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Operation Bombshell: Striptease Lessons for Military Wives

Separated from their husbands by yearlong tours in Afghanistan, military wives are taking burlesque basic training to surprise their returning spouses and jumpstart their sex lives. Lily Burana, an exotic-dancer-turned-writer-turned-Army-wife who has endured her own deployment blues is the instructor. She is on a one-woman mission on a morale-boosting quest which she calls Operation Bombshell.

Every few weeks, Burana travels to some strip-mall-laced military town and offers 60-minute classes in basic burlesque. Fundamentals include the glove strip (pull four fingers with the teeth, bend, slip the tips under a foot and pull off the rest as you stand); the showgirl bounce (hands on hip, right foot forward, a slight dip at the knee); and proper boa tossing (like snapping a whip).

Though she knows a thing or two about removing her clothes to thrumming music, nothing much comes off in her classes except boas and gloves. Burana does not charge a fee for her classes, and schedules her classes at the wives' request.

“Military wives are the strongest women that I know,” she said. “It’s moving every 12 to 18 months. It’s multiple deployments. It’s raising your children without a spouse at home. It’s trying to work when you’re moving as much as you do. All kinds of things that are absolutely mind-bending.”

In her latest book, “I Love a Man in Uniform”, Burana describes her unlikely marriage in 2002 to a soldier who taught at West Point and her struggles to gain acceptance among Army wives and their husbands. She notes that West Point once prevented her from doing a book signing on campus because she had been a stripper. (Her husband recently retired from the academy as a lieutenant colonel.)

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Tags: marriage, military, sex
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