Kristi Huff saw Siobhan Durham shopping in a store, and she knew.
The tattoos were a hint. The gauges in her ears, another clue.
But it was something about the way Durham carried herself that made Huff ask: What do you know about burlesque?
A lot, as it turned out.
Durham, a longtime dancer, was a fan of the fan dance, and soon, Durham was wielding a hot-glue gun and sequins to make her own striptease outfits and researching the best way to make homemade pasties.
On Friday night, both women and three other dancers will engage in a bit of va va voom when their troupe, Girlie Girl Burlesque, takes the stage for a holiday cabaret at The Roxy @ Bar Lexington.
The stage show is not, Huff is careful to point out, simply stripping.
Yes, clothes will be shed and things will shake and shimmy, but the performance is more about re-creating the era of the vaudevillian burlesque shows of the early 20th century.
In addition to the striptease — which results in just slightly less covering than you might see at the beach — the variety show will feature skits and sideshow acts, including a woman and her hula hoop.
The Girlie Girl group is the brainchild of Huff and a longtime friend, Rocky Borders. His character is Johnny Slivers, the emcee and "a bit of a scumbag," he said. She is "Kitty Van Dyne," the lead performer.
Some performers have come and gone in the two years that they have worked on the troupe. Some decided that it was not for them.
But Huff, who works as a retail manager, has found her passion.
"I hope we can eventually take it to cities all over," she said.
Huff said her love of vintage clothing began her pull toward burlesque. Plus, she said, she'd seen shows in other cities and thought it was time Lexington was exposed to the particular type of glamour that burlesque implies.
That would include red, red lips, dark lined eyes, and clothes easy to detach while stalking a stage. (The key, Huff said, is layering and timing so you can end just right.)
It might be best explained by the tongue-in-cheek tag line on Girlie Girl's Web site: "We put the a** back in classy!"
Durham, who performs under the name Aoife Vavoom, was an easy convert. As a child, she said, she loved the movie Gypsy, about the life of legendary burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee, and she "wanted to grow up to be an opera-singing stripper."
Burlesque queen, apparently, is pretty close.
A lifelong dancer, Durham says she enjoys every aspect of the performance. And she spends hours creating costumes.
Her husband, Cameron, enjoys it, too.
"I just think it's awesome," he said, after watching his wife work some feathered fans during a recent photo shoot.
"They just get to look at it," Durham said. "He gets to go home with it."