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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, July 28, 2014

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The years spent slinging booze behind the bar are some of the fondest, most carefree, and lucrative of my life.
The years spent slinging booze behind the bar are some of the fondest, most carefree, and lucrative of my life.

Memoirs of a bartender

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – brought to you by Hornitos, OR-G, Party Armor, Red Stag, Absolut, Fireball and Malibu – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

Bar month has me gooey and nostalgic over a really great time in my life.

All too long ago ... in actuality (gulp) an entire decade heretofore ... I was in the throes of the service industry, living life as a Milwaukee bartender. The years spent slinging booze behind the bar are some of the fondest, most carefree, and lucrative of my life.

For a girl who never touched alcohol before a tenure at Marquette University as a student and consequently a patron at Theo's (rest that bar's lovely soul), I adapted to multitasking poppin' bottles and doin' shots with very little grace, and even less dexterity.

I was fortunate enough that my dear friend, William Jenkins, bestowed my very first barkeep position upon me, although my resume was a barren wasteland in terms of mixology. I eagerly learned the ropes at the beloved Cush and was promptly put onto the busiest shifts: Fridays, Saturdays and (I know a lot of you miss Cush's SIN) Sundays.

If you weren't a "drinker" before, walking through the doors of Cush would change that; probably with a shot of Jack Daniels procured through a game of bar dice. I am flummoxed that I can still palate Patron or Jaeger subsequent to my residence there. I have also, to this day, never had as much unquestionable fun at any establishment since. I sincerely loved my boss, my co-workers and our guests – even the ones I cursed at.

I was not a "nice" bartender by any means. I did not have a talent for remembering slews of drinks, nor mixing particularly tasty concoctions. But, I could remove beer bottle caps (with a bottle cap opener kept holstered in the back pocket of my painted-on pants so stri…

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David Copperfield's spellbinding magic is miles away from hat-and-rabbit tricks.
David Copperfield's spellbinding magic is miles away from hat-and-rabbit tricks.

Dazzled by David

You've really "made it" when your name has become a verb.

And so David Copperfield reminds his audience with the montage of television and film clips that begins his show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

I first saw "Our Era's Giant of Magic" years ago on one of my first dates with my husband. I remember totally pre-judging the experience I was about to have as "some hocus-pocus show." I think I truly expected a caped sorcerer to pull a rabbit out of a top hat. Instead, a handsome, charming storyteller kept me spellbound with personal anecdotes intricately woven into a flowing production. I left the theater amazed and filled with childlike wonder.

Last Sunday was no exception, when 13 years later we took my stepdaughter, Alisha, to see the "World's Greatest Illusionist" raise his sculpted eyebrows, deliver deadpan schtick and dazzle us with moment after moment of "How did he do that?"

He even made Alisha "disappear" during the finale. (I suggest that Mr. Copperfield market this talent as an infomercial product to parents of teenagers for "temporary relief.")

After the spectacle where Mr. Copperfield made my stepdaughter and about a dozen other audience members levitate into the air and then go "poof," the show ended, there was a standing ovation and we excited the theater – without Alisha.

There was an uncomfortably long period of time in which we waited outside the venue with the families of the other "vanished" victims. Other audience members lingered in anticipation of quizzing the evanesced folks of the secret of "how he did it."

WAIT! Don't tell me!

I don't want to know. I prefer to bask in my ignorance. I don't desire the secrets and technicalities of how the magic happens. I mean, didn't David Copperfield ACTUALLY make these people disappear? Didn't he REALLY predict a series of numbers volunteered by random audience members? He surely turned a piece of paper into a fluttering butterfly!

David Copperfield IS magic. He is a modern day Merlin – only wi…

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All made up and ready to take on the world.
All made up and ready to take on the world.

War paint

War paint.

Warriors decorate the skin of their faces and bodies to prepare for battle, to intimidate the enemy and to rev them up for combat.

Makeup is no different.

The days I apply a "full beat-down," I am a shaded soldier in the crusade that is life.

I am a painted Jedi using the cosmetic Force to defeat daily Darth Vaders.

A beautified ninja throwing glittering blows wherever I go.

An embellished superhero able to leave lipstick behind in a single kiss. (Cursed be the long-wearing formulas that have started to diminish the S.W.A.K. effect.)

My application of cosmetics allows me to transform into my alter ego: the confident, cool, charisma bomb that is my public persona.

In my private life, I am a bare-faced, socially awkward, stuttering geek fest that wears the same (often sweaty) sweats day in and out and maybe washes her hair once a week.

I displayed my first swipe of crimson colored cherry ChapStick in fifth grade (although Mrs. Martin promptly removed it from my possession and instated a classroom "no makeup" rule) and have never looked back.

The ritual of embellishing my eyes with shimmery shadows, my cheeks with a bright pop of color and my lips thick with gloss is a comforting, enjoyable part of the days I take the time to do it.

"In psychology, the term ritual is sometimes used in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior systematically used by a person to neutralize or prevent anxiety; it is a symptom of obsessive–compulsive disorder," says Wikipedia. 

For months after my brother passed away I would stare into the mirror at my naked face, stunned that he was gone. Gussying up was my defense, my transport into an alternate reality where everything was OK. My made-up visage gave me the strength to face many a day.

The motivation behind wearing makeup is a moot point. Makeup creates a "mask;" it is "fake," but the freedom to adorn a human canvas with bright colors, sparkles and fluttering lashes is a form…

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What happened to the "hairway to heaven?"
What happened to the "hairway to heaven?"

A public plea for pubic styling

The televised pop culture magnifying lens, Showtime Network's "Californication," true to form, brought up a tantalizing personal preening issue a couple of episodes ago.

Season five, episode three examines the disappearance of pubic hair from younger generational nether regions.

The topic is first illustrated by compulsive masturbator Charlie, who has taken to watching "vintage" pornography because he has become so desensitized by the graphic nature of what's available now. He is shown partaking in some "old skool" porn complete with real boobs and ample "bush."

The fictional prophet of Los Angeles, envy of men and bed wish of women everywhere, Hank, then brings up the topic again in a bar exchange where he ponders (and I must paraphrase here), "if your father loved your mother's parts any less because they had more hair on them?"

Yes, a full plume of pubic hair has become a thing of the past, like VHS tapes and home phones.

The hairless wonder was also recently showcased in an amazing article in The Atlantic, "The New Full Frontal: Has Pubic Hair in America Gone Extinct?"

A friend brought this piece to my attention and when I told him I hold Esthetics licenses in three states and have administered these dos down there – he thought I should expound on this.

I started self-administering Brazilians and was quoted saying that "hair only belongs on my head" long before Kim Kardashian said something similar and showed the world her pubic styling preference. I committed to the permanent option a decade ago when lasers were not as advanced as they are today, making for a ridiculous number of excruciating treatments. Tattoos or a traditional Brazilian are nothing when compared with the snapping sizzle of a laser on your lady bits.

But, it's not women's lack of hair down below that fascinates me.

Women do as other women do when it comes to beauty trends. Competitiveness, curiosity and fear of not measuring up to other females (or their lovers' expectations) have c…

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