Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dancing on the Pole

And now the post about the pole-dancing. OK, so my kids--my son Drake, his girlfriend Montana, and their friends--really like it when I come out and party with them sometimes. I'm sure they wouldn't want me to join them every time, but once in a blue moon we get a little crazy. Last time I went out to their favorite club with them it was foam night, and it was wild. I wrote a snippet of conversation about that night and posted a photo of the foam fun here. The conversation on the phone with my son about our upcoming clubbing date went something like this:

Me: If I'm dancing with somebody this time, you're not to box block me. Just keep dancing as if it happens all the time.
Drake: If you're grinding with him I'll have to leave the room.
Me: Grinding? Grinding? I would never grind with a stranger on the dance floor right in front of you kids.
Drake: Pretty sure you were grinding last time. (Editorial note: He was kidding. He had better have been kidding.)
Me: I was not grinding with that man. That was just dancing. No box blocking.
Drake: Could have been grinding.
Me: You could go to hell for talking to your mother like that.
Drake: No grinding.
Me: Go to hell.

My babies. How I love them both....except when they act like their father.

Back to the club. Friday night was goth industrial night, which wasn't wild like foam night, but certainly took a turn I didn't expect. I looked through my closet and didn't see anything that even remotely shouted goth industrial, so I threw on one of my little black dresses and my tallest platforms and met the kids in the parking lot behind the club at about 12:30 so they could walk in with me because, you know, I was afraid I'd get hit on and grinded ground on by all those young goth industrialists.

The club looks like a 1950's-era diner from the outside, with a raised patio on the front, and industrial modern inside. Kind of retro futuristic. The bar is a big stainless steel rectangle that serves two rooms. The sunken dance floor has a wooden cage hanging from the ceiling in one corner. Girls get in the cage and dance, and they can rock it back and forth...like go go girls without the white boots. In spite of some encouragement, I have never danced in the cage. However, I admire the girls who do. Some of them strip down to black bras and boy shorts and dance with no apparent regard for the other dancers below. And nobody seems to pay much attention to them either. Hmmm. That doesn't sound like what I mean. I think I'll become clearer when I get to the pole.

After we got there I just followed the kids around like a puppy for a while hoping I wasn't the oldest person in the place we found a group of friends out on the patio and joined them. I only knew one of them*, but she was one I'd found crashed on my couch before back in my son's teen years, so we had some history. We shared a lovely reunion and a couple of drinks.

Then some of us girls couldn't resist the pound of the music and the fog and the lights, so we hit the dance floor. And I found out I wasn't the oldest person in the place because pretty soon I was dancing with the guy who was. I think we were making an attempt at disco dancing, but he had more enthusiasm than skill. Finally I'd had enough and I glanced at Montana as he spun me out. Within seconds she smoothly cut in and danced me back to our group. That girl is a keeper.

We danced for a while, drank and talked for a while, and then danced some more.  The same guy grabbed me again--he was nice, but I wasn't tapping that--and Montana did her thing again as soon as I mouthed "help me" to her. Finally we headed back to the bar again. As I stood there talking to Drake, the dancing guy came by to say goodbye.

Dancing Guy: (holds out his hand to me for a shake.) Hi, I'm Ron.
Me: (smiling and shaking his hand.) Nice to meet you.
Dancing Guy: (to Drake) Thanks for letting me dance with your woman. She's a good dancer.
Drake: (raising one eyebrow) You're welcome, but she's my mom.
Dancing Guy: (recovering from the shock with remarkable aplomb) Your mom! Oh, well then I hope you bring her back soon. (to me) I've been coming here...blah blah blah back when it was blah blah blah. I hope you come back  some Friday night so we can dance again.
Me: (thinking, This always happens. I get too friendly with the natives and then I have to find a new place to have fun, like that time a woman was humping my leg at karaoke and we never went back to that bar....) Sure I'll probably come back sometime. Bye now.

He left and Montana ran up and grabbed my hand. "Come with me. I want to show you something."

We ran off to the last room, which is to the side of the dance floor. It has a second bar that I've never seen tended and a stripper pole on a stainless steel platform surrounded by comfy couches.

She positioned me in front of the pole, leaped up on the stage, pulled her tight t-shirt dress up to her waist and climbed to the top of the pole, about 12 feet up. I watched in amazement as she did what can best be described as a gymnastics routine along the entire pole--not really dancing but a series of moves that required incredible strength and focus. I probably looked as delighted as I felt, although when she did the splits and hung upside down, I wanted to run up and get underneath in case I needed to catch her. It was amazing. I clapped and gave her a big hug when she finished and leaped off the little stage. Next her best friend in her tiny little pleated plaid skirt got up and did her routine, followed by a third young woman who even has her own pole at her house. I just stood there and watched in wonder.

