It’s hard out there for a pole dancer. On the one hand, we know our work ethic, scrappiness, and passion for dance makes us total catches, and we want to scream it from the rooftops. On the other hand, strip clubs have poles in them, so we know that “pole dancer” can be societal code for “stripper." There are so many myths about pole dancers that make it scary to tell anyone, least of all the people we want to date. (Fun fact: places where strip clubs do not have poles in them, or where very few exist at all, can totally have thriving pole communities.)
Still, when something's a big part of your life, you kind of have to tell people. (Just not people on Tinder, because yikes). I know a lot of people would assume this is asking for trouble, but for me, it’s the first test of whether someone can hang. If they do the Wiley Coyote tongue thing at a modest pole picture: mkay, probably not for me (and I would employ one of these epic shutdowns). But if they can maintain enough self control to at least pretend they're curious about pole as a sport, they've got my attention.
Still, the ignorance is there, and the fear and prejudice are very real. I was explaining to one dude how I worked as a pole instructor and sometimes did bachelorette parties, and he was like, "I'm sorry, but that's really slutty." And I was like, "Whaaaaaat." And he was like, "Dancing for a bunch of bachelors is what a stripper would do."
And then I had to explain that bachelorette parties are all women, and that "working" them means teaching dance moves in a classroom setting, and then there was an awkward silence.
So here's what I know after four years on the pole: a girl living that Dat Pole Lyfe requires a certain kind of partner: secure, supportive, and good at shoulder massages. But she's also got to have man or woman that understands certain things about her lifestyle, because misconceptions abound, big time.
So, here are a few thing your Future Potential Girlfriend Who Pole Dances would like you to understand. Take notes!
1. She’s really proud of those bruises
Your pole gal will get bruised a lot, so get good at hiding your horror and repulsion. We in the pole community call them pole "kisses" and consider them a sign of hard work, so just be cool and pass her the arnica gel.
2. She probably won't notice if she’s not wearing pants
We need skin for grip (skin sticks, cloth slips!), so booty shorts to us are like swimsuits for Olympic divers: a uniform. Don't be surprised if your girl wanders around the house between practice sessions in hot pants, and don't make it a sex thing.
PS. A gentle reminder may be necessary if she almost leaves the house that way. It's easy for us to forget!
3. If she wants to show you a trick, don’t make it about her body
As with the booty shorts, the sexy aspect of pole is something we stop noticing after repeated exposure. We love that you think we’re cute, but really, if we’re trying to show you this trick we worked on for four hours, don't fixate on body parts. Please. Just watch the trick. Exception: bicep appreciation is always welcome.
4. She desperately wants to teach you something
Let her do it. And make a big fuss over how hard it is. Because it’s SO HARD, right?
5. Pole is not a sex thing, unless it is, so stop trying to make that happen
You’ll know if we're trying to seduce you. Promise.
6. Don't expect us to know how to give lap dances
Learning pole and aerial tricks does not earn us our multifunctional stripper cards. It also doesn't mean we have any interest in sexy dancing! A quick trip to YouTube should fill you in on the many styles of pole: sporty or lyrical girls don't do much bumping and grinding, and even the slinky dancers may have no desire to cater to your personal dance preferences after hours.
7. But when it does come to sex stuff, brace yourself
It's a confidence thing.
8. Massages are not an "extra," they're a necessity
Speaking of sex, you now know your go-to foreplay move: shoulder rubs. Give early and often.
9. For the most part, we're totally normal girls
The more you can treat pole like any other interest, the happier and more comfortable we'll feel having you in our lives.
10. But if we do ever perform for you, please have this reaction:
Or this one:
Now go forth and be an excellent pole partner!
Images: MMG Fotografia/Flickr, Giphy