Monday, October 7, 2013

October Blog Hop 2: The Sanitization of Pole

So last week, I participated in the October blog hop by saying, ooooh yeah I'm all over the "sexy" part of pole.  Woohoo!  Take yer shirt off, show me whatcha got!

Then I started reading other people's posts and leaving comments.

Then I felt like a total hypocrite.

Yes, I support dancers being sexy, I support myself being sexy, [whispers] but only in front of certain audiences.  I don't want my boss to find my Bringing Sexy Back Week video!  Sure, I want to put on my stripper heels and short-shorts, but, you know, not in front of my mom.  

Three years ago, my very conservative mom came to pole class with me.  You can read about that adventure in full HERE.  While she attempts to support me, and seemed to have fun in class, I can tell she is not running to her friends to proudly announce her daughter teaches pole dance (or has been published in print magazines on said subject, even though I think it is pretty effing cool). 

Last November's blog hop also talked about coming out of the pole dance closet, which really is touching upon the same subject.  How safe do you need to feel with someone before you tell them that you pole dance?  With certain people, you need it to sound a little more "clean" than with others.  I "came out" to one of my new bosses almost immediately when I started this job a year ago.  One of my other bosses still has no clue.  In her case, it's not that I don't think she can handle it...she's just a person who shares no personal information about herself so I do the same in return.  I have told a handful of my co-workers.  One co-worker, when I was still fairly new here, pranced by my desk and giggled that she knew my secret.  Apparently the recruiter who got me this job was telling people about my past-time.  I was actually really furious.  I felt like it was no one's business to tell anyone else what I did for fun.  At the same time, I'm supposed to be a loud and proud pole dancer, so who cares if she knows?  Anyone who Googles my name probably doesn't have to search long to find the Viking Warrior. 

Anyway, so the reason I feel like a hypocrite...  Yes, I'm a loud and proud pole dancer.  I don't generally care who knows what I do.  Yet I have two Facebook profiles.  When I first started blogging about pole dance and working with a social media company, I thought maybe this could become a business and I friended a lot of pole dancers on Facebook.  My real life friends and family were getting kind of lost in the shuffle.  I also posted a ton of pole dancing articles and photos.  It made some people uncomfortable.  So, I kicked most of them off my page.  Facebook is for fun.  I don't need to be judged by people who can't handle my pastime.  Then one day I found out my uncle had moved to another state.  No one ever bothered to tell me.  So I started up a second (illegal!!) Facebook profile.  I added family and friends (and some co-workers) who might not appreciate how busy my page is.  I call it my boring profile.  I really don't post a ton on that page, but I do also use it to participate in some HAES and fat acceptance groups.  The funny part is that, after a recent issue in the family, I kicked them all off that page too, so now I have only a few family members on either Facebook profile.  Oh well, at least I don't have to see a bunch of conservative stuff on my feed constantly.  I also realize that Facebook doesn't make real-life relationships.  So if my family had any interest in having a relationship with me, they would make an effort off of Facebook.  They don't (and neither do I), so I imagine I will never see most of these people again.   

Last year, I was working with some attorneys on a joint seminar for the local bar association.  We were using Drop Box to share documents.  I was also working on a potential pole council with some other dancers.  We were also using Drop Box.  Oh yes, I Drop Boxed pole documents to the attorneys, and it took me a LONG TIME to figure it out.  I realized one night that I couldn't find my pole documents and eventually figured out what happened.  I quickly moved them into the proper folder, thinking no one would have bothered to look at those documents.  At the next conference call with the attorneys (AND A JUDGE), someone says, so uh what about this pole dancing stuff...  Oh man, the cat is out of the bag.  I explained what I did for fun and they all laughed and we moved on.  That could have seriously gone sideways on me professionally, but they were all very good natured about it.  I felt like this was a sign that pole is becoming more accepted.  

I recently met with a woman who might have a business opportunity for me.  As I was leaving, I mentioned I teach a "dance class."  I froze even as the words left my mouth.  Wait!  I'm not ready to come out to this person yet!  She said, oh yeah I wanted to ask you what kind of dance you teach!  I'm thinking, she must have Googled me, because that question seemed to be in the chamber already.  I didn't hesitate:  I teach pole dance!  I was waiting for the uncomfortable silence, but she said, oh I took some classes in Colorado!  I was so relieved.  Then I was sad that I had to be relieved.  It does make me realize that there is still a stigma attached to the industry, so people make snap judgments.  But it almost made me realize that I don't want to work with people who aren't able to accept me as a whole person.  So I am actually relieved that the subject came up early in our relationship.  

Everyone has to decide for themselves when they are ready for others to know they pole dance.  I don't necessarily think that means that pole needs to be sanitized for the masses.  However, I do believe that as more people accept pole, and it becomes more mainstream, it may sanitize itself in the process. I'm still not sure how I feel about that. 

Are you careful with who you tell about pole dance and do you think it will have to be "sanitized" in order to go mainstream? 

Don't forget, this is a Blog Hop!  Read other blogs on this exact subject HERE.  


  1. I always say that I'm not in the closet about my pole hobby, I just choose not to advertise it.
    I work in a field that requires me to have a bit of a professional front. So I don't share much of my personal life with my clients and with only a few of my co workers. I always stress that I have a personal and a professional life.
    I find that you choose the people who share anything about yourself with. And you usually only share things that you feel they would be interested in. All of my friends know about my pole hobby. All of family knows too. But the people I'm close to I figure are required to listen about all my passions and hobbies. My co-workers often are not interested in the same things as me so I don't really share my pole, aerial, yoga and fitness related hobbies with them. I get kind of the glazed eyed reaction when I talk about that type of stuff.
    I'm actually pretty sure that most of them know, but really don't care at all.
    I also tend to keep my personal facebook page fairly neutral in general but that is also due to my profession and needing to have a professional social media front. AKA my personal facebook account is super boring and lame like 80% of the time. My pole page is my fun facebook outlet! :D

  2. I did (and do) cross contaminate. I pulled back on what type of Pics I post. I now always think, should this be public knowledge? I think about this as what I say and or do will affect my family. Not all parents are ok with the pole dance thing and will make comments to others that is heard by other children. So it is not just about you. That being said. I am me. All the crazy good fun time me. You do not have to look at me if you choose not to. Just like I can choose not to look at you.

  3. As I was born in Singapore, which is deemed more conservative country, I am not surprised people in my country will have a judgmental view on pole dancing. I always thought more liberal countries like US and Australia will be different, thus was quite surprised when I read your post.
    I do agree that we need to have a professional front. Face it, humans just have to wear different hats at the same time. Sometimes I feel that probably we think too much about how people will think about us that we kinda lose ourselves, which is kinda sad. Don't worry, you are not a hypocrite, cause' we all understand how it is like in the real world. At least we do see improvements given that the pole dancing circle is slowly growing :)

    1. I think everyone has to deal with it to some degree or another. People looooove to judge! ;-)