March 17, 2009

Pole dancing? Czech please!

We've all met the occasional fanatic.

They come up to you with a fanatical glitter in their eye, grab you by the elbow, and proceed to enthuse at great length about some great book they've just read, or movie they've just seen, or exercise routine they've just started -- and you've simply got to see it!

In vain do you try to wriggle away, plead a headache, terminal disease, or other futile excuse. No, that won't do. You've simply got to see this.

With a name like Merry, I'm supposed to be the cheerful one around here. Even so, their very enthusiasm is so excessive that it turns me against them; for some reason they put the F.U. into effusive. Lately, I've been encountering fanatical pole dancers. Yikes!

I have no doubt that pole dancing is a great way to work the arms and core muscles. Just watching people spin around the pole upside down shows that. And sure, if it gets people working out, pole dancing classes sound fine.

[Text for the video-impaired: pole dancing fitness class.]

The blogger Rachel From North London defends pole dancing as a form of exercise. "Why? Have we been brainwashed and turned into Barbie? Not really, I say, it's just that it is completely excellent fun. Especially compared to the humourless, soul-less gym. We warm up, we practise ballet, yoga, strength-training moves. Then we get to access our inner showgirl. We swing on poles and kick our legs and toss our hair and feel gorgeous and go slightly bonkers whilst the Rolling Stones pound in the background."

I don't have a problem with that. What I find annoying is people who want me to watch pole dancing. For some reason, it's immensely popular. It's even being featured on shows like "America's Got Talent" and such.

I don't think that this sort of thing is half as much fun to watch as it is to do. I've never tried pole dancing, but it looks like the people doing the pole dancing really enjoy it. I have no doubt it's a great way to work the core muscles, but unless you're in a sleazy bar taking off your clothes while you're doing it, I don't think other people -- people who don't practice this form of exercise themselves -- really want to watch.

All right, so it's mildly amusing to watch pole dancing bloopers:

[Text for the video-impaired: what not to do when learning pole dance. Hint: next time, leave the mattress on the floor rather than propped up against the wall.]

On the plus side, there is some "pole dancing" that I can approve of.

[Text for the video-impaired: A Russian trio display an act that's a cross between dancing on a trampoline and on a balance beam. Very impressive.]

Am I being unduly critical of pole dancing? I don't think so. There are some forms of exercise that I would willingly watch -- ballet comes to mind -- but to me, pole dancing is not Art. It may be fun, it may provide a great workout, I'll take your word for it. Just don't ask me to watch it.


  1. I'm with you - pole dancing just does not flap my earlobes. Give me karate sparring any day.

    Now, if it featured guys, say, ummmm, no, pole dancing would be rather painful for them I reckon..... :)

  2. okay
    I can admit it.

    Ive been curious to try this.
    with girl friends.
    perhaps in the privacy of someones home & an instructor?

    & some wine?
    lottsa wine.

  3. I was invited to a pole dancing party a couple of weeks ago. She said "Come in tights and booty shorts." The whole thing lost it charm when I found out I had to pay 20 bucks to get into this girl's house for the party. Well, I got sick and couldn't go. It's the only time I'm glad I was sick.

  4. Ha...I used to have a friend (acquaintance?)...who did it for a living...and used to tell me how sore she was hard to fight back the snicker!

  5. I think I'd need a whole bottle of wine to allow even my friends to see me attempting pole dancing.

  6. The calories in all the liquor I would have to drink in order to do this would waaaayyyyy outweigh any calories I would burn while pole dancing, so for me it wouldn't be worth it.

    Plus there's no way I could do that without giggling the whole way through it!

  7. Let me see.......hmmmm. No, I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot....

  8. It's one of those things I'd be curious to try (maybe for a bachelorette party or something).

    But watching pole dancing (the exercise club kind, not the bar kind) seems a bit like watching yoga or something: just not interesting.

  9. I think it might be difficult to get past the feeling of pole collapse. However, if I were around a pole and a drink and friends, I could do it but not without going into hysterics.

