I like to think I keep up with the latest trends in “white girl workouts,” or as I call it “we took something that’s mildly active, promoted it as trendy, and charge $20 a class for you to try it” workouts. I’ve tried ballet barre, every single kind of yoga, yogalates, pilates, various kinds of cycling, zumba, you name it. In reality, I hate working out, and feeling like I’m doing something other than the elliptical gives me a sweet high that no amount of actual endorphins from an actual workout can give me.
Recently I read a blog post, or something on Pinterest (maybe it was something on Buzzfeed that described the class using only Zooey Deschanel .gifs) about a new aerobics class based on pole dancing that promised great toned arms. Always living in fear of inheriting my mom’s wing-like arm fat, I was interested right away. Or maybe I read that the class existed and in the back of my head I always thought I could become a stripper if all else failed. Either way, the internet told me the girls in Lululemon with thigh gaps were into something new, and I was powerless to resist lest I end up ostracized by the young professional hotties I like to include myself with.
In my usual manner, I researched the shit out of this stripperobics craze online for the next hour at work, texted my limited number of friends in my postgrad city to go with me, and googled the “best stripping class in Houston.” I picked the one with the highest ratings, which happened to be pretty close to my apartment, and prepaid the $27 for that night’s class.
None of my friends (okay, neither of them) were willing to go with me, so I decided to go by myself since I had already paid for the class. I pulled up to the dance studio in yoga pants, a tank top, and tennis shoes since I really didn’t know what to expect. I walked in to the place and a haggard-looking girl pointed me to the back room.
As it turns out, stripperobics hasn’t really caught on yet, even in a city as big as Houston. I walked into an honest to god, real life, made for “professionals” pole dancing class. I was already a little late, and the teacher rushed up behind me to shut the door, told me to take off my shoes, and take the last remaining pole. She was a pushy, “don’t be shy” kind of teacher that has no idea you might not have intended to actually take her class. The last remaining pole of the 12 in the room surrounded by mirrors was obviously in the front of the class, because my dad’s “Oh my god, my daughter is doing something slutty” spidey senses were tingling and he was trying to shame me from across the state through some sort of ancient form of cosmic karma.
The teacher then made us go around the room and introduce ourselves, which had to include our name, where we worked, how long we had been stripping, and our stage name. Not only was I the only non-stripper there, I was the only one NOT in volleyball shorts, a sports bra, and heels. After the other girls went around introducing themselves with names like “Big Thunder,” “Fiesta Sweat,” and “Triple Threat,” it got around to me, where I could finally explain that I didn’t strip for a living and I didn’t have a stage name. They laughed and blew it off, as if they had all been in my position at one point in time. Was I in denial? But seriously, I was not actually trying to become a stripper.
We started the class and the teacher was actually very nice and taught me the basics while the other girls were warming up. Basically, she told me not to try anything that took my feet off the ground for more than a second or two. We learned a routine of sorts, which involved about 30 seconds of walking around the pole and doing different dramatic poses while eye-boning imaginary clientele. “I could do this,” I thought, getting pretty confident and thinking about how this would definitely get me laid at some point, at the very least. The next part of the routine involved putting your hands up on the pole as high as possible, arching your back, and slowly letting yourself slide down to the floor. The bigger girl next to me did it without any trouble, so in my new “I could totes strip!” mindset, I went for it. My bony white girl hips slammed into the pole, letting out a horrible, clattering sound of hip bone coming into contact with a metal pole that rang out through the entire room.
Everyone stopped to stare at me, and a girl way in the back let out a howl of laughter, to which every other gal joined in. After what felt like an agonizing experience as a Maury guest, one of the strippers kindly informed me that I had fallen because my “p***y wasn’t fat enough for that shit,” which was met by more cackling from the rest of the class. Sensing my embarrassment, Fiesta Sweat leaned sideways towards me and said, “You know, I think you would do good where I work, girl.”
I knew she was trying to make me feel better, but I was crushed by the loss of my backup, backup, backup career and just wanted the class to end. I can’t ever be a stripper. I didn’t ever want to be, but I always liked the idea that I had the moves to do it if I really had to or wanted to. The class wrapped up soon after that, and I tried to leave as quickly as possible. Fiesta Sweat tracked me down in the parking lot and said it again, “I think you would stack some money at my place, mami. You look a lot different than the other girls. You could do a great teacher or school girl thing. Those creeps are into that. You just look so…clean.”
I told her thank you, but I really wasn’t interested. I drove back to my apartment, however, in great spirits. I may have been wrong about my last-resort career, but at least strippers think I look “clean.”
They really should have warned me about one thing, though. There’s really no other explanation for bruises on the sides and backs of your knees other than trying to learn how to swing around a pole. I had to wear pants or pantyhose to work for two weeks in the hot August weather, but strippers think I could pull off one hell of a school girl routine. So I’ve got that going for me. I learned a valuable lesson, too. I really don’t ever, ever, EVER want to be a stripper.