“Hey there, sexy.”
This is an example of a thing a lot of new girls expect me to say when they walk into class dressed in a bra and full makeup.
What I actually say: “Hi! I’m Cathy, welcome to intro to pole!”
What I want to say: “Honey, no. Just no. That’s not what we’re doing. Go put on a shirt.”
Reading this article (which yes, from two years ago, but it still really pissed me off) made me realize just how widespread the pole ignorance is out there. Also, hearing comments from first timers like, “I didn’t want to come to a class until I lost weight,” make me really wonder if people have the right idea about what pole classes are like… and if misinformation is scaring people away.
1. You need to look sexy
Why do people think they need to put on makeup to come to a workout class? Guys, you totally don’t. Especially if this is going to deter you from coming. If you like feeling glamorous for your pole class and that encourages you to show up or boosts your morale, by all means, throw on some lipstick and treat yourself to some cute workout clothes. But you totally don’t have to. Remember, it’s all girls… and no dollars are thrown for sexy outfits. Seriously, nobody cares.
2. Everybody wears a bra and underwear
Oy, again, stahp. Please don’t show up in a bikini top and boyshort underwear just because you think that’s what everybody’s going to be wearing. True, you will kind of look like a NOOB if you show up in bagging running shorts and a long sleeved shirt, but stripper attire is not going to fool anyone into believing you know what you’re doing. The best way to look smart and blend in: tight fitting (short) shorts and a tank. Show up in that and you’ll get instant respect no matter where you go. Now, what you want to wear to your 2nd and 3rd class and beyond… that’s up to you.
3. Pole classes will teach you how to strip
Yeah, no. Okay, well, being fair, it can vary from studio to studio.
Generally, pole classes fall into three categories:
Fitness classes are pretty much exclusively about using the pole to repeatedly kick your own ass. There’s not much sensuality or flow between moves, and you should come dressed to sweat.
Dance classes, while strenuous, will be a little more sensual. You’ll be more concerned with nailing moves and putting them together than burning calories. Girls might wear cute outfits because it helps them get in the mood and it’s fun to watch hotness in the mirror, but they’ll still be functional as far as moving and sticking to the pole. This is what my classes are like.
Stripper experience “classes” are a run a little more like parties: you’ll learn a few moves, but they’re generally less technically difficult (at least at first) and everything you do will be a little raunchier looking. You might also get to sip wine or champagne, take pictures, and generally goof around more than you could in a fitness or dance class. The purpose of these is less a workout or learning to move on the pole than excitement, novelty, and fun. This is really the only class I would recommend dressing up for, because it’s part of the experience (and makes for great pictures). EDC’s parties are a lot more like this than our classes.
But that being said, you can hardly say that any of these classes teach you how to be a stripper. You may come away with some exotic-esque dance moves, especially from “stripper experience” studio, but that’s still a long ways off from learning how to actually remove clothing, dance on customers, “buss it” (which I hear about in 2 Chainz songs a lot and still don’t know what it means), etc. If that’s what you want to learn, skip pole dance classes and go directly for exotic dance classes, which are a different thing.
4. Pole classes are for wussies who are scared of the gym
This is the truth: wimpy girls don’t make it past their first class, which will definitely involve sore muscles, bruises, and god forbid, hand blisters.
I will agree with the author of the article I read that it shouldn’t be used as a complete replacement for the gym, even if you’re taking pole fitness classes. You still need cardio, and in my experience, evenly building muscle strength with free weights or machines is a wonderful way to absolutely KILL IT on the pole, with less risk of injury.
But does that make it for wimps? Or non-athletic people? Hardly. In fact, it’s best suited for the insatiable fitness people because no matter how good you get, there’s going to be a new challenge. Hitting choppers? Cool story bro, learn it on your non-dominant side. Did that? Awesome–it’s time for aerials. Got that? Nice, now monkey climb gracefully and incorporate it into your choreo.
There’s a really no end to the challenges, both physical and mental. Sometimes (speaking for myself here) it’s so challenging that the only thing that keeps girls hanging in there is the fun of self expression part of it. And yes, a cute pair of shorts and favorite songs help too. It’s icing on the cake, but oh, how we’d miss that icing if it were never there.
5. Pole girls are catty
Confession: I was guilty of assuming this when I first started out. (BONUS MYTHBUST: not all your teachers are former strippers. Some started out with a dance background, like me, and thought pole might be fun. It was, and is, and here we are. BAM, myth busted).
Yes, experiences can vary from studio to studio. But, having been to a few, I can safely say that the girls at MOST studios are incredibly nice and supportive of one another.
If you think about, it, everybody’s a little bit vulnerable: we’re supposed to be looking amazing (a pole is sooo sexy, right? :P), but in reality, everything we’re trying to do is very difficult and likely looks terrible at first.
That makes for a lot of commiseration, laughing, encouragement (giving and receiving), and believe it or not, genuine connections and true friendships.
Pole girls are BAD in the best possible way. You can meet some of the coolest girls of your life in classes. Just don’t write them off!
Having trouble with girls at your studio? Honestly, change studios. People are the same everywhere, but a lot of time it’s the studio itself, the teachers, or the management that set a weird tone for classes. It’s probably not going to get better, so I would advise shopping around. You’ll find your fit!
Can you guys think of anything you thought about pole, pre-first-class, that turned out to be totally wrong? I remember thinking I was going to be inverting within a few weeks of my first class. Ha!
Sad news: no classes at all this week! EDC’s moving studios. But hopefully that will leave me some free time to pole at home and work on some new moves.