Big Girls Don't Cry...
My apologies to all of our readers, as I know that we have been failing at our weekly blog posts lately. Fernanda has been busy with family and friends visiting from Costa Rica, and I have been distracted by a BOY, and my best friend from Germany has been in town. But we are officially back in business now, and we promise we won't leave you all hanging again; as I’m sure it’s been hard to go on without us!
For those of you who don’t know… I started pole dancing about two years ago; for fun and exercise, not at a strip club for money. Although I would be lying if I said I haven’t considered putting my newfound skills to monetary use. (It’s always good to have something to fall back on in this day and age… Am I right?) Anyway, several of my friends have been begging me to write a post about my ironic experiences at pole. So I figured what the hell…today is the day! But before we get started on pole, I feel like I should give you a little background on my history with exercise.
To be completely honest here… Working out is my own personal version of hell! There. I said it. Going to the gym has always been my worst nightmare! You see, I can only fake that I enjoy physical activity for so long cause the truth is… I hate running! And I hate that I hate running. Runners just seem like superior people and I wish that I could join their ranks, but unfortunately my disdain for physical activity won’t allow it. Just incase you are wondering… SPORTS BRAS- they’re not comfortable. And I have to wear three. Yes, THREE! I have to triple bag it so tight that I can barely breath, just to keep these babies from bouncing me off the treadmill.
Expectations versus real life.
To make matters worse, every time I look around at the sea of fitness bimbos that are always at the L.A. gyms in their little matching workout outfits, with their hair and makeup perfectly done as if they’re going to prom… I want to slap them! I mean do they not realize how awful working out is? They must be aliens. These bitches exercise for hours with nothing more than a light sweat glistening across their completely stationary chest. While I, on the other hand, look like something that just crawled out of a slasher movie. Gasping for air, with mascara smeared all over my face, drenched in sweat down to my ass, and I don’t give a shit! Judge me all you want aliens. I’m just trying to survive the torture chamber that is the gym!
So how does a girl with an abnormal hatred of exercise become an avid pole dancer, you might ask? Well to put it bluntly…a breakup. You see, I started pole dancing at a place that I will call “StripFactor” for anonymity sake, after being dumped for a stripper named Jewel because I needed to prove to myself that I too can be sexy and flip upside-down on a pole in my underwear, just like my nemesis can! (I don’t have a major competition problem that dates all the way back to my preschool days at all!)
So I thought carpe freakin' diem Macee, and I registered for a pole class! Buying outfits and shoes like these for the journey...
I quickly grew to love my StripFactor class; which consisted of a fabulous plus-sized black girl who always ground up on us whilst wearing only a thong, our token super sexy Russian classmate, a young pretty actress (Surprise! This is L.A. after all and no group is complete without your stereotypical actress), and an older teacher in, I’m guessing her early 50’s, who danced with us as a form of stress relief to combat her long and exhausting days as an educator. That class became my workout heaven! I even signed a yearlong contract to keep dancing with them, which is where this story takes a turn. One night a few months ago, I randomly got an email saying that my pole studio in Encino was closing, and I would have to finish out the yearlong contract that I signed with StripFactor at their Beverly Hills pole studio, and that’s when my newfound nightmare with exercising began!
I tried to keep an open mind about dancing at this new studio, but after my first class I realized that I was once again trapped in workout hell! And I wouldn’t be free from this torture chamber for six months! So every Monday and Wednesday night I make the hour long trek into Beverly Hills, during rush hour, to attend a two hour pole class with nine of the most stereotypical fitness enthusiasts I have ever seen. All of the girls in my new pole class look like they just crawled out of the vegan version of the Real House Wives of Beverly Hills, but to make matters worse, instead of using this class time as a form of exercise and chance to get down and dirty in their underwear, like my old class did, these girls view "stripper time" as a form of emotional release and deep artistic expression. Give me a break!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about getting creative while you’re dancing and exploring the artistic expression of movement, whether it be in 9-inch stripper heels on a pole, or not. But the most common activity that now regularly occurs in my new pole dancing group is not bumping and grinding; it’s crying!!!
Let me take you through my last class for example. I leave my house at 5:00pm to drive across town for my pole class that starts at 6:00pm. Passing a new conveniently located pole studio that just opened on my street along the way. After fighting traffic for a solid 45 minutes, I begin to hunt for parking, which is a nightmare because they are building a new metro line right by the studio. I finally get lucky and find a one hour spot for my two hour class and cross my fingers that I don’t get towed because with no other parking spots in sight and the fact that StripFactor charges me a $20 dollar penalty fee for missing class if I give up and go home on top of what I’m already paying them monthly, I decided that risking a ticket was worth it out of principal. I make the 3 block trek to the pole studio, whilst carrying my giant heavy bag of pole clothes, shoes, and gear, and take a seat next to a group of girls that are talking about their latest chemical peels and favorite vegan restaurants. Class finally begins, and I awkwardly strip down to my underwear taking my place on the mat. The class starts with a pep talk about discovering our "erotic creatures" and tapping into our feminine beauty, which I don’t exactly buy into like the rest of the class. I mean, I’m here to workout and grind on a pole like a dirty stripper, not to discover my delicate and delicious femininity. We go though the hour-long workout with many more words of feminine encouragement, and some freestyle improv group dancing as the floor workout comes to an end. Then it’s on to pole time. I’m making a mental note that I have survived the first hour, and only have one more hour to go, when I discover that my least favorite teacher in training has joined the class, and I know that the rest of the evening has just taken a turn. Let’s call this teacher in training Whitney…
Whitney is clearly starving because you can see every bone in her body, and she is the kind of eco-friendly hipster who I’m sure reuses the same square of hemp toilet paper at least three times before flushing it down the john. Worst of all, she treats pole class like it’s some kind of life altering event where she’s curing cancer and saving the world all with her unique use of movement.
