Author(s): Craig Seymour
Now in paperback, the frank, funny, explicit, and inspiring memoir about how dancing naked in gay clubs in the nation’s capital helped a college professor discover his true self.
All I Could Bare is the story of a mild-mannered graduate student who “took the road less clothed,” a decision that would change his life forever. In the 1990s, when Washington, D.C.’s gay club scene was notoriously no-holds-barred, Craig Seymour embarked on his incredible journey, all the while trying to keep his newfound vocation a secret from his parents and maintain a relationship with his boyfriend, Seth. Along the way he met some unforgettable characters: the fifty-year-old divorced man who’s obsessed with a twenty-one-year-old dancer; the celebrated drag diva who hailed from a small town in rural Virginia; and the many straight guys who were “gay for pay.” Seymour gives readers both the highs (money, adoration, camaraderie) and the lows (an ill-fated attempt at prostitution, a humiliating porn audition). Ultimately coming clean about his secret identity, Seymour breaks through taboos and makes his way from booty-baring stripper to Ph.D.-bearing academic, taking a detour into celebrity journalism and memorably crossing paths with Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige along the way. Hilarious, insightful, and touching, All I Could Bare proves that sometimes the “wrong decision” can lead to the right place.
"Part sexy parable, part witty reminiscence, part informative history lesson, All I Could Bare is a captivating introspective into a world we all have pondered. Unflinchingly honest, Seymour shows that there's far more to being naked than taking off one's clothes." — Josh Kilmer-Purcell, author of the New York Timesbestseller I Am Not Myself These Days and Candy Everybody Wants
"A clever and candid look into the world of gay male stripping that is infectious, irreverent, and ultimately inspiring." — Stewart Lewis, author of Rockstarlet
"Witty, humorous, and filled with the guilty indulgence of an unadulterated insider's view...a cunning memoir of what most gay men search for — to be desired, and hot boys." — Terrance Dean, author of Hiding in Hip Hop
If an account of one's tour of duty as a stripper and sometimes prostitute in seedy downtown Washington, D.C. gay clubs could ever be called "breezy," Seymour's achieved it. Sure to please the hedonistic gay man in (almost) all of us, Seymour is frank and entirely explicit as he chronicles his journey from diligent Masters' candidate (developing a thesis on gay strip clubs) to onstage talent working every night to make a living. Unafraid to bare it all, in person and in prose, Seymour details his brief foray into prostitution as well as the (very) personal stories of his fellow dancers. Seymour can dissemble, first pinning his stripping career on low self-esteem, but later admitting to some early success with more traditional dancing and acting; it becomes clear that the author is a bit of a narcissist, but a charming one. The last fifty pages, accounting for his subsequent work as a celebrity interviewer, are pure filler; when he sticks to the clubs, though, readers will feel they're in the hands of an expert.
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Craig Seymour is a professor of journalism at Northern Illinois University. A contributing writer for The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and other publications, he lives in Providence, Rhode Island.