I Took a Pole Dancing Class (Once)
2013 was the year I was going to be more accepting of change. The year I was going to step – or push – myself out of the boxes that I had firmly placed myself inside for so very long. I started to run, to accessorize, to introduce myself, to put myself out there, and to say yes.
That’s how I ended up at a pole dancing class one Saturday night. And besides one Facebook post and one early morning conversation had — leaning against my kitchen counter, coffee in hand, two sets of big brown staring up at me that pinked my cheeks and left me uncharacteristically at a loss for words — I haven’t spoken of it since. What’s that all about? I’ll tell you.
The pole dancing class itself was fun, really fun. It was in a beautiful studio with wall-to-wall mirrors. We had fun accessories available to us like feather boas (who doesn’t love feather boas?) and champagne and snacks and water. Lots and lots of water — because it turns out that pole dancing is a fabulous workout.
Some people were great at it. Their arm and core strength coupled with lack of inhibition had them spinning — sometimes upside-down — before the end of the hour or so we that were there. My favorites were the unexpected ones — women who seemed a bit more reserved when we got to the class that shined once they were … on the pole, I guess?
The room was filled with all kinds of moms; fit moms and moms that hadn’t worked out in forever, moms that rock Saturday night stilettos on the regular and ones that hadn’t been out past dark in longer than they could remember. But for that night, we were all in the studio together. Sleek wood floors beneath our bare feet, giggles between our lips, and boas around our necks.
We each took our spot by our pole and followed our teacher in step-by-step directions for a fabulous (sexy) workout. So what’s wrong with that? And is it really any different than the Zumba or strength classes I take repeatedly today? Well yes, and here’s why.
The morning after class, Jason and I were catching up on our nights during the stolen moments before our kids woke up and our day began to circle around them. I traded my stories of boas and spins and poles for his stories of a movie and popcorn and bedtime.
I didn’t want to tell my girls what pole dancing really is, what we were emulating, why this exercise class was different than all other exercise classes.
My daughters, Kayli and Chloe, came into the kitchen at the same time; their hair and eyes and cheeks still sleepy — my favorite. They leaned against me and I ran my fingers through their locks, noting how they glittered in the morning sunlight. Jason and I kept talking until Chloe interrupted.
“Mom, what’s pole dancing?” She asked. And the way we were standing — with her body pressed against mine, her bare, pink-tipped toes touching my slippered ones — meant that she had to look up and I had to look down for us to face each other. And what I saw when I looked down at my girls’ wide eyes gave me pause.
I’ve never been one to shy away from conversations with my kids. I’ll answer what they ask and use “real terminology” instead of fluffy words. I want to have the privilege of being the one to tell them “things” and I want them to know they can trust my words and my answers.
And yet, in this case, that’s not what I did. The words I needed were stuck. I didn’t want to tell my girls what pole dancing really is, what we were emulating, why this exercise class was different than all other exercise classes.
So I didn’t go there. The clock ticked in our background as the four of us stood inside the silence. Finally, my husband said, “It’s a dance class for moms.” And the four of us giggled in the quiet way. This was silly but acceptable to them and it was enough of an answer; they went off to play.
I met Jason’s eyes in silent thanks. We (He) gave our girls what they were ready to hear and what we were ready to share and I think that was right for our family in that moment. But what it did mean, for me, is that if it was something that I was embarrassed to explain, it became something I was embarrassed to do and I haven’t been back. And I’m not 100% sure how I feel about that.
What do you think? Would you try pole dancing? What would you tell your kids about it?
Featured image via Flickr/Arturo de Albornoz