Patricia, 69

(1/3) What is it like to be 69? “I would say at this point, it is the best time of my life because I was a dancer for most of my life, and my mom started my sisters and me off in dancing school when I was about six or seven years old. Throughout high school I danced and performed with my sisters, and then in my adult life I carried on the trait. I had to retire in 2000 to have a series of surgeries. I was the type of dancer that you see in Cirque du Soleil. I was a contortionist. I was double-jointed. I would bend and twist and wrap both my legs around my neck and rock back and forth, and I damaged my spine as a result. I also damaged my right hip and I had to have a right-hip replacement and then I had to have four spinal fusions. I performed in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. I did performance acts. I worked with pythons and boa constrictors, snakes and fire. I had a number of specialty acts that I invented. I could take a shot glass and would have someone from the audience come up to the stage and pour alcohol into a shot glass and then I would spin the shot glass on my tongue—no hands, hands free—with my head back. And with my tongue I would maneuver the glass upside down and I would literally drink the shot glass contents as it was turned upside down and bring the glass back up and then twirl the glass all around with my tongue and then I would swallow the glass. But it didn’t go down my throat. With my cheek muscles and with my tongue, I could make the glass go up and down. I was a performance artist. Every night, I would think, ‘How else can I woo the audience.’ I would practice in my apartment. I would do a faint scene and leave torches burning on my stomach. And I had burns on my body. I could feel the audience and hear the comments. I could hear the comments under the music. I loved it. I loved mesmerizing the audience. It was captivating and I could feel it from the audience’s energy. I got carried away with that. Some of the acts were X-rated too. I would do a show where—am I allowed to say it? I did a stocking routine where I started out with 25 feet of stocking and I kept adding more and more stocking, and I would take 5 minutes in the dressing room and stuff it in my ‘privates’ and then I would extract it onstage. It grew from 25 feet to 103 feet of stocking. Over the years, I kept adding on, adding on, adding on, adding on. For years, I was doing a specialty act with 103 feet of stockings. I was here, I was in New Jersey. That’s where I met my twins’ father. He was a customer in the club. He gave me a $200 tip. He put two $100 bills on the stage and asked if I would join him for a drink after the act, and I did and the rest was history. I’ve had a lot of experiences to talk about.”

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