BY ROB FORD
---- — When I recall the New Year’s Resolutions that I’ve made over the years, they all pale when compared to the year that I resolved to become a male stripper.
It was during December 2006 that I resolved that the following year would be one where I really tried something new. And as fate had it, the Old Town Playhouse was having auditions in early January for their March 2007 production of “The Full Monty.”
I was like a moth to an open flame.
Remember, “The Full Monty” is a musical. And in its capacity as a musical, it follows that anyone auditioning for a part should be able to sing a song. Thankfully, 13 years as a Rotarian had welded a couple of songs into my brain and those were enough for me to get past that obstacle.
Also, “The Full Monty” is a musical about a bunch of middle-aged guys that become strippers.
Seriously, if you ever resolve to do something memorable, I suggest that you audition for the part of a middle-aged stripper in a community theater production.
I say that because I ultimately got a “non-stripping” part in the play, had lots of fun and met plenty of very interesting people with whom I remain friends with to this day. While those are fine and good, they’re a soft and cuddly puppy compared to the slobbering 100-pound pit bull of a memory the audition remains in my memory.
In case you’ve never auditioned for a theatrical role that involved taking one’s clothes off, allow me to give my recollection.
It was something like this: there was singing and a brief group dance exercise. There was also a little thing called “call backs”. This was when I was informed that I was being called back for the next night to read some lines from the play and take off most of my clothes.
I had twenty four hours to consider what I was going to be doing.
The next night, we did read some lines in different configurations of actors. What made this different from other plays was that I’ve never read for a part with the specter of an oncoming strip dance hanging overhead.
So yeah, I was distracted during the reading.
The dancing instructions were simple: Five men would take to the dance floor in the lower level of the Old Town Playhouse at a time. The music would start, we would begin to dance and further instructions would follow — instructions like which article of clothing to remove next.
I could give you details, but I’ll bet whatever image you are conjuring right now is pretty close to the scene night seven years ago.
In my life, and in my strip dancing, I live by a simple code: control the things that I can control and avoid the things that I cannot control.
By that I mean that I removed my clothes in my own discreet fashion and left the more suggestive removal and gyrating to those better suited for it.
It wasn’t necessarily part of my dance routine, but I actually folded them and placed them on a nearby chair, amidst the group madness.
It was who I was, controlling what I could and avoiding what I could not.
Have a great 2014, and I hope that you all resolve to do something fun this year. If you do, make sure that it’s something really cool like running with the bulls, jumping out of an airplane, climbing the sand dunes, shooting a hole in one or trying out for a part in a musical about middles-aged strippers.
Rob Ford was born and raised in northern Michigan. He lives in Elk Rapids where he owns and operates Riverside Title. He can be reached via email at Rob@Riversidetitle.org.