(Originally published on October 20, 2014)
This is part three of what I'm deciding to call the Crash Course Trilogy - three situations where a friend of mine has brought me along to a class she's taking part in. Part one was a Zumba class with my mum. Part two was a salsa class with Jerida. This week, Sarah took me to The Pole Boutique, where she'd been taking pole dancing classes for the last few months. I wanted her to come with me for emotional support, but we couldn't find a beginner's class when we were both free. So Sarah had the fantastic idea to book a private lesson.
'Ask for Olivia,' she said to me. 'She's my instructor at the moment, she's the one I told about your situation. Or Rosie. She was my first instructor and she's a little firecracker, she'll give you tough love if you need it.'
'Is there anyone named Charli?' I asked.
'That's a shame. The last couple of classes I've taken have both had really hot instructors named Charli.'
'Oh yeah, I read about that. Sorry to disappoint you Mikey.'
'That's okay, I'm sure we can get their names legally changed...'
When I called up the place to ask for a private lesson, the girl on the phone sounded confused.
'So wait... You want to book a private lesson?'
'...And you're male?'
'Last time I checked.'
'Do you want a male instructor?'
'Do you have one?'
'A female's fine. I've been told to ask for Olivia or Rosie.' This was starting to feel like I was hiring an escort.
'Have you been told how much it costs?' Not helping.
'I sure have.'
'Alright, I'll have a chat to them both and see who can book you in for that time. We'll give you a call back.'
The next day, I got a call from a much less confused-sounding person.
'Hi Michael, this is Olivia from The Pole Boutique. I heard you'd like to book a private class?'
'Yes please. Weird question, is it okay if someone's there taking photos?'
'Oh, are you the guy Sarah was telling me about?'
'Yeah, that's fine. So we'll book it in for this Wednesday at three.'
'Sounds good, can't wait!'
I broke the news to Sarah over Facebook.
'All booked in. This Wednesday at three.'
'Yay! I'm so excited for pole!' she said.
Mustn't... make... jokes...
When Sarah and I walked into the studio on Wednesday, all I could see was a desk and a giant curtain blocking off view from the street. I guess they'd get a lot of gawkers who want to see women in hotpants dancing. Olivia greeted us and took us behind the curtain.There were two rows of poles, one along each wall, and a mirror facing each one. One pole at the end was being used by an incredibly toned woman who seemed to be working on a routine. She was playing some slow music from a speaker that was set up near her and getting into all sorts of crazy, gravity-defying poses. She was very good.
I got changed in the bathroom. I'd been told to wear shorts so that I could use my skin to grip the pole. But I only own two pairs of shorts and they both come down to my knees, so I wasn't sure how much help they'd be. When I got out, Olivia and Sarah were already waiting in their gear.
'Hi, I'll be teaching you a few tricks today. I'm Olivia.'
I wondered how she'd feel about me calling her Charli for the next hour. I wanted it to be a hilarious through-line for my trilogy. I'm weird like that. Olivia continued, pointing at the woman on the pole.
'And that girl in the corner is the owner of the studio. Her name's Carlie.'
'Were there any particular tricks you wanted to learn?'
'Not really, I don't know any tricks to begin with.'
'Well if you're doing this new experience thing, I'll give you a taste of a whole variety of tricks. That way you'll get the best idea of what it's about.' That was unusual to hear. Up until now, my friends and I were the only people who'd known about the challenge. This was the first time a person had been forewarned about it. It was nice.
'Good idea,' I said. 'Sarah, better get out the camera...'
So naturally, the first thing we went through was the warm-up Olivia took me through a series of weird stretches I'd never done before, a lot of which used the pole for support.
As the last part of the warm up, Olivia got me to grab onto the pole and tuck my knees up to my chest, then drop them and kick them almost above my head. Sarah gave me a little bottle of solution that was meant to make my hands sticky so I could grip the pole. I think the sweat on my hands melted it off, is that possible? I grabbed onto the pole and instantly slid down a few inches.
'Um, this isn't going to work,' I said. I tried washing my hands and reapplying the solution. Still slippery.
'Maybe try without the solution,' said Olivia and she grabbed a rag and spray bottle to wipe down the pole. For the rest of the afternoon, I had to use that rag to wipe down the pole (and my hands) so I could actually keep hold of it.
The Shoulder Tuck The first actual trick I did, it involves standing with your back against the pole and using your shoulder to roll yourself upwards into another trick.
|Disclaimer: Her legs went ALOT further back.|