March 3rd, 2011

Bittersweet Balloons

Two years ago, one of my dearest friends informed me that her great Uncle Jesse’s (names changed for privacy) 90th birthday was coming up. She said that at his 80th birthday party, he had told everyone that if he made it to his 90th, he wanted to have a “girl jump out of the cake” at his party. With his 90th birthday and corresponding party plans imminent, my friend told me her mother and Uncle Jesse’s wife (Aunt Grace) were wondering if they could hire me to surprise Uncle Jesse at his party with a (very tame) strip tease.

I said of course, and on the day of the party I wore a matching polka-dot push-up bra and boyshorts set and covered myself with blue balloons, which Uncle Jesse was provided with a thumbtack to pop while I danced. I had a delightful time performing that job and meeting Uncle Jesse and Aunt Grace, whom I enjoyed seeing occasionally over the next couple years as my friend got married and her family and I encountered each other at different wedding-related events.

Several weeks ago Uncle Jesse underwent surgery and experienced some subsequent complications. While he was recovering, I was told that Aunt Grace had brought him a picture of me taken the day of his 90th birthday party so he could show the nurses his “balloon girl,” whom he had apparently talked about. My friend said this was done “not in a silly way – it really cheered him up.”

Uncle Jesse died last week, just short of age 92. I will attend his memorial service on Saturday.

Sometimes, professional sexual entertainment is lighthearted, fun, sweet, moving. Sometimes it may hold an importance or make a difference in someone’s life many people aren’t or wouldn’t be aware of.

Today (March 3) is International Sex Workers’ Rights Day. This year has brought me, not that I need one, a bittersweet personal reminder that sex work encompasses and touches a wide variety of services, people, and experiences. As always, I offer love and support for sex workers and the recognition of their/our professional and human rights.

And I offer love to all who knew and loved Uncle Jesse, and wish him a beautiful journey.


“If you could stand tall with me…so much more that we could know…move past this flesh and blood, see what’s inside of you…”
-Ed Kowalczyk “Stand”

8 Responses “Bittersweet Balloons”

  1. Such a touching story. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Jo says:

    That’s so sweet, Emerald. He was a lucky 90 year old, I think, to have you be his present :)

  3. Erobintica says:

    Didn’t read this till this morning. It brought tears to my eyes, for oh so many reasons. ((Em))

  4. So glad to have read this story, and yes, definitely bittersweet. But most of all he was lucky to have you as his “balloon girl”!

  5. ste says:

    a very moving story, Emerald.

  6. Jacque says:

    Beautiful Story, Emerald.

  7. Emerald says:

    Thank you all so much. I am truly touched by each of your comments. I so appreciate it.



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