It started out as an innocent evening, with plans to meet a girlfriend for a local book-signing.
But when it was over, there were feathers on my chest, lube in my hair and a new place in my heart for stripper poles.
My friend and I had gone to meet Miyoko Fujimori, author of “The Housewife’s Guide to the Practical Striptease,” who was hawking her how-to at the local lingerie shop. Purrmission is a sweet little boutique that peddles elegant underthings at the front of the store, and blush-inducing boudoir toys in the back.
Owner Melanie Doctors, who goes by the name Miss Kitty, was trussed up for the evening in a leather bustier and black feather miniskirt.
“I don’t usually dress like Big Bird,” she explained, but tonight was special. Miyoko, an exotic dancer-cum-mother of two, was not only going to autograph her purse-sized disrobing manual; she was going to teach us some man-pleasing moves on a portable stripper pole ($156, sold near the “Have a Naughty Day” hot pants).
Raunchy debauchery or constructive instruction?
“It’s every woman’s right to explore her sexuality,” insisted Miss Kitty, and unless you live on ABC’s Wisteria Lane, housewives are especially desperate for a way to bust up the monotony of monogamy. “I tell people it’s like chicken piccata. It may be your favorite dish, but if you have it every day of your whole life, it gets to be like, ‘Capers, again?'”
If marriage saps our sexual energy, motherhood darn near drains it dry. Maybe it’s all the other physical demands — breastfeeding, extricating a flailing toddler from a grocery cart, eternally plucking toys and socks and straw wrappers from the living room floor. Or maybe it’s the clock-watching robots we become in an effort to keep homework and vaccination and recital schedules straight.
That stuff just sucks the swing from your step, you know what I mean?
That’s where Miyoko and her stripping primer slink in.
A former Miss Teen Seattle and host of several Playboy TV shows, Miyoko, 32, knows it’s hard to “turn it on” after an evening of sorting laundry and reading bedtime stories. But the Agoura Hills residents swears stripping can put us back in touch with our sensual selves, and help us shed the psychological confines that our daily uniforms impose.
“Once our clothes hit the floor, we are free to be anyone we want to be,” which, for Miyoko, could be a shy schoolgirl, a friendly cowgirl or — come on, no judgment here — a firefighter.
“Step, bend and turn out,” she explained while guiding 20 or so women slowly, individually around the silver pole. Several were moms from a local elementary school. With Prince on the stereo, and feather boas around our necks, we learned a sultry headroll (I was awful) and a seductive hip lift (I think I was quite good, actually).
One woman in her 50s, a natural with cat-like grace and style, credited time spent in a tutu: “It was all those years of ballet, when I squatted!”
There were casualties, of course. One particularly enthusiastic woman dislodged the pole from the ceiling. A carelessly flung arm sent a bottle of erotic massage oil flying off the shelf and onto my lap. I hit my head on a pair of fuzzy purple hancuffs that were dangling, with whips and paddles, from a display rack overhead.
But it was exhilaratingly fun, too. Just ask the celebrities who’ve been touting cardio-striptease workouts for years. No surprise that Pam Anderson and Paris Hilton have permanent poles in their homes, or that a shnockered Lindsay Lohan and Kate Moss got friendly with a pole at a New York strip club earlier this year. But the trend has gone mainstream: Kate Hudson had one installed at her house. “Desperate Housewife” Teri Hatcher demonstrated her stripper moves on Leno. And just this month, proper Brit Emma Thompson busted out some impromptu pole love on “Ellen” (check it out on YouTube for a chuckle).
Miyoko’s book offers practical tips on what to wear, how to move and where to, um, shave before a domestic performance. She also advises readers not to dwell on our bodies’ imperfections, but to direct our dude’s attention to exactly what we want him to see: “The slope of your neck, the bounce in your breasts, the sparkle in your eyes.”
I like that. I also like the two reasons she says a matrimonial striptease is better than one in a nudie bar: A wife knows exactly what her husband likes — she’s not guessing.
And his odds of scoring are 100 percent better.