Funny Speakers Tale of Sexy Gone Bad

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Cartoon picture of motivational speaker wearing curlers while driving a minivan

Who Hijacked My Sex Appeal?

My husband and I were somewhere around the thirteenth year of marriage. I stopped counting the year he got me a dust buster for our anniversary. We were at that point of the fairy tale where the all-night hanky-panky turns into “Come on babe, we’ve got five minutes before the TV show Law and Order starts.”

That point where you go from saying,

“Hey Baby, come rub some lotion on my shoulders” – wink, wink, – to “Come here, Babe! You have got to see what is growing in between my toes! I think it’s infected.”

I was somewhere in my forties. I stopped counting the year I found a gray hair growing out of my chin.

I was feeling like I’d lost my mojo. I’m not even sure I know what mojo is, but I was pretty sure it was gone. (Looking back at pictures, I now realize that I never had it). I decided it was time for Stella to get her groove back. Again – wasn’t exactly sure what a groove was, but I was convinced I would find it.

So when I found out my friend and her husband were seeing a sex coach (I’m picturing Dr. Ruth sitting on the edge of their bed saying, “Try harder, Fred. Imagine you’re in a golf tournament and she’s your hole in one.”).

I couldn’t help but think I was missing out on something.

I was reminded of that time all the girls were buying skinny jeans and, well, that probably wasn’t the best idea for me. I’m not exactly skinny jean material.

But that’s okay. I just read in a magazine that men like a girl with a little junk in her trunk. I just hope he’s okay with some junk in the front seat too.

And the dashboard.

And the side pockets.

And dragging off the bumper.

Note: We all hit those moments in life where we feel like we’ve gone from “on fire” to “flat-lined”. Where we look back and wonder if those were the good years, and we missed it. And it is in these moments where we have a choice – and what we choose in this moment will define the course of our future. What we choose will determine if we ever get our groove back. 

Being a Plus-Sized Dreamer (Turning Negatives Into Positives)

Without a doubt, I’ve got some junk in my trunk.  Motivational Speakers are wired to turn negatives into positives – just like comedians are wired to find the funny in our weaknesses. So I’ve learned to love myself at any size and shape – even if I’m not where I want to be.

Funny keynote speaker wears bunny suit

And let me tell you, there are advantages to being plus-sized:

• You get to eat whatever you want. My skinny friends only eat grass in moderation. When models win a beauty pageant, they celebrate by eating two grapes and half a pretzel. Not to make fun of my healthy friends – I really do admire them – and they are teaching me to love kale. My favorite is deep-fried kale.

• When you’re plus-sized you have LOTS of friends – one, because you have such a good personality – two, because they all look skinny standing beside you – and, three, because when you go out to lunch, you will never guilt them into ordering a salad. Sit by me, and nobody will notice that you put an extra tablespoon of dressing on your salad, sitting beside my plate of chicken fingers and cheese fries. (Hhhmmmm. I wonder what kale would taste like with melted cheese?)

• Plus-sized mothers are better at protecting their children from danger. I can hide two teenagers and a toddler behind me if push came to shove.

• When you’re plus-sized you actually have boobs. Several sets in fact. And if they’re long and skinny like mine (picture two tube socks with a handful of change hanging at the bottom) you can tie them into all sorts of fantastic designs. I call them booby origami.

• We rock at hugs.

• When I get a diamond bracelet for Christmas, mine’s going to have more diamonds in it.

• If we get in a fight, chances are pretty good I can take you down.

Note: One of the keys to handling stress in life is having the ability to find a positive side to your negative situation – to somehow turn that obstacle into an opportunity – to find a way to laugh, even when it’s raining. The ability to find a way to love who you are, even if you aren’t where you want to be, is crucial to living a peace-filled life. Peace is a choice. Choose it and later you will feel it.

Keynote Speaker Gets Fifty Shades of Embarrassed

Anyway…back to finding my mojo.  I asked my friend with the sex coach to share some ideas with me and she suggested I go read this book, Shades of Grey, to get me started. Let me just say this – telling someone like me to go read Shades of Grey for bedroom advice, is like sending your granny to a mosh pit to learn how to dance.

