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On Stubbornly Defying Death in Really High Heels


I've been taking pole dancing classes. Because learning how to climb a fireman's pole in six-inch heels is absolutely a life skill I need. My first class was jaw-dropping, mainly because of how amazing the instructor's ass looked and how tiny her outfit was. Learning to do "sexy pushups" was questionable, but spinning around that pole made me grin like a loon. So I keep going back because I like fun things.

The seductive part feels weirdly artificial to me,* but I'm fascinated by the athleticism. Have you seen what those women can do? Sweet baby Buddha on a biscuit, people. The strength and flexibility and sheer bravery of hanging from a pole seven feet above the ground. It's terrifying. I can state this with absolute certainty because I accidentally signed up for the wrong time yesterday and ended up in an advanced class where they do things like climb to the top of the pole, take all their limbs off said pole, suspend from it by what I can only assume is witchcraft, and then LET GO AND DROP SIX FEET, CATCHING THEMSELVES WITH ONLY A KNEE OH MY GOD.

No, thanks. I'm fine down here on the ground.

* Things instructors yell in class to enforce the sultry: BE SEXIER! PLAY WITH YOUR SHIRT! DON'T LET YOUR ARMS HANG THERE LIKE DEAD FISH! Really? Playing with a roomy green t-shirt that says "Future Adult" is going to make me sexy? I don't believe you for a second, teacher, but your upper arm strength is intimidating so I'm game.

In last week's class, I had just climbed the pole for the first time and still had the oddly-placed bruises on my feet to show for it. And now I'm suddenly forced to mimic all these slender women who surgically removed their amygdala so risking death in bikini bottoms sounds like a good idea.

My amygdala is functioning at top volume, my cotton gym shorts say hell no, and my bruises would prefer not to come in contact with that pole ever again. I was all set to walk out, on grounds of concussion avoidance.

But then my stubbornness kicked in. Apparently, stubborn trumps fear. So I started climbing that pole like I had any idea what I was doing. Forcing my not-terribly-flexible-at-the-best-of-times-and-certainly-not-when-contemplating-death 33-year-old self to do the splits suspended from a pole attached only by the curve of my waist and an arm hooked over a leg was a triumph of the human spirit.

I triumphed, people. Me and that pole are war buddies.

Kicking fear in the balls apparently means you get your game back. The instructor had everyone doing something she called a dead man spiral. You jump into a spin holding your body perpendicular to the pole as you spin to the floor. It looks really effing cool. Most of the girls already knew how to do it, so she came over and showed me the basics. "Most people take three or four classes to get this one, but I think you've got this. Repeat after me, 'The dead man spiral is not that hard and I have totally got this shit.'" I dutifully parroted it back and then I stepped up to that pole and swung into a dead man spiral on the first try.


The insides of my thighs are sore, my right wrist is still red and the tops of my feet are bruised, but spinning around a metal death trap is the best. So is stubbornly refusing to walk out just because you're in over your head.


I couldn't find a video of the dead man spiral, so watch this instead. For the cool stuff, start at 1:10. That thing she does at 2:45? We learned the inverse version and I can almost do it. I mean, almost. You certainly wouldn't want to watch me, because it's not pretty. BUT STILL. TRIUMPH. OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT.