When my Pink Sister, Mojo Mentor, & owner of Martin & Lozano gallery Kandy Lozano invited me to come to Los Angeles to go to a pole dancing party at Sheila Kelley’s S Factor, I blushed. Me? Go pole dancing? I mean, I was twenty when I lost my virginity and I can still count the number of guys I’ve slept with on one hand. I mean, I’m just not that kind of girl. And I certainly don’t know how to move my body that way, all curvy and undulating and sexy-like. But the pole beckoned, and the chance to spend time with my Pink Sisters pushed me over the edge. So I drove all the way down from San Francisco to LA, just to get a little frisky with a pole.
Kandy bought me this slinky little Pink outfit I would never wear or buy for myself, and she made me promise I would wear it to our S Factor party. When I put it on, I stood in front of the mirror, surveying the parts of me that didn’t fit under the slinky outfit and stuck out in all the wrong places. Which is exactly why we discovered that there are no mirrors at S Factor. We women are way too hard on ourselves as it is. We don’t need lying mirrors to make it worse.
No, instead, the atmosphere at S Factor is warm, dark and inviting. Only red bulbs barely light the pole dancing studio. No glaring fluorescents or telltale mirrors threaten to rob us of our mojo. There is no observation area, no video camera, and, for the most part, we close our eyes while we gyrate, so we’re not even witnessing each other very much.
We start on the floor, learning to move all our parts very, very slowly, rotating our hips, feeling our curves, discovering our senses. We are encouraged to keep our hair down, so it brushes against our skin, rather than tying it away safely into ponytails, the way I am apt to do. My hair acts like a fan, falling over my face, so I can’t see the teacher, and I can’t see the other students. I am trapped within my own skin, and it feels a little uncomfortable in here.
But the music swells, and we are moving a little more now, raising both legs to the ceiling while doing “the flirt,” a move where we push our knees together, while one leg reaches for the sky and the other bends down flirtatiously. During each move, we are encouraged to “feel our fur,” running our hands through our hair and over our bodies. We are told we should have serious bedhead when we are done dancing. We are shy, but we loosen up as the two hours pass.
Finally, we are ready to stand up and learn a porn star walk. The teacher plays Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back, and we strut, very slowly, jutting out our hips, sticking our boobs forward, and running our hands up and down our bodies. Once we get it, we are ready- finally- for the poles that have been looming, beckoning. We are ready for our first “trick.”
We hold both hands up on the pole, while we stick our butts out and loop one ankle around the pole. Then we lean into the poll, lifting the leg that roots us to the ground. We then spin all the way down the pole, until we land on both feet and lift ourselves back up very slowly, butt first. We feel like strippers. We practice over and over, egging each other on. We are slowly losing our inhibitions, gradually getting in touch with our inner porn star. We are starting to groove.
Our teacher can tell. She asks us if we’re ready to learn a routine we can use at home. We won’t need a pole. All we will need is a wall. We nod, a bit nervously, but with a little more confidence as we imagine what the men in our lives will think when they watch us strut and straddle. We learn the routine. We practice over and over. And then, we’ve got it. We’re ready to graduate to super porn star status. Well, maybe not exactly, but we walk out different than we were when we walked in. We smile more broadly. We sway our hips just a little bit. We stick out our chests. We dare you to mess with us. We’re just starting to Own our Bodies, Own Sexuality, Own our Power.
We will go out to dinner when our pole dancing class is done, and we will not talk about it, but if you’re watching us, you will know what we’ve just done. There’s a radiance about us. We are Owning Pink. And everything has shifted.
Still spinning down the pole,
Wanna to see Sheila Kelley teaching you how to pole dance on Oprah? Click here. (The routine Sheila teaches Oprah's audience is the same routine we learned. Woo hoo! Own it, baby!)
Wanna see Teri Hatcher and Oprah show you some moves? Check this out:
And if you want to see real pole dancing, check this out.
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