I was a chubby, friendless nine-year-old girl growing up in Maryland when Hairspray came out and my brother and I won the VHS tape at the opening of the local video store. John Waters’ philosophy that there is a whole community to be found of libertines, freaks and outlaws looking out for each other has made him a living saint to me. Last Friday night at the Creative Alliance, Natalie Wall’s Awkward Sex… and the City troupe, on tour from its home base in New York City, put on a performance and turned out an audience that would make him proud.

Wall opened the performance, setting the tone for the evening by touching on the life-affirming comfort of talking about things, including other people’s marriages, the fluidity of attraction, the erotic power of thighs on people of any gender, and different cultural norms around drinking while pregnant. She assured the audience would hear risky material based on real research in the field, and that, “You’re going to feel so much better about yourself.”

Karolena Theresa

While the theme of the show is sex, the stories range over many topics, including the impact of tech layoffs on Karolena Theresa’s career — “I truly never want to work again” —being a bridesmaid — “that is labor, we should be paid” — therapy, astrology, her Afro-Latina Guatemalan mother’s influence, and her own experience cooking for a lover who broke her heart — she “dealt with it like a girl raised on novelas” — only to rebound with verve until she’d had enough, and found secure love in marriage.

Calvin Cato discussed the frequent indignities of work in America, like coming off a successful European tour to perform in the parking lot of a McDonald’s. Further adventures of dating at nearly 40; ending a long-term, unsatisfactorily never-quite-defined relationship with a librarian; and hooking up with a math teacher only to find out he gets Fox News alerts by glancing at his phone immediately after sex, had the crowd in hysterics. His story about a romp on his last night in Scotland with a hot actor in a van contained the funniest line of the night–– a sketchy location for a hook-up, to be sure, but he had to go. How else would he get his best material?

Calvin Cato

You can catch these and other awkward sex stories on Wall’s podcast. For more info, go to awkwardsexandthecity.com.

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Lauren Cerand

Lauren Cerand moved to Baltimore six months ago, after twenty years in New York and one in Italy.

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