  10. as someone who used to do this for a living, i must say ifyou fall, you WILL break something. i cracked my ribs.

  11. Watching exercise? Not for me - my husband spends an excruciating amount of time watching the Tour du France and keeps each year's Ironman TiVo'd just in case he needs a fix.

    I can appreciate the skill needed for pole dancing, but it falls in the same category as Cirque de Soleil-style performance for me. I'd stop to watch if I happened upon it, but wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out.

    I'd definitely try it, but would be bugged by the women in class who come to judge instead of give it their all.

  12. For a while, I wanted a fireman's pole in the house so I could skip the stairs and slide down from the second floor. That and the dive alarm from a submarine for a doorbell!

    Time to consider it again!

  13. Whether you're into it or not, the calories burned and the core strength it builds and the workout of pole dancing exercise isn't anything to shrug off. Just because an exercise isn't for someone doesn't mean it needs to be slammed. I personally never tried it just out of lack of opportunity.

    People are always wanting new and exciting ways to exercise, and this is just one option of many.

  14. Cher, I wasn't slamming the exercise itself. Rather, I was complaining about people who want me to watch it. I'm sure it's fun to do, or people wouldn't get so caught up in it. It ain't fun as a spectator sport.

    Tom? You should be ashamed of yourself. (Okay, truthfully? I'm kicking myself not to have thought of that one myself.)

  15. I can't even watch normal sports without becoming desperately bored. Even hockey, which I find somewhat amusing because people beat each other with sticks, can only hold my attention for 5 minutes tops. Not going to ever watch pole dancing. About as fascinating as weight lifting.

    I would be interested in learning how to pole dance though...

  16. ["the dive alarm from a submarine for a doorbell! " Dr. J? I think I could actually hear that over the vacuum cleaner!]

    I'm sure that there are people who can make any physical workout look like art--but I imagine watching your average pole dancing class would be like watching your friend's six year old's dance recital.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  17. I could see it being fun to do...but to just watch it? makes me feel all creepy just thinking about it. I admit that I'd try it if offered the chance, but I think it would be more for fun than fitness...thing is I'm just not that coordinated. I'd hurt myself for sure :)

  18. oh no Merry, wasn't meaning the "watching it" part, was more toward commenters with negatives on those that actualy do it. sitting around and just watching it just sounds like a home version of a fullclothed stripclub.. lol

  19. Uh. So women do this naked in strip clubs or do they wear just a tad of clothing?

  20. I don't want to watch, either. I love yoga, but I don't get my kicks (pun-sorry) sitting around and watching yoga videos on YouTube.
    I can understand the appeal of pole dancing classes (unless you are me, and you have visions of crashing down on your head, not unlike one of the videos posted here).
    I remember, when we were living in Los Angeles, there was a story on the news about "The new fitness craze! Crunch gym has striptease classes!" Everyone in the class, made up of mostly aspiring actors, was vamping shamelessly for the camera, and it was REALLY annoying. So, no, I wouldn't want to watch a pole dancing class.

  21. Brabara..... I'm giggling - is flapping earlobes perhaps a new kind of exercise? Now THAT I'd like to watch.

    Me? Listen that rythm thing always gets me, so I'm afraid pole dancing is out and I'm definitely not enough of a diva to want anyone watching me at anything like pole dancing. I don't know what happened to my inner show-girl, but I think she must have died somewhere along the line.

  22. How very odd!! I was just thinking about pole dancing on my commute this morning. Not thinking about TAKING UP pole dancing, just thinking about it in general. Because I was hanging onto a pole in the middle of the subway car, and the car suddenly lurched and swung me around a little bit, and I thought, golly, a subway entertainer could totally make a living if they took up subway car pole dancing. I do think it looks pretty stupid.

    They dance to the Rolling Stones???

