To say that I have disparate hobbies would be a bit of an understatement. On one hand there is a version of myself who bakes and goes to ballet class and crochets- mostly so I can make leg warmers for said ballet class and partly so I can attempt to make this scarf. On the other hand however, there is a Lydia who invests in tiny shorts and a growing collection of sports bras because what else would I wear to pole class, right?
So as I mentioned before, I recently started working at a gym in Weho and I have access to all of their classes. Because of my end-of-the-year-acting slump, I’ve kind of been in this “try anything” mode- not drugs, just activities- so I said to myself, “hey I think I’m going to try this pole dancing class, because why not.” My justifications were that it might be fun, it’s great for your upper body, and in the most nonsensical corners of my mind I foresaw a Flashdance remake requiring a new crop of mediocre strippers who don’t actually strip. If that ever happens, I’m your girl, Paramount. #icanonlyhope #nonudityclause
So there are a few problems with this scenario, a large one being that when one thinks of pole dancing, one probably imagines lithe, sensual women doing things that are alluring and impressive…. so pretty much not me, ever. I’m really not overtly sexy- like I make Jess on New Girl look like Jessica Rabbit, so before my first class I just mentally prepared myself for a lot of awkwardness. This of course would be intensified by the fact that the studio pole class takes place in has glass walls and is surrounded by the weight machines. This encourages our skeezy members who are too cheap to pay to go to the Body Shop down the street to wander upstairs around nine and openly gawk for about an hour. Like, they don’t even try to hide the fact that they’re just watching our class rather than working out, and even if they were, no one needs to do that many leg curls.
First class: I pretty much looked ridiculous. I tripped, because yes, you can trip going around a pole. I couldn’t climb, I couldn’t invert, my spins were beyond repair. It was an indisputable disaster. On top of that, there were other girls in class who made me feel like maybe I should tip them. Allegedly they’ve only been dancing recreationally for a few months but I don’t believe them. They’re just too good and also they own real stripper shoes. These girls are pole-fessionals, I don’t care what anybody says.
The next day, my arms were killing me and I uttered words I never thought I would say: “I have so much respect for strippers now.” One of my coworkers questioned this, but I’m standing by it. Pole dancing correctly is a task.
It’s been a couple months, and to my extreme surprise, I’ve gotten a lot better. Granted, I’ve had a moment of “Wait, how good do I want to be at this?” and even though I’ve been advised that dancing as a profession would free up a lot of my time and be far more lucrative, I’m sticking to my hourly servitude for the time being. So what’s the problem?
Well, in my very short pole career I’ve learned that you should not try new and/or difficult things at the end of class because your arms and your core are weak and maybe it’s just time for you to go home while you’re ahead. My dumb ass however, thought I was cool and I could try a human flagpole to an invert to an outside leg-hang to a martini. If you’re attempting this, you have to do it all rather fast because if you stop in the middle you’ll lose momentum and it won’t work. So I’m halfway through this trick and then somehow my hand slipped and I fell, and I’m pretty sure my head bounced… and I got a concussion.
This is my second concussion- the first one involved a washing machine- and it has been much, much worse than the first. The day after my accident (during the limited time I wasn’t trying to sleep off my miasma) I endured blurred vision, crazy headaches, nausea, swelling, disorientation- the whole nine yards. This happened a week ago and I still have bruises on my face, bright lights and loud noises pretty much ruin my day and I get these really intense, sporadic headaches. By the way, explaining this to people has been really fun, aka ri-damn-diculous because they all think it’s far more amusing than traumatic. My mom laughed for about five minutes before asking if I was alright. Le sigh.
Now that scene in The Players Club when Lisa Raye stiffly and reluctantly does her first dance unfortunately has so much more meaning to me. She should have just gotten a real job when she had the chance! Sometimes pole dancing leads to bad things and both of us should have been smart enough to heed the warnings. So that happened. I’ll just be over here icing my forehead while I leave you to mull over my epic fail in sexiness, coordination and good judgment.