cyrano on his side coming up with his lines. You can also see why I'd be so annoyed by this question. I'd never seen this guy before, and I doubt he ever attended one of my shows again. No etiquette. (Even if I was single, his conversation would not have made me drop my panties.)
Let's drop in on a similar scene from late 2011.
SETTING: An arts space during a burlesque show.
RED SNAPPER, between burlesque numbers, is heading from the bathroom to the dressing room through the crowd to prepare for her next number. RANDOM GUY hollers up to her from his seat on the couch between two other random guys.
RANDOM GUYHey, you were amazing.
RED SNAPPERThank you. I love what I do.
RED SNAPPER smiles and starts to move toward the dressing room.
RANDOM GUYYou're so hot.
RED SNAPPERUm, okay. Thanks. I've got to go get dressed for my next number.
RANDOM GUY grabs RED SNAPPER's hand and tries to pull her onto the couch. Her trusty Crocs keep her feet planted.
RANDOM GUYWhat's your real name? You're so hot. Do you have a boyfriend?
RED SNAPPERMy name is Red Snapper, and I'm married. I've been married since the dawn of time as a matter of fact.
RANDOM GUYNo, you're not married. Seriously, what's your real name? It has to be Elizabeth or Ashley or something.
RED SNAPPER frees her wrist from RANDOM GUY's grip.
RED SNAPPERI am married, my name is Red Snapper, and I'm here to work. Excuse me.
RED SNAPPER darts to the dressing room while RANDOM GUY remains on the couch, drinking hipster beer.
I thought this guy was going to get into a game of Rumpelstiltskin with me. I was wearing Crocs so I couldn't effectively stomp a hole in the pavement anyway.
When I'm out in the world as Red Snapper, I'm not interested in discussing my real name. My performer identity is Red Snapper. I'm not Nicole or Ashley or Jennifer or Diane. I am Red Snapper. I will discuss how my name was selected, but Red Snapper doesn't reveal the driver's license name to the random guys of the world. (Funny how women don't usually ask what my real name is.)
I'm not sure why this question is important. "What's your real name?" Do you want to use my real name to try to evaluate why a girl with that name would go by Red Snapper? Are you hoping to become my Facebook friend? Do you think it's going to make us closer? You want to write it on a cup of Starbucks for me to show how cool you are for remembering?
There are reasons why some people get to know my driver's license name:
- They knew me before I started doing burlesque. Family, high school and college friends, co-workers, people I worked with as an actor. Most of them are conscientious enough to call me by my performer name in burlesque circles.
- They're paying me. They have to write a check to me for goods or services. They have to send me a 1099.
- They're working with me on a contractual basis. Photographers, producers, booking agents -- they can all have my plain Jane name.
- People who have become my friends from the burlesque world. This doesn't mean I give my name to everyone I perform with and everyone I ever meet via burlesque. We have to have a relationship that extends beyond the false eyelashes and rhinestone pasties.
By the way, my "real" name is Red. My father has been calling me Red since I was an infant. That's got to count for something.