After 30 minutes of pole time we change into our sexy outfits, and get prepared to dance. This used to be my favorite part of class, but it has recently become the most dreaded part of my experience, as I now have to sit in rotation and watch as all 9 of my classmates have an emotional melt down, while they dance to a song of their choice.
I go first, dancing to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” while I bump and grind across the room and poles without shedding a single tear like a normal human. Then I settle into the audience, checking my phone, and wondering if there is any way I can sneak out before I have to spend the next 30 minutes watching my classmates dance and get critiqued, but there isn’t. So I watch as the other girls do their dances to the songs of their choice, including this bizarre Asian girl who always dances like it is a ballet to some Christian song about Jesus, as she cries, and I am left wondering for the 100th time how a devout Christian like herself ended up choosing pole dancing as an activity to honor God with her half-naked dance moves.
Just as I’m thinking that the class is about to end, and I start gathering my things to make a b-line for the door, I hear Whitney announce that she has decided that she would like to dance before we leave. Fuck Whitney! It’s already 8:05 PM. I have shit to do. And I was supposed to be out here five minutes ago! So I put my bag down and settle back in for Whitney’s dance, as she starts barking off instructions about how she wants the lights turned up higher, no applause, and 20 seconds of silence BEFORE they start playing her music! Typical Whitney!! Just Typical! Then I hear Whitney say…“and I would like to have Macee sit in the lap-dance chair.” Fuck. My. Life. Here we go. So I sit in the giant arm chair on stage, with Whitney a few feet away from me on the poles, and she starts making these animalistic “Huuh” sounds, as she begins to beat her chest and slap her body, during her 20 seconds of silence before the music begins. HHHHHHHUUUUUUHHHHHH!!! Hu uh…Hu uh!
I’m sitting there uncomfortably thinking, please Whitney, for the love of God keep your dancing to the poles and leave me alone over here to watch in peace. But of course no such luck! As Whitney’s music begins, she slowly starts to peel off her clothing and makes her way over to me in the lap dance chair. She mounts me in the chair, as she continues to grunt at me with her animal noises while she is two inches from my face, and that’s when I see the tears starting to build. Whitney starts openly weeping on me, as she continues to dance, eventually sliding down me onto the floor, where she sobs hysterically for the entire rest of the song.
Not to be a bitch, but incase you are wondering on a scale of 1 to 10 how much I love being embraced by a crying stranger… It’s 0. I’m not heartless, it’s just that I didn’t come from one of those touchy-feely let’s all sit around the dinner table and express our emotions kind of families. And also... I DON’T KNOW YOU WHITNEY!!
As Whitney lays on the ground right below my feet hysterically crying and making sounds of emotional release similar to what one might hear when a cat is dying, I’m just sitting there thinking, do I just leave her there? Do I try to comfort this half naked crying stranger? Shit like this didn’t go down in my old pole class! We just danced nasty and went on our way! But Whitney weeping on me and on the floor has become my regular Monday night occurrence. I guess I just have a face that looks like it should be cried on….
Every time that this happens I look around the room at my new fellow classmates, and they are all always moved to tears by the artistic expression of Whitney’s striptease. So I try to muster up a tear to fit in with the group, but all I can think is “Really?! You’re crying? You’re dancing to Taylor Swift for God 's sake!”
Then as always everyone becomes super concerned about the weeper. The teacher will eventually go down to the floor once the music stops, and put her hands on the crier telling her to let it all out…as she strokes her and says “That was beautiful." We are all so moved by your pain and bravery.” Inevitably several girls from the class will join her on the floor, touching her and encouraging her uncalled-for release of emotion.
Everyone is always so concerned about the weeper. But what about me? What about the girl who did not ask to be cried on and snorted at by a stranger? The girl who is still sitting quietly in the lap dance chair, completely uncomfortable, waiting for class to let out almost 30 minutes late when she has shit to do and an hour drive home?!! What about sympathy for me?!!
Listen, I’m an artist… I have a Masters in Acting, and I have witnessed and experienced my fair share of emotional releases during my acting days, but there is a time and place for that, and an exercise class aimed at teaching you how to be a stripper isn’t it! Take a lesson from the girls at Cheetahs… You don’t see them weeping half naked on the stage as men shove dollar bills into their G-strings! Come on!
And just in case you are wondering… I will be enduring this every Monday and Wednesday night from now until mid-July!