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Coming Out of the Pole Dance Closet

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Lori Myers Pole DancingThere are many variations of pole dance. Some of us came from dance backgrounds, so those genres influence how we pole: ballet, lyrical, hip hop…and so on. Some of us embrace the sexy side. Some of us celebrate the physical strength required to perform advanced tricks. Some of us just enjoy the dance. There comes a point in each pole dancer’s life where you reveal to someone that you pole dance and they respond with a blank stare. How we reveal our supposedly salacious hobby is different for each person to which we "come out." How did you “out” yourself as a pole dancer to your friends and family (and co-workers)?

I personally started my journey as a pole dancer in December 2009 (I am coming up on my third anniversary as a proud pole dancer). One of my very good friends and I signed up for a taster class and never looked back. I actually don’t remember the exact conversation where I told my very religious mother that I started taking pole dance lessons. I do remember her trying to act supportive but she also wasn’t excited about my new past-time. Six months after I started taking classes, I was surprised when my mom (and two sisters) came in to take a class as well. My mom was impressed with the amount of strength it took to pole dance but I could tell the “stripper stigma” was still bothering her. At the end of class, my teacher encouraged me to perform a dance I had been working on for an upcoming party. The song? Darling Nikki (you know, the dirty Prince song, although I was using the Foo Fighters version). That didn’t go over well. To this day, my mom guardedly accepts my hobby. It doesn’t matter that I am now published in print magazines because of pole dance or that I now teach classes at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness. In her circles, she can’t proudly declare that her daughter makes money dancing around a stripper pole. However, I appreciate that she keeps her opinion to herself and lets me enjoy my pole time.

I “came out” a little more carefully to my boss. I worked for an attorney but we worked virtually so I was working out of his house a few days each week (with his wife and three teenage sons). I didn’t want anyone to worry that I was going to "dirty" the firm name, or be the stripper secretary who worked out of the boss’ house (sure…wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Initially, I would just say I was leaving for dance class. When I did finally reveal the type of dance, my boss took it pretty well. I recently switched jobs and now work for a larger firm in San Francisco. I have been slowly “coming out” to my co-workers as I feel comfortable with them. No one has had a negative response so far. In fact, I recently participated in a showcase and many are asking to see photos and video.

I kind of think that after being brought up in a religious household, I have always felt some small satisfaction in doing something considered a little naughty. I don’t always have a filter and feel like everyone should just accept me for who I am. Certainly, with pole dancing, I am the same way. Take it or leave it. Call me a stripper or don’t. Be impressed with the physical aspect of the sport, or the beautiful dance, or don’t. I don’t care. I pole dance for me anyway.

We would love to hear your “coming out” stories. Please leave a comment and tell us about it!

Photo credit: Lori Myers at Twirly Girls' Trick or Twirl Showcase. Photo by Liquidