Props to the Strippers, Cuz that Sh*t Is Hard

I have always wanted to take pole lessons and/or get a pole, but it was this lovely lady who finally got me to act on it.

She may be 300lbs but look at how confident she looks! (skip to 55 seconds for the goods) And how much fun she’s having! If a 330lb chick can navigate the pole somewhat gracefully can’t I? Sure! Wrong.

If you want to see how a non-300lb person might look doing a very beautiful and acrobatic pole dance, watch this one.

Pole dancing has always intrigued me not because I wanted to show off my cooter to hundreds of drunk men, but rather for the artistic and strength aspects. I used to be a ballerina so I’m into all of that slow beauty stuff. Plus, it looks fun. Well ladies and gents, it is not fun. And it is not easy.

I signed up for a drop-in basics class yesterday at some alternative fitness center. There were only two other girls in the class, but for the first 7 minutes I found myself alone in a room with this little VERY FIT woman who had an incredible deep voice. She knelt on the floor and put together a playlist, then she lit candles. Is it just me or was it getting intimate in there? I was scared. Then the other girls walked in wearing nothing but bras and little skimpy shorts and I was saved. I chose to wear little skimpy shorts with a little bit bigger and looser shorts over them so no one saw my bachina by accident and a sports bra with a tank over it because I am a chunk.

The instructor asked me what I do for exercise. I said basically nothing, but I used to dance. She got excited, I knew that was a mistake. Any time you tell any kind of exercise personnel that you used to dance they get overly ambitious and decide to push you way farther than someone who never exercises should. She started off the lesson with this song, which I just love. Creator by Santigold. Even now I want to get up and dance even though I’m basically paralyzed by exhaustion and pain.

We did some simple stretches using the pole and let me tell you, gravity pulling on my tubby body really did the job. I knew within the first minute that I was going to be in serious pain today. It felt good though. Then we did simple turns, which are surprisingly awkward feeling. They look so fluid, but once someone inserts a 16 foot pole into your personal space, everything gets a little weird. I can tell you that everything you see in pole dancing is the opposite of how it feels. It looks gorgeous, it hurts. It looks fluid, it feels awkward. It looks easy, it’s so complicated. It looks smooth- no, it’s totally not because your skin is literally held by the friction of it against the pole. You are able to stay in one place by relying on the pole to burn the hell out of your skin. Chub rub does not even cover it. You know when you’re drunk in a bar and there’s a metal structural pole and you try to be cute and swing on it but you fail because it’s not as smooth as you want it to be? Well the stripper pole is the same damn thing. You think it’s going to be easy and smooth but it’s not. I’m kind of surprised it didn’t take huge sheets right off my skin.

Because the other girls had done pole before and I caught on pretty quickly (thanks to years of dance memory) then we did tricks. Like holding yourself in certain positions after you climb up, or sliding/spinning down the pole, etc. I could not look at myself in the mirror. Thankfully there were luxurious curtains somewhat blocking it so I didn’t have to.

The other thing that you don’t realize is that sweat is the enemy. Wetness on the pole is the enemy. It makes everything 23 times harder. You need to be able to grip the pole and hold yourself up with that death grip. Otherwise you can fall flat on your knees which I did once. I don’t know how real strippers do it. Granted, I have never actually seen a real stripper, but I imagine things can get pretty slick…. especially if you’re NAKED.

I will probably go back, but even during the lesson I was thinking to myself “I don’t know how much I really like this.” But ballet didn’t feel amazing, god knows bleeding feet for years didn’t feel amazing, but it looked amazing, and that is what I was/am motivated by. Not to mention if I go back it will whip my literal and figurative ass into shape.

HOWEVER. I have very fragile skin and blood vessels to begin with….. so this is the result of yesterday:

You can’t really see it because of the shadow but there is also a large bruise developing on the top of my right foot from the pole. There is also a penis shaped bruise on the inside of my leg. And I broke a blood vessel right below the skin on my bicep as well.

I’m not going to lie, this was probably the sorest I’ve ever woken up in my entire life and I used to fall off horses. I had to take four Advil just so that I could walk around without limping. Someone punched me in the arm at work and I was like “NOOOOOOOOOOO you just killed me.” I explained why and he said, “Wait, so you dislocate but you decided taking a pole class was a good idea? You are officially the weirdest person ever.” And I think he might be right. It was interesting though, and strangely enough my shoulder didn’t dislocate severely or more than usual I think because most of my arm muscles were engaged and helping the ligaments with the weight. And your legs don’t really do any work so my hips were pretty fine. Apparently though, I have muscles on the sides of my body which I forgot exist until now.

One last thing- I think the class really screwed with my proprioception, because I walked around work today feeling like there was a pole in my peripheral vision that I could at any moment grab onto and swing myself around. Could be dangerous when drunk.

If you want to try a pole class, I think you should. But just know that it is going to hurt like f*ck.

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