I take my first nervous steps onto the wooden floor. The air is thick with anticipation. I can feel every eye on me as I take my right hand and reach up to cup the cold hard steel. This being my first pole dancing recital I started to doubt myself. “How did I get here? Am I ready?”
When Max first suggested I take a pole dancing class I thought he was asking me to be a stripper. I was upset he even suggested it and dropped the idea immediately. Shortly after that, we attended an Erotic Arts Festival. At this event there were Aerial Artists like you would find Cirq de Sole. There were also a few pole studios showcasing their classes. Captivated, I watched these amazing students of all shapes and sizes putting their bodies in configurations I didn’t think possible. At that moment I realized I wanted to be a pole dancer.
I was able to find a Groupon for a local pole studio and decided I would try it. Attending my first class I was a bag of nerves. Thoughts plagued my mind as I cautiously walked into the studio. “These girls are probably all skinny and pretty. What if I’m too fat? What if no one likes me and I don’t fit in?” I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My First Steps
“Swoop and hook” I will always remember that frequently repeated quote our instructor used to say, explaining the very basic move that many tricks would be based off of. Walking up to the pole I thought “No way this will hold me, I’m going to lose my grip and fall right off”. The instructor then explained the differences in thickness between the different color poles. I was concerned with slipping off so I tried the thicker, yellow pole. Just as I was beginning to feel fatigue in my right arm, our instructor explained that we must practice this method on both sides as to not lead to Popeye arm. 45 minutes of class went by very quickly and soon I was saying goodbye. On the drive home I realized I could barely turn the wheel with my arms being so sore. I was anxious to get home to tell Max everything that had happened!
Within those first few months of pole fitness I became aware that there is a lot of overlapping terminology when referring to moves. Even instructors in the same studio might each have different names for the same move. Often times it was easier to just bring up a picture of the particular pose on your phone when trying to communicate it to an instructor or classmate.The world of pole fitness was exciting but also a bit overwhelming.
I had fallen in love with Pole. I couldn’t wait to go to class. Every week I was taking 3 to 4 classes, each one based on a different aspect of dance. Ballet to help with flexibility, dance hip hop to help with movement, and stilettos to help dancing with 8 inch heels! With each passing class I was becoming stronger and more flexible. Max enjoyed my new found flexibility in the bedroom.
Pole Word Vomit
Max will tell you, he’s heard quite enough of my pole talk. Whenever I come home from a class I talk his ear off. I yammer on about new tricks, new routines, how well my sticky grip works, everything! It’s just sort of a purge of excitement that I have to get out of my system. In Max’s words I would “pole vomit” using all sorts of terminology he didn’t understand. As I prattled on about a “Jasmine pose” or an “inside leg hook to Scorpio.” He would just sit calmly and nod his head “yes dear, but without seeing it in person I have no idea what you are talking about”
When I first started pole my instructor and other polers warned me that there will be bruises. These bruises, known as “pole kisses” really awakened my excitement. Each bruise was a trophy, displaying the dedication, sweat, tears, and frustration as I endured while conquering each move. I wanted to display my “pole kisses’ proudly but in public I would get worried looks. Even my doctor asked me privately if Max and I were “having any issues”. Accusations turned to relief as I explained the marks were from pole, and not from Max. Once people heard I was a pole dancer they typically responded “So you’re a stripper?” My favorite “pole reveal” was when I told my parents.
Just imagine me and Max sitting at the dinner table with my parents, having casual conversation. When my mother asked me what I had been up to lately I explained cautiously that I had taken up dancing. They poked and prodded trying to discern what kind of dancing their daughter had taken up. Meekly I responded “pole dancing”. After an awkward silence Max (ever so helpful) butted in with “Well that’s one fatherly accomplishment off the list, “keep daughter off the pole” he mimed crossing off a list item “fail”.
Fear of Commitment
As the weeks and months quickly passed I found my inner strength which helped me accomplish moves and techniques I could only fathom on that first day of pole. My whole body would fill with
pride when accomplishing a move that had taken me countless hours. I distinctly remember the first time that I could invert without help of an instructor. To know that I could lift my body up with my own strength was exhilarating. I felt on top of the world and then the rug got pulled out from beneath my stilettos.
One day my pole girls and I were warming up when our instructor stood up in front of class and said “In one month’s time there is going to be a student recital”. As she said these words she tacked the signup sheet to the front of the studio door. The next 45 minutes I experienced the whole gamut of emotions from excitement to fear. Once class let out we stood by the list. Who was going to be the first to sign up? My hand starts to shake as I add “Lilly” to the list.