Daddy Issues or How I Attempted to Learn Pole Dancing

When I go to a new town on vacation, I try to visit the most famous church, the oldest graveyard, and a strip club. I believe that’s how you get the feel of a town: How they worship their god, how they honor their dead, and how they treat the living. The first strip clubs I went to were in New Orleans. I was with three friends and one night the three ladies in the group decided we wanted to go to a male strip club. We went, it was okay, but the guys looked like they were phoning it in. So then we went to the “Live Orgy” place across the street. The dancer was apparently off duty from the orgy because she was visibly pregnant. (Years later I read a review of New Orleans’ strip clubs which included important things like stickiness level of the floor, strength of drink, and what would you say to the dancer. For “Live Orgy” the line was: “What’s your due date?”)

Being pretty disappointed, the one guy in our group said he would take us to a gentleman’s club. After taking care of the hefty cover charge, we entered a tropical themed club and located a table. As we ordered drinks and looked around. I started watching a woman who kinda reminded me of Magenta in “Rocky Horror” giving a group of “gentlemen” a table dance. Suddenly one of the “gentlemen” reached up and spanked her ass. HARD. My attention was now locked in and she kept dancing as these assholes were laughing when I saw a couple tears stream down her face. I.WAS.PISSED!! And while only in my 30s managed to go full “Karen” and demanded to speak to a manager. I told the manager what happened while the guy who brought us sunk so far into his chair that it was kinda incredible. The manager went to the table, said a few words, and I have no idea what he said but nothing stopped until the song ended and she left.

I have definitely had MUCH better strip club experiences since then. Gotta love Jumbo’s Clown Room! I had so many lap dances at my bachelorette party in Vegas that I got a permanent baby oil stain on my dress. When my husband’s rock band Angus Khan got a gig at “Crazy Girls” on my 40 th birthday, I had a blast! I even got to sit in the Princess Area. Fancy, huh? And in Romania, when the club ended and the dancers became full service and were trying to seduce a travel mate’s brother, I grabbed him in one arm and held the other out in a Heisman pose and barely escaped as the dancers grabbed at me and kissed me like the succubi in Dracula. I became a hero to his sister who bought me drinks the rest of the trip. So when my Dad died, I turned to my husband and said: “Now that Daddy’s gone I guess it’s time I got on the pole.”

I was on the mailing list for BeSpun a pole-dancing studio in Hollywood because long ago they used to have spin classes, which I love. I just never unsubscribed from their mailing list, you know because I am that lazy sometimes. So when an offer popped up take 4 intro classes for $69 I went for it. I’ve always dreamed of spinning around the pole to the Judas Priest’s version of “Green Manalishi” and I ain’t getting any younger. Plus I’ve gone a bit feral since the reopening of Los Angeles from the pandemic.

In retrospect I should have looked at some intro pole dancing videos on YouTube. I did not. I entered the lovely space of BeSpun on Sunset Boulevard and was kindly greeted by the instructor, Margarita. I had already looked her up on Instagram, she’s not only a pole dance champion but she’s also a structural engineer so I already knew she’s cool. As she started explaining things to me and my fellow students of the pole, a few things started to hit me. While I was interested in challenging myself and working on my upper body strength, I didn’t think about the landing on your knees position. Dude, my knees suck! (As you might recall from my knee pill adventure when Kelly Clarkson got her star.) I also didn’t think about the shoes, I suck at high heels. I definitely didn’t think about that I hate heights so much I get dizzy standing on a chair. And most importantly I didn’t think about the mirrors.

Margarita was fantastic and quite enthusiastic. But I had approached taking the class from the point of view of being a jackass which is what I am and what I have been for a very long time. I didn’t anticipate the sexy dance moves and when I looked in the mirror I saw my mother and I did not feel sexy – AT ALL. I started thinking how old was I when my mother was the age I am now. That made it worse. But Margarita’s enthusiasm was so infectious I just kept trying. Plus my motto is: Buy the ticket, take the ride. One of the other students had experience and was really helpful with telling me what knee pads to get while the other student was a bit more uncertain like me so I felt a bond there.

During the second class I started getting way more brave, I had the knees pads and I had tried practicing some moves when walking around my home. By the third class I was making actual decent progress and even merited a “whoa” from another instructor walking in. My other classmates were really excelling and it was a good feeling. By the fourth class Margarita showed us how to ‘unlock’ the pole to spin and DAMN that was fun!!! SO fun! I shared with Margarita some mild resentment that she had been holding out on me. I spun and spun until I felt like I was 9 years old and getting off The Zipper at the Southern New Mexico State Fair after too many gorditas.

At the end of class I told Margarita that I truly enjoyed myself but I think my pole- dancing career has come to an end. But I am so grateful I tried it. Thing is, I was bad. Really bad. And I bruised so much. Not cute bruises like when I was younger and did roller derby. More like grandma fell out of the wheelchair bruises. And when I tried to post a little video on TikTok I discovered I was the first to use the hashtag #PoleDancingOver50. Ugh! So my only regret was that I didn’t do it younger. I think whatever your age is that if you have always wanted to try it to go for it. There are so many different levels and ways to approach it. And if you’re lucky enough to go to BeSpun and have an instructor like Margarita, you are gonna have a really fun time. But the best part was when I really nailed this spin and I surprised my own damn self. Now that is a REALLY good feeling.

Introduction classes are starting now at BeSpun if you want to give it a whirl.


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