Saturday, September 17, 2011
Things not to say to a fitness pole dancer
Confession: I kind of hate telling people I do pole. Of course I'm not ashamed! I mean I have this whole website and blog and twitter and everything! It's just, you know, people jump to conclusions about your career choices-- and more often, they have really stupid, not funny, heard-it-a-million-times-before jokes.
In case you know a poler, or would like to know a poler, or are a poler and would like to share this article with your more uncouth friends, here is my list of comments that you shouldn't make to pole dancers. You are not funny, we are not amused, let's move on.
"You take pole dancing classes? What, preparing for a career change? HA!"
Pole dancing is a sport in and of itself, separate from stripping. Some strippers are also pole dancers. Most are not. Some pole dancers are also strippers. Most are not. Incidentally, I've never had a student who was taking pole dance to prepare to audition as a stripper. I've had strippers as students, but never aspiring strippers. If you've ever been to a strip club, you know that pole skills are not, not, not at all required to work in one.
"Heheh, you said POLE, heheheh... *stupid penis euphemism*"
Oh wow, pole is a euphemism for penis? Really? Gee! Have you read Freud? EVERYTHING is a euphemism for dongs! After about one week of pole dancing, we really are sick of the penis jokes.
"Are you a stripper?"
Most people who are strippers don't like to talk about it. So unless they're "out," most people will say no whether it's true or not. Might as well not make an awkward situation. If you really wanna know, wait for them to volunteer the information-- or at least wait for better evidence before you go prying.
*watches someone perform superhuman feats of strength* "Wow! You're really FLEXIBLE!!"
OK, this is a legitimate compliment. In and of itself, it's not harmful. Here's my problem: I am NOT flexible. I am really, really strong. 9 out of 10 men recognize that when they see me dance. But there's always that 10th guy who can't recognize a strong woman for what she is. They'd rather covertly sexualize my skills by fantasizing about me putting my legs behind my head than admitting that they might not beat me in a fight. So, by all means, compliment someone on their flexibility if its appropriate. But if you can't admire a woman's strength, you're spectating at the wrong event.
"Yeah, if I was 100 pounds I'd be able to throw myself around like that, too!"
That's something akin to the "flexible" subversion, and likewise something of a compliment ("You're skinny!" I'll take it!). But it's similarly downplaying a woman's strength, while making light of your own weakness. Maybe you're not weak, but you're probably making the comment because you felt somewhat intimidated watching a woman perform and thinking to yourself, "Holy crap, I can't do that." I understand the bodyweight issue, but please understand that we're not this strong because we're skinny, we're this strong because we're strong.
"Shhhh! There are children present!"
Children pole dance now. Pole is not inherently sexual. Kids love poles. Watch them on a subway car, spinning around and trying to climb.
"Wanna come pole dance for me in my bedroom?"
Pick-up line FAIL. No sex for you.
I'd love to hear some more pet peeve comments from other polers. Please share!!
Pic from Maverick Entertainment.