On Sex, Work, and Other Burlesques

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By Fancy Feast

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In the tradition of Anthony Bourdain and Emily Witt, celebrated burlesque performer, sex educator, and social worker Fancy Feast gives readers a backstage pass to the nightlife and sex industries, examining our cultures hang-ups and obsessions with bodies, desire, and even love

When Fancy Feast was in her high school production of "Cabaret," she convinced the director to cast her as a sexy Kit Kat Club Girl, not the old landlady part that always, always goes to the fat girl. In a black slip and fingerless gloves, Fancy made her debut appearance in a fluorescent-lit high school auditorium—and has never looked back. In college, she spent school holidays in New York City, watching striptease after striptease, transformed by the beautiful yet gritty art form. “God help me, I was going to have a life on stage," she decided. "Nuns are called to serve Christ and I was called to serve burlesque.”  

And serve she does. Fancy Feast has now been working for over a decade as an entertainer and sex educator and has won top awards for her work. In Naked, Fancy draws back the curtain to reveal a world that most denizens of the daytime never see. Part exclusive backstage pass, part long-form literary striptease, these essays confront our culture’s tightly held beliefs—like so many clutched pearls—about sex, communication, power, and the messiness of life on the margins of respectability. In “Dildo Lady,” Fancy recounts her time compensating for the failures of the American sex education system while working customer service at a sex toy store. In “Doing Yourself,” Fancy tackles fatphobia and dating, self-love, and fantasies. In “Yes/No/Maybe,” Fancy brings the reader from sex parties to polyamorous relationships as she contrasts the undeniable sexiness of enthusiastic consent with the devastating effects of miscommunication and entitlement.

Fancy Feast does this all as a fat woman who makes a living taking her clothes off—a triumphant punch back at a culture that wants fat people to be self-hating or sexless. Narrated with a fierce determination to find meaning in a world that is darkening around us, these essays are by turns splashy, vulnerable, and hilarious, but always powerful.


  • “With razor-sharp wit, beautifully drawn scenes, and incisive commentary on pleasure, fatness, and performance, Fancy Feast digs into the American psyche and offers revelations about our collective fears and obsessions. The writing is both hysterical and breathtaking, just like her act!”—Tristan Taormino, sex educator and author of The Ultimate Guide to Kink

On Sale
Oct 10, 2023
Page Count
256 pages
Algonquin Books

Fancy Feast

About the Author

Fancy Feast is a Brooklyn-based burlesque performer, writer, and sex educator. She holds the title of Miss Coney Island 2016 and is the recipient of the Revolutionary Award at the 2017 New York Burlesque Festival. She has performed at venues including The Whitney, the Brooklyn Museum, St. Ann's Warehouse, the Metropolitan Opera, and Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. She is the subject of Leon Chase's documentary, Character NYC. She regularly contributes essays to Buzzfeed, and her burlesque work has been profiled by NPR, Refinery29, and the Huffington Post.

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