From the very first page of Naked, author Fancy Feast drew me close with her playfulness, candid vulnerability, and wit, and I've been musing on her words long after finishing this transfixing, insightful book. The author seems to say "I see you watching me, now come have a closer look and let me share what I've learned and experienced" as she leads us through outrageous burlesque shows across the country, working at a retail sex toy shop, dealing with fatphobia, finding a meaningful connection while working as a phone sex operator, studying to be a social worker, and so much more. Boogie recommends!
In Naked, a celebrated burlesque performer, sex educator, and social worker bares it all, with incisive and hilarious essays about selling, performing, and consuming desire.
Fancy Feast 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 retail 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 off her clothes—a triumphant punch-back at a culture that wants fat people to be self-hating or sexless. For fans of Lindy West and Melissa Febos, Naked is by turns splashy, vulnerable, and always powerful.
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.
“Sharp and revelatory… Feast makes a hilarious, poignant and relevant contribution to a canon that normalizes open explorations of sex and revolutionizes social expectations in the process.”—The Washington Post
“Naked is a triumphant collection of essays about navigating sex industries as an unapologetic, empathetic, big-hearted millennial. I was laughing, clapping, and wincing as Fancy Feast lays bare the sexual hang-ups and misconceptions that shape our culture. I'd read her voice on anything, but I'm so glad she pointed her razor-sharp wit dead center on the things that matter: namely, the things we hide our sexuality behind, and what can be gained (and lost) from nakedness.”—Gabrielle Korn, author of Everybody (Else) Is Perfect and Yours for the Taking
“A funny and poignant exploration of sex, desire, and performance. Naked is sexy, sharp, and full of heart.”—Tracy Clark-Flory, author of Want Me
“These essays on sex, work, sex work, and sexy work reads like a dream – it’s harder to put down than a beach novel. Fancy Feast proves that the worlds so often described as ‘hidden’ are only obscured by viewers’ preconceptions and fears. She humanizes as she titillates, and shows compassion for those who want to see but are afraid of what they'll find out about themselves. Above all, she gives permission to look.”—Jo Weldon, founder of the New York School of Burlesque and author of The Burlesque Handbook
"This cheeky collection of essays by burlesque performer, social worker and sex educator Fancy Feast is a delight. Whether she’s sharing her experiences with polyamory, with fatphobia or with sex toys, Feast is candid, gracious and vulnerable."—Ms. Magazine
"If Fancy’s memoir was just a diary of her life as a burlesque performer in New York City, it would be stunning enough, but it’s more: Fancy turns the readers’ gaze back at themselves with a clear and incisive mirror, from watching sex shop customers hit each other with soft packs, to pancakes in bed with lovers forced to confront their own fatphobia. Like sitting down for an intimate show and standing up changed, Naked deserves an ovation for stripping the audience’s assumptions down to the pasties."—Samantha Cole, author of How Sex Changed the Internet and the Internet Changed Sex
“I've known Fancy as a fierce performer—but now I’d had the privilege of being slayed by her words. Her stories are insightful, playful, and beautifully written. How lucky are we to have such intimate access to this beauty?!”—Roz the Diva
“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
“Electrifying… the author and her stories are captivating and infused with vulnerability and humor… a powerful, entertaining testament to embracing all of the facets of oneself.”—Library Journal
“Fancy takes us where the real show is—backstage. Rousing, riveting, and uproarious, Fancy’s takes on sexuality are invaluable. Her humor is human. She brings the earthy reflection of reality that is burlesque to a hush-hush aspect of life—sex.”—Jessica Stoya, adult icon and columnist
“A meaningful, vulnerable look at the world of burlesque from a storyteller who isn’t afraid to show a little skin.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Honest, explicit, and sometimes vulnerable, this revealing debut offers much for readers to enjoy.”—Booklist
"Such lovely writing makes “Naked” more than a book trying to destigmatize sex work and normalize all forms of sexual expression; it’s also a deeply human story of survivorship."—Boston Globe