We don’t give pole dancers enough credit for what they do. Honestly, selling confidence, fitness and sensuality is a hard job and doing it while using all the possible muscles in your body to support it is even harder. This was the conclusion I came to after attending a bachelorette party last week, whose activities included (but were definitely not limited to) taking a pole dancing class.
Pole dancing, for the uninitiated, ‘combines dance and acrobatics and is centred around and on a vertical pole. It can involve routines, or simply steps and technique training, strung together to make an elegant set that tests your body to the limit of its elasticity and strength. It sometimes gets a bad rap for only being seen, for example, in gentleman’s clubs and erotic performances, but after you take a lesson or two, you very quickly see that pole dancing is actually exercise, that contributes so much to your fitness and lacerates your core. Before taking a pole dancing class, I would have never thought that the stunts you see on P-Valley and Hustlers take a very specific form of athleticism –now I know better!
One of the first things they tell you at a lesson is that before you come, it is a better idea to not oil yourself, as it doesn’t give you a lot of grip for the pole. You’ll just slide off – which, because I forgot, I did several times. The thought of no lotion to an African woman is a hard pass. Another tip? You will most likely get bruises and get sore in places you didn’t know had muscle. Don’t sweat it – as you build your muscle and resistance, the scars won’t matter as much or be as visible. Another tip? Don’t think too much about whether you’re doing it right – what really matters is how you feel about what you’re doing.
We talk so much about sex and what is considered sexy, but we never explore all of the other stuff, about sensuality and feeling good, you know? What it takes to make you feel like you own the room, or wearing that dress that you know is going to get you what you want. What are the steps that come before the act?
Of course, everyone likes a confident person, and that always links to how attractive we find them, but what builds up that confidence? The instructor said that a lot of the time, people get caught up on technique (which obviously, is important, don’t break something or kick someone because you were feeling oh so good) but the thing you have to remember first is, if you don’t feel good, if you’re not believing the moves you’re doing, no one else will either. That’s a life mantra, if I ever heard one. Fake it till you make it, to make it.
After puffing and sweating for about an hour, the instructor gave us what she claims! was a simple routine, that the whole class was to present to each other. We definitely fell over each other laughing – it’s one class, after all, there’s only so much you can learn – but we all came away with a newfound respect for those who can climb up and down a pole without breaking a sweat, or their necks. And then there was the valuable lesson that sex isn’t just physical, and sensuality is an intangible energy that isn’t always directly portrayed in a lingerie ad – it’s also very much about how you feel going into it, how much you believe in it, and knowing what you enjoy.
The bridal shower had those gifts as well, the ones that have to be eaten off or are specifically targeted for the wedding night – but we had the establishing rules from the class already. It isn’t about the size of the boat, or the motion of the ocean – it’s about the confidence of the captain!