Moshing, also known early on as “slamdancing”, is a style of dance whose participants push or slam into each other, usually while moving in circle. It is most associated with “aggressive” music genres, such as hardcore punk, rock and heavy metal. It is primarily done to live music, although it can be done to recorded music.

Sounds like Black Friday at the WallyMart.

I went to the bookstore, waited until nobody was within a hundred feet of the customer service desk, then casually sauntered up, leaned in, and whispered to the guy in black framed “Elvis Costello” glasses, a vest, and skinny jeans that I was looking for Shades of Grey. He peered over his glasses and gave me a slow once over that I’m not sure I appreciated.

And then he pointed to a group of women huddling over copies of Shades of Grey, in a dark corner beside the cookbooks, twitching like junkies overdue for a fix. I pulled my coat up higher around my neck, adjusted my sunglasses, darted my eyes from side to side to make sure I didn’t see anybody from church, and approached the group like I was on a dark street corner asking for a dime bag.

(Not that I know what a dime bag is. I just heard it on The Wire.)

I have to admit it; just holding the book made me feel sexier. I wondered if maybe that would be enough. I could carry it around and I would get groove by association.

I opened it up to somewhere in the middle and my eyes froze to the page. I started gasping for air. I tried to look away, but it was like trying to tear your eyes away from that woman you saw in the grocery store who should have starred in the latest episode of Botox Gone Bad  – you just can’t.

My cheeks flamed three shades of embarrassed and the room started to spin a little. You would not believe what they were doing in this book! They were actually doing it with the lights on!

Game over.

I put the book down, said a prayer, and left.

Note: In order to change your life you actually have to change your life. Change isn’t found in doing the same things you’ve been doing. Change is found outside the comfort zone. Yes, this will be scary. Do it anyway. And if you don’t like what you find, try something else.

The Dreamer’s Search for Sexy

When I finally had the nerve to look at my friend again, I asked her to suggest something a little…well…..less intimidating, that preferably didn’t include lights, or accoutrements, or bending, or jogging in place, or hanging from the ceiling.

Oh yeah, and no poles. The last time I tried dancing around a pole (flashback to my partying days in college) my attempt to look sexy backfired. On the plus side, it was the moment I realized I would have a career in comedy. And for that, I am thankful.

Let’s face it, me trying to be sexy is a little like Lady Gaga trying to blend in at a Southern Baptist Women’s Conference. But reality never stopped me before, and it didn’t stop me now.

My friend suggested I wrap myself in Saran Wrap and surprise my husband. I said that would be a surprise – he would probably have a coronary at the sight of all that wasted plastic. And who on earth would wrap themselves in plastic? That just sounds uncomfortable. Should I buy a sexy dress to wear underneath?

“No,” she rolled her eyes. “You wrap yourself up naked. That’s what makes it sexy. Women have been doing it for years.”

I don’t know about you – but me naked isn’t exactly awe inspiring – I couldn’t imagine how it would get better squooshed up in plastic. But as usual, I figured ‘they’ knew something I didn’t. It turns out I was wrong. I built up the courage and I decided to do it. I was going to wrap myself in plastic and surprise my husband.

I know what you’re thinking – that’s a heck of a lot of Saran Wrap.

Note: It’s about finding what works for you. That’s the key. Don’t look for what works for your neighbor. Find your own way. The idea that fits YOU.

Enter in the Dreamer’s Self-Critic

I’ve never been one of those confident plus-sized women. Like many women out there, I suffer from low self-esteem.  Maybe you do too. Maybe you do, and you don’t even know it.

Just in case, here are some signs you have low self-esteem:

  • Your imaginary boyfriend in high school broke up with you because you were too smothering.
  • Your inner voice left you for someone more confident.
  • You don’t care what mean things others say about you because it’s not half as bad as what you say about yourself. Last night I was in bed thinking, I hate my body. I hate my hair. I even hate the way I breathe – so predictable – in and out, in and out.
  • When someone does say something nice about you, you don’t believe them. Somebody told me I looked good today, and all I could think was, Crap! What did I look like yesterday?  Last week I got a standing ovation and thought there was a fire.  I saw the shampoo ad that said Because You’re Worth It and sued them for false advertising.
  • You apologize for everything, even things that aren’t your fault. If I’m ever mugged by a purse snatcher, I’ll probably apologize that my wallet doesn’t have enough money in it.
  • You have a hard time saying no. I guess that’s why I was so popular in college.
  • Your business card says never mind.
  • You’re upset because your husband’s new girlfriend didn’t invite you to her birthday party.

