Tassels and thongs aren’t typically the first images conjured when you hear “first date”— except for a burlesque date.

However, burlesque shows aren’t traditionally regarded as a “great” date option, with many listing it among the “worst” first date ideas. To clear this up, there are easily hundreds of worse ideas: Visiting grandma’s grave, sewage system tour (snorkel set included), rejuvenating mayonnaise bath (really, the list is endless), fish smelling class.

To maintain professionalism and seriousness, we’ll try not to use these words, and you probably shouldn’t either on your burlesque date:

Bust, busted, busty, abreast, titillate, hard, ribald, melon, mélange, asset, stripped, strips, stripes, cleave, bulge, caress, abate, taint, assess, crotchety, dilly-dally, diction, rebuttal, spelunking, splurge, twisty, pasty, patsy(?), and any word containing “boob” like booboisie, boobird, and booboos.

What is Burlesque?

For starters, it’s a centuries old art form originating in Italy. The word itself derives from the Italian “burla”, meaning a joke, ridicule, or mockery. The first known burlesques were just that: jokes.

Its origins arise in literature, heavily noted in the works by Shakespeare and Chaucer. Through the years, the genre transformed. It enjoyed a stint as musical theater parody during the English Victorian Period. From there, it crossed the Atlantic to America and competed with vaudeville performances throughout the country. After disappearing for decades, burlesque has returned, although mostly to the underground scene, and now exists as a form of neo-burlesque.

burlesque date

Notice that nudity isn’t included on the chart. According to an SAT analogy we just made up, “Burlesque is to nudity as ham is to orange juice.” They mesh perfectly with each other, but it’s not something you mix into a drink concoction.

Burlesque focuses on teasing: sexy over sexual. It’s a performance fit with dance, comedy, and female control. According to the star of Fluffgirls burlesque troupe, “The majority of our audience sees art when they’re watching a show, not ‘stripping.’” As a theatrical form, burlesque titillates without falling foul to censor.

Maybe some see it as a PG version of strip club—kind of like what Home Alone is to Die Hard.

burlesque date

Of course, these are just definitions of burlesque defined by performers. Grandma may have a different perception. So in order to prevent convolution, Vimbly presents you with another science lecture.

Burlesque: Another Vimbly Science Lecture

What is it about boobs, booze, balls, and a bit of ballet that excites us to the core? Scientifically speaking, why is burlesque a decent first date idea?


You know that feeling when you’re listening to your favorite song? That’s dopamine. You know that butterfly feeling—palms sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy? That’s dopamine. You know that intense feeling right after you eat a banana? Well, that’s also dopamine but to a reduced extreme—for some.

burlesque dateIn short, dopamine is the love drug. When dopamine is released in our bodies, we experience intense levels of emotion, desire, and pleasure. Anticipation, music, food, and sex all trigger significant releases of the neurotoxin (not as much as your departmental cocaine or heroin, but it’s still plenty), especially anticipation and sex.

Studies indicate that the desire to have sex releases exaggerated levels of dopamine due to the increased novelty and lengthened anticipatory stage of the act. That means, wanting sex produces more dopamine than physically having sex. And this physiological occurrence is true in both men and women.

If you don’t recall, what is burlesque again? A performance littered with seductive music and sexual teasing. If anything, a show should be enough to get the dopamine flowing.

What does all of this mean?

It means that a burlesque date is a viable option, fit to arouse—whether that’s good or bad is up to you. But it’s sure to bring more excitement than a caramel latte and Nora Jones background music.

As an art, burlesque is a performance cabaret, paying homage to a particular culture/era in America. Like film, it provides a form of escapism to the daily grind, with a little bump and grind. Burlesque stars want you to laugh at the bawdy humor, enjoy the tantalizing dance moves, and succumb to the seduction.

Also, ladies, if you’re worried about a raucous, masculine crowd, burlesque shows don’t attract that—strip clubs do. Most shows entertain an even mix of male and female. With female performers controlling the show, women are in charge.

Anyways, we’re not saying burlesque shows guarantee a second date. That’s the ultimate goal of a first date, right? Attraction and chemistry play a role in the process. Generally, you’re not going to go on a second date if the conversation stunk, revolving around, say, cooking ham and cucumbers—unless you’re very much into that, of course.

What we’re suggesting is to try something new. For fun, create a burlesque name (ours is The Luscious Lady Roxy Swellington). Finally, get your dopamine flowing, with or without the bananas, and enjoy an artistic homage to a centuries old performance.