A comment from Doctor Dancebelt:
Male dancers usually accept that tights are part of the deal when they sign up for ballet, but unexpectedly finding out that a teenage actor's costume is tights-based can lead to shock and awe. Hilarity ensues. I'm happy "Scott" chose to share his story.
My junior year in high school, our school’s spring musical was Once Upon a Mattress, a hilarious send-up of the famous tale of the princess and the pea that starred Carol Burnett when it was first performed on Broadway. I tried out and got a great part, the minstrel who serves as the narrator for the entire show. If you know the musical, my character is the first one onstage, who sings “many moons ago…”. It required singing, acting, and even dancing skills that I never knew I had.
Most of the boys' costumes required tights, covered by long shirts, with the tights only visible just above the knee. However my costume consisted of a feathered hat, a short belted dark red tunic that stopped at the waist, cream colored tights, and short deerskin boots.
I’d never worn tights before and practically jumped out of my skin when the costumer first showed me the outfit. When I tried on the tights, I knew instantly that my tightie whities weren’t going to work. So when the afternoon of the first dress rehearsal arrived I was prepared to deal with the problem by wearing the all purpose solution to all teenage bulge problems – my jockstrap. Bad idea! When I pulled on the tights, the strap lines looked gross and you could practically read the word Bike in front. I was mortified that everyone could see through the tights and wished I could have one of the more conservative costumes. After rehearsal, the director told me the jockstrap wasn’t going to cut it and that I needed to go to a dance store to buy something called a dance belt.
I had no idea what a dance belt was, but if it looked better under my tights than the jock, I was all for it. I couldn’t figure out what it might look like or how it could work, but remembered that I’d seen male dancers wearing tights that didn’t show underwear lines.
I looked up dance stores in the phone book, but it took a couple calls before one said they had dance belts. When I got to the store, I was totally freaked out at having to walk into such a fluffy female oriented place. I walked past a couple times without going in, screwing up my courage and waiting until it wasn’t filled with little girls. Finally an opportunity presented itself. I marched in with my heart in my throat and said I was the guy who called about needing a dance belt. The lady behind the counter asked my waist size, then disappeared behind a curtained off area, eventually reappearing holding a plain white box with black printing that said “male dancer’s belt”. She mentioned that they were really tight to wear and the wide part went in front, but didn’t give me any more specific instructions. I paid for it and got out of the store as quickly as I could.
When I got back to the car, I opened the box to see what this magical device looked like. The label said it was a Les Steinhart. It was flesh colored, with a wide elastic waistband connecting to a flat fabric piece in front that narrowed and connected to the waistband again at the rear. The rear was not wide enough to span across my butt, so I figured out that it would fit between my butt cheeks.
Back home, I hurried to my room to try my new dance belt on. (Now, I know that dance belts are designed to be worn pointing North, but since there wasn’t anybody around to instruct me on the secrets of wearing one back then, I tucked my penis down between my legs, which forced my testicles up into my abdomen. It didn’t feel very good, and I couldn’t imagine how dancers could wear one.)
Looking at the mirror, I saw my bulge was pretty much totally flattened and it looked a lot better than the jockstrap. Cool! I could now wear the tights costume without embarrassing myself. My biggest worry would be whether I could stand to wear the dance belt for the entire length of the show.
The next day I was ready to debut my new look. All the other guys had seen my embarrassment when I wore my jock, so they were very interested to see what I replaced it with. When I modeled the dance belt, I could tell they were very glad it was me and not them wearing it.
With full costume on, the dance belt’s waistband was almost entirely hidden by the flare of my shirt below the belt. If you looked closely, you could see the dance belt outline in front, but the flattened bulge looked OK. Even the constant pressure reminded me that I was wearing something pretty special. Now I actually liked the idea of wearing such a bold costume!
The performances were a success. I found I could handle wearing the dance belt for the length of the show, although I was very happy to remove it afterwards. I also learned that wearing tights wasn’t so bad, inspiring me to take dance classes when I got to college.