True confessions: My daughter is a pole dancer

My daughter is a pole dancer.

There, I’ve said it. It’s out in the open.

But before you reach for the smelling salts, let me take you out of the 20th century strip club and into the 21st century exercise class. Today’s pole dancing is not about having paper money slipped into tight-fitting clothing by well-meaning strangers. It’s about strength, fitness, and being able to do the Vomitron without, well, vomiting!

Getting into the Vomitron. Best executed on an empty stomach.

I have to admit, my first thoughts were like yours: Where did we go wrong?! But after visiting the Pole Body and Soul Blaxland studio to see Ally’s class perform at the end of their first term (and this is their second, well-equipped studio in the Blue Mountains, the first being in Springwood – who knew?), I realised just what a fantastic activity pole dancing – or pole exercise, if you prefer – is.

First of all, you need strong abs. Really strong abs. And then you need really strong arms – because you have to pull your entire weight up off the floor to hang from an itty bitty pole! By your hands. And then by your crossed over ankles. And then by the crook of your knee. Upside down. Yes – UPSIDE DOWN! Just in case you didn’t get it the first time.

Please don’t try this at home.

Now, as a mother, and one who sees the freak accident about to occur when my children are simply walking down the street, watching my geeky, totally non-athletic daughter turn upside down and then hang there – Look Ma, no hands! – was about as much as I could bear. I mean, seriously, what’s wrong with some simple calisthenics? Preferably on the floor.

I grew up that afternoon. I stopped fretting every time she went near the practice pole in our house (yes, we have become those parents). Instead of reaching for cushions from the lounge and spreading them around the floor underneath her, then listening from the next room for the inevitable crash, I learned to trust that my ‘little girl’ (who is actually in her early 20s) wasn’t so little anymore. That she is a lot more physically capable than either of us ever thought. And strong! After attempting to pull myself up onto the pole, just six inches (in Oldspeak) off the ground, I realised that I am not yet ready for my first pole exercise class. Not by a long shot!

Although I could be tempted. Ally tells me that the classes she attends are all female, with ages ranging from 18 to 50 plus, and include singles, marrieds, mothers, homemakers, professionals and business women – not the kind of mix you’d expect. She has found that everyone’s really ‘sisterhood’ and supportive and says that it’s been good for her as a way to meet and make friends with other women in a ‘safe’ environment – and with no judgement on stomach fat or ‘wiggly bits’!

So parents, if your daughter starts talking about going to a pole class, don’t freak out, be proud. Be proud that she cares enough about her body to want to be strong and fit. This is not the sort of class which will get her a job in a red light district. This is the sort of class which will help prevent her succumbing to the side effects of our sedentary 21st century lifestyle. It’s even being touted for inclusion as an Olympic sport!

And once you see what she’s able to achieve in her class, perhaps you might even consider enrolling in one yourself?

I did, but I have a book to read. On the couch …

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