OK, it probably sounds like I'm watching my son's girlfriend and her friends do a stripper routine in a public bar, but that's far from what they were doing. Yes, they're sexy young women and they know it. Good for them! More important, they're strong, talented, athletic, confident women who...I'm not sure how to say it. They made me awfully proud of how they represent their generation. They own it all.

See it's a totally different culture there than it would be at a strip club. Yes, there are people sitting on the couches watching, but some are also not watching. One guy was sleeping; others talking and not paying much attention. Around the club, other people are dancing and walking around not paying any attention to the girl on the pole. Nobody was ogling like they would in a strip club. One of the guys even got up there and did a routine. In case you haven't seen what this looks like, here's a video that shows some of the moves I saw Friday night. In fact, they've learned most of what they do from videos and lots of practice.

Finally Montana grabbed my hand again and said, "C'mon. It's your turn on the pole." I, of course, resisted. I was pretty sure nobody needed to see Mom get up there and work the pole. "Just let me show you a couple of moves," she pleaded. Then the other girls joined in. How could I refuse?

"I should probably wear a helmet and pads on my knees and elbows," I said.
They laughed but I was kind of serious about the helmet part. I stepped up on the platform and Montana showed me how to wrap my leg around the pole and position my foot so I could climb up. I looked around with concern for young, tender eyes when she hiked my dress up so my bare leg was in contact with the pole, but nobody looked shocked. I finally hauled myself up the pole a couple of inches a few feet, clinging with all the strength I had in my arms, legs, feet....and then Montana gave me a push and I was spinning fast, head back, laughing. It hurt but it was exhilarating at the same time. They all clapped and cheered when I finally slowed down and stepped back on the ground, dizzy but triumphant. Montana showed me another move or two, and I "worked the pole" for about two more minutes until I ran out of strength. They all clapped and cheered for me some more....and one of them asked me not to tell her mother she does this. I felt sorry for her mom that she would probably never see what I was privileged to see that night.

I did basically nothing and it took all the strength I had, so I can't even imagine how they do what they do up there. If I were a bad guy, I wouldn't want to meet any of these girls in a dark alley. They could kick some ass. And they told me sometimes strippers from a local gentleman's club come in to dance, and they're better than the pros. The strippers try to get them to come and work at their club, but that's not why these girls do this. They're in it for themselves, for the challenge, and their boyfriends or husbands can love them for it, but it's not really to turn them on. (Sorry, guys.)

As I said above, the girls are super strong and fit. Not so much Mom. I was fine the next morning except for a big bruise on the top of my right foot, one the size of my hand on the back of my right thigh, and a few along my arms. But by the time I got home from porkfest that night, I could barely move. Every muscle in my arms and chest had tightened up in protest, as had my abs and the backs of my legs. This is not like riding a bike. Sunday morning I almost had to cancel my ride because I wasn't sure my arms could hold me on my bars. What a weenie.

I texted Montana to thank her for leaving me rum cake and to tell her I was hurting something awful. She said I just needed to spend more time dancing on the pole. I think probably not, but it was fun. And now I can say I've done that, although it's not the same as putting on a private show. Although for the right person ....well, that's probably another post.

Somebody once asked me what was on my bucket list and I really couldn't answer. I usually only know something was on the list after it happens--like flying an airplane or making milk licker or dancing the pole. One of my theater friends said I should put it on my next audition form as one of my skills: playing piano and guitar, singing, pole-dancing.....Coming soon to a theater or night club near you!

* I love the reaction when my son introduces me to his friends as his mom. Most of them can't imagine their parents clubbing with them, but that's a story I've heard from my kids' friends for years. Their parents don't talk to them or want to be involved in their lives other than to tell them how to do everything better. But that's a topic for another post. It's so rare for a mom to come there they go all out to show me a good time.


  1. What a great story and experience! Your story is way better than I had imagined it. You are a gifted writer and have added a new term to my vocabulary "box block". Have you seen the movie Hall Pass? If not,you should watch it with a couple friends who laugh easily. I learned a couple new terms from that movie also.

  2. I haven't seen Hall Pass, but I'll look for it. My kids--both my own and the ones I teach--try to keep me up to date on current slang, but I'm hopeless. I'll probably write about that in the future.

    I think I made up "box block" and then found out other people had already said it. Or maybe they copied me....I'm sure that was it.

  3. Hah! I get what you say about it being a sport/art form for lots of gals. Bill, Ellie and Grace had the luck to see, on a train in Chicago, a spontaneous pole dance by a group of women, to --of all things!--"Get Low." ;-). Those young women took that obscene, sexist song, and that questionable "dancing"and OWNED them. It wasn't derogatory when they'd finished; it was an in your face statement!

  4. I always knew you had the heart of a pole dancer. ;-)

  5. A spontaneous pole dance on a train! That's going on my bucket list. I need to practice. Thanks for the idea, Becky.

    Are you writing a song about me, Lori?

  6. I LOVE this story. Seriously love it.