Note: Many of us are carrying around negative beliefs about ourselves that simply aren’t true. The only one who can change what I think about me – is me. Is it time to rewrite your script?

Enter Wendy Wallet

Keynote speaker Kelly Swanson jokes that her mother keeps the photo that came with her wallet - Wendy Wallet

I told my mother, I think I suffer from low self-esteem. And she’s like Suffer? No you don’t. That’s actually one thing you’re good at! And stop being such a loser. You’re always copying your sister!

My mother thinks that I’m too vain. She says, Kelly, you always think everybody is watching you.  I’m like, Mom, I’m a keynote speaker!  She said she didn’t like my autobiography because I talked about myself too much.

My mother and I have had this kind of relationship ever since she chose to keep the picture that came with her wallet instead of mine. Apparently Mom loves Wendy Wallet more than me. I can hear it now:

  • Me: Mom, did you see me on TV yesterday? They were interviewing me about my new book.
  • Mom: (With a strained smile)  Yes. I saw. And did you have to wear your hair like that? Wendy Wallet would have worn her hair up. And she never would have put those shoes with that belt!

The other day I was over at Mom’s looking at all the framed photographs on top of the grand piano, when I realized that I didn’t recognize most of the people.

  • Me: Who are these people?  Dad’s side?
  • Mom: No. They came with the frames.
  • Me: Why don’t you put real pictures in here?
  • Mom: Because this family looks so much happier than ours.
  • Me: But what happens when you have company over and they ask who these people are?
  • Mom: I just tell them it’s my family.
  • Me: But this one actually says Made in China on it!
  • Mom: I tell them she’s adopted. We’re a very diverse family. (She smiles proudly)

Yes, it turns out my mother has an entire 8×10 family. Her perfect family. They don’t talk back. They wear the right shoes with the right belt. They are always there for her, smiling at her every word. If they tick her off, she just replaces them. There is no way I will ever live up to Wendy Wallet. So, I stopped trying.

Note: Trying to please those people in our lives who can’t be pleased is a waste of energy. Stop spending your life trying to get the approval of someone who will never (or may never know how to) give it.

Count Down To Sexy

I now had a plan to surprise my husband at the front door wearing only plastic wrap followed by two hours of uninterrupted bliss – one hour for the bliss, the other hour to unwrap all that plastic. (You think it takes a long time to unwrap your leftover casserole?!) Okay, so I really only scheduled fifteen minutes for the bliss, I was just trying to show off.

I had the perfect opportunity for my plan – Friday night when my son would be camping with his scout pack and my husband would be coming home from his first day at his new job. We would celebrate with Chablis and Saran. A delightful blend, if I do say so myself.

To get myself pumped up (I am a motivational speaker after all) I watched my favorite movie, Rudy. Works every time. And by the way, that scene where he finally runs onto the football field to play for Notre Dame took on a whole new meaning when I pictured him running onto the field naked wrapped in plastic wrap.

Game On

I have a college degree. I was in labor for like four days. I made it through the rigors of potty-training. I survived 467 episodes of Full House without hanging myself. But nothing could prepare me for the challenge of wrapping myself in Saran Wrap.

Ever wrestled with a box of cheap plastic wrap, where you can’t find where the piece starts, it won’t tear off evenly, the piece sticks to itself, and you can’t for the life of you get it to wrap around the top of that bowl? Multiply that experience by a hundred and you will be in my bedroom on the afternoon of my big surprise.

I tried wrapping myself from the feet up. Bad idea.  And then from the head down. Another bad idea. Side to side. No. Arms in. For gosh-sakes, no.  Arms out, wrapped separately.

