I touched on this subject for The Pole Dancing Shop before. You can read that post HERE. In two-plus years, I would say the sentiment appears to be about the same. Some women are very uncomfortable with men in their classes. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for men in the pole studio.
My first pole crush was Timber Brown. I saw him judge the California Pole Dance Championships in 2011. His performance was jaw-dropping....on freaking stage poles!! Part of why he also stands out in my mind (and is the only non-Twirly Girl -- I mean Twirly Boy -- I'm highlighting today) is because we had a lovely telephone conversation prior to me posting his blog interview. Most people, I just fire off an e-mail with some questions, they respond and we both go on our merry way. Timber wanted to chat on the phone and his story was very moving. So I will always remember that conversation. I didn't get to meet him in person until Pole Expo 2013. He was just as sweet in person as he was on the phone! If you missed Timber on America's Got Talent last year, make sure you keep an eye on him. He's going big places!
I believe the first man, other than Jimmy, to take classes at Twirly Girl may have been Maleko. Maleko (not his real name as his day job has him doing some pretty interesting internet security stuff) is probably also the only straight guy there (well, Andrew is straight but he only took one class, so it doesn't count!). I admit, at first I was wary. Straight dudes in the studio, huh. I bet he's there to pick up all the chicks! But I met Maleko and he is so nice and, although he's happy to show off his nicely toned booty, he was instantly comfortable to be around. I know he too has been battling some injuries but I hope to see him around the studio again soon.
Before I started working in San Francisco, I would take classes on Wednesday nights at Twirly Girls. One day, this kid shows up. He's mere days into poling and he's showing me advanced Chinese pole tricks on YouTube and telling me, I WANT TO LEARN THAT! Sure, kid, keep dreaming. Almost two years later, Patrick really is another of my favorite pole boys. He has been kicking ass and competed at Pole Expo in 2013. We were all really, really proud of him. His routine was strong and I was so impressed with how far he's come in such a short amount of time.
A couple of years ago, while at a Nadia Sharif workshop at Poletential, I see this guy doing ridiculous tricks with David C. Owen. He has this tiny muscular body and a tattoo blacking out his entire shoulder. Who is this man?! He was wearing a sweatshirt from Brass Ovaries so I assumed he was from Texas. He came to the bar night with the rest of the crowd and he was in a bunch of my photos. But I still was an asshole and never officially introduced myself. Fast forward to November of 2012. Nadia was back in town and I was helping to set up her schedule. Someone contacted me to set up a private lesson. It was Sean Michael -- the mystery man from the Poletential workshop! After his lesson, he hung out at Twirly Girls and has been with us ever since. Also one of my favorite people in the world, Sean Michael was my instructor for a short time (until my foot injury and his work obligations pulled us apart). He is one of the sweetest people I have ever met and I appreciate that he puts up with my "vegetarian before noon" jokes.
I have been with Twirly Girls for over four years. I help run the blog for the studio and feel like I generally have a finger on the pulse of what goes on in the studio. Working in San Francisco for a year kind of took that away from me. I was physically far from the studio and also mentally not connected as working in a job I disliked so much didn't leave much "extra" when I got home. One day I started seeing things on Facebook about this AJ guy. Who is AJ?! I checked my friends list. I know EVERYONE in the pole industry! How do I not know this AJ from Polecats in Manila?! Then I met him. He is someone you instantly adore. I now take his Dance Lab class on Saturdays at Twirly Girls. It is less about pole and more about learning contemporary dance. I have been watching my videos. I know I have so far to go but I do appreciate AJ's patience with me and how encouraging he is when my body doesn't get the moves. I also appreciate that he's always asking things like, how is your inverting coming along? Uh, I don't know because I haven't tried. I need that push to remind myself that at least half of what is holding me back is my own brain. I am so happy AJ is part of the Twirly Girls family.
I feel very lucky to have so many amazing men in my life. I could write another post about the famous pole men that I have met and also adore. But I thought that the men of Twirly Girls should (mostly) be the highlight of this post. They are part of my daily life and I wouldn't have it any other way.
|Sean Michael and AJ|
|Sean Michael, Timber and Robert|
|Sean Michael's winning performance at Kinetic Arts|
|Sean Michael's amazingly supportive parents -- I love them!|