  23. Yeah, I wondered about that part too, Melissa ;)

  24. I was really hoping that pole dancing would be one of those fads that would just crawl under the porch and die. But it's taken on a life of its own. When even my husband has no interest in watching pole dancing by ANYONE, that's a sure test that it's overrated.

    It's like belly dancing. The dance is interesting in theory, and it's empowering (I guess) for women by boosting their self-esteem. But really, you just look as silly with the sword on your head as you do swinging around like a monkey.

    And that video was HELL-ARIOUS! Watched it multiple times.

  25. Maybe, like Miz said, in my home/friend's home, with wine and an instructor. But I wouldn't want to watch it, and I wouldn't necessarily want people I didn't know watching ME.

    Besides, a big part of the point is to have fun and sex it up, right? But did you notice that in that first video all the women looked sort of detached and clinical? Creepy. (Then again, if I were in a class with strangers, *I'D* look detached and clinical, too. And again I come back to, if that's the case, then what's the point?)

    Now "exotic" dancing, in my own home (sans pole, b/c I don't have one, and I'm not installing one)? FUN. Also a great workout. (Seriously, if you do some of those moves properly, they will KILL your core - in a good way.) But still. In my own home.

  26. Putting the "f.u. into effusive"...priceless!

    I must remember that :-)

  27. Hmmm.. if I ever got thin and learned how to pole dance, my Hubby would never leave me be. I wouldn't mind seeing HIM pole dance - is that sexist? Besides, how would i explain it to the Tween? "Mommy put this pole in here so we can exercise. It's good for my upper arms." "But I think I saw it in some movie at my friends house and they didn't use it for exercising!" Yeah, I can hear my brain trying to figure that one out! Vee at

  28. Wouldn't it be funny if they had classes for men that were, like, chopping firewood?

    In other words, I have mixed feelings about watching or participating in pole dancing classes, but I'm glad others seem to enjoy them. (P.S. You just made me watch pole dancing! With your videos! Which, like you, I'm not so keen on.)

  29. Yipes! Sorry, tfh, I didn't think of that. Kinda of ironical, I suppose, since I hate to watch but I'm aiding and abetting other people watching... hmmmn.

  30. I've never seen the appeal of pole dancing as fitness (although I'd probably give it a shot if someone gave me a free class) but that may be because I'm possibly the only person in America who has never seen an actual pole dance. Yep. True story. Never ever. And since I don't watch movies or TV, not even there.

    I'm with you on this one Merry!

  31. i'd have to admit, this was one of the best posts of the day, and some of the comments made me 'LOL' at work here.

    and thank you Melissa. the mental pic of some old bag lady on the subway getting up and swinging on the pole in the car is going to haunt me now.. hahaha.

  32. We have even got a pole-dancing place (gym?) here in our neck of the woods. I'd love to know how many people go purely for the exercise. I reckon it would be mainly for hen's parties (with lots of drink). They have even advertised that they have a Personal Trainer! It could be fun to try but to watch - ewww! I certainly wouldn't want anyone watching me (especially when I land on my head!)

  33. I think it would probably be a whole lot of fun. But is watching any form of excercise fun on any level?

  34. Funny timing! My wife just got invited to a woman's birthday party. They were going to go to one of these places. She ended opting out due to a scheduling conflict... Could have worked out well for me, I suppose...

  35. I'd love to try pole dancing sometime [when I don't weigh twice what a normal pole dancer does].

    That middle video though..... ouch!

  36. I took a pole dancing class once (I arranged it for my friends birthday party) and it was SO MUCH FUN! I really want to take a 6-week course of it. The only thing preventing me from doing so is that I think my dad might be weirded out by the idea of me taking a pole dancing class. Hahaha.

  37. I would ask you to watch this one. The music is pants, but the dancing is beautiful actually.

    As a proper, hardcore exerciser myself I enjoy pole-dancing because it's a good laugh to do, but done right it is just like any other type of dancing and can be very elegant.

  38. Aarayan, that was indeed quite graceful.


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