Note to self: Arms do look thinner. Remember this for next high school reunion.

Legs together. Not good.  Look like mermaid but walk like pigeon. I tried the toga look – the strapless look – the halter top look – the miniskirt look – and finally settled on the Darn it –  just get $%&$  plastic on the *$&% body so we can get this *$&% surprise over with look.

Finally I decided I was wrapped to the best of my ability, mainly because I was out of plastic wrap. I prided myself on the cowboy boots –they really made the whole outfit pop. I took a picture of myself so I would always remember what I look like shrink-wrapped.

If that ever falls into the wrong hands…

I lit some candles for ambiance,  put on some mood music, propped myself up against the wall in the foyer practicing poses while I waited for my hubby to come home, and planned out the first chapter of my new book “How Plastic Wrap Saved My Marriage.”

Note: Great ideas always sound great in the beginning. Then somewhere in the middle of executing the idea you realize that this is going to be harder than you think. Maybe even harder than you can handle. Try anyway. This is where the learning happens. It’s in the hardship where you find out what you are really made of.

It’s a Wrap!

It didn’t exactly go the way I thought it would. Okay, it didn’t go anything like I thought it would. What already? Alright, it didn’t really go at all. I can’t go into all the details – it still stings a little.

Besides, there are just some images that you don’t want to get stuck in your head. Instead, I will just tell you what I learned from this whole endeavor:

  • Wrapping yourself in plastic is never as sexy as you think it will be. Trust me. Open your refrigerator, and find that biscuit dough you wrapped up in plastic and forgot about. Pick it up. See how the dough is all squishy and unrecognizable? Yep, that was exactly what my behind looked like wrapped in plastic.
  • Pee before you wrap. Enough said.
  • Don’t eat chili for lunch that afternoon – bad idea. Wrapped in plastic, you are now a human dutch oven. It won’t be pretty.
  • If you smell burning plastic, it’s because you stood too close to the candles you lit. Does not add to the ambiance.
  • If the doorbell rings, look out of the peep hole first, to make sure it’s not your son and his entire scout pack 16, and the leader, and his wife, and her grandmother who is visiting for a church revival – dropping off your son early because he decided he didn’t want to camp once he realized it would be dark, and he’s been afraid of the dark ever since you mixed up his Veggie Tales video with your Criminal Minds video.
  • If there’s a letter in your mailbox from the National Council of Boy Scouts – don’t read it. It will just hurt your feelings. And those big words like “restraining order” and “post-traumatic stress” are just their way of trying to scare you.
  • When your friend tells you don’t worry, this will all blow over – somebody else will do something embarrassing, and they will forget all about you – I have one word to say to that: YOUTUBE.
  • If you’re with a man who doesn’t think you’re sexy enough – forget him – send him to Wendy Wallet.

Final note: Yeah, I tried something that didn’t work. Big deal. Was it painful? You bet. Was it a mistake to try? NO. Making your dreams come true is about falling over and over again – and getting back up. Hopefully you’ll do it without exposing your fanny to Scout Pack 16. But success cannot exist without failure. And who knows, with failure sometimes comes a really funny story.

And that, my friends, is a wrap.

Kelly Swandon
You. Your story. Make an Impact.

  • You ladies ROCK! I’m glad you found this story funny. I did. :)

  • maria

    hilarious. i laughed so hard i scared my cats.

  • ImanWoods

    I laughed OUT LOUD the entire time I read this. I love how you turn a negotiate into a positive. I’m going to have to reread a few times to pick favorite chuckles. I can honestly say I will never look at Saran Wrap or Dutch ovens the same way again. Beautifully written. :)

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  • This made me snort water through my nose: “Try harder, Fred. Imagine you’re in a golf tournament and she’s your hole in one.” lol Change. Yeah. There’s that.

  • Now I have to try deep fried kale! And the lights on? I almost fell off my chair :) Congrats on surviving your interaction with plastic wrap. Sexy usually happens in my life purely by accident – any attempt to make it happen typically ends in something hilarious. Thank god my husband has a great sense of humor!

    And to all the women in the world – take a moment and celebrate our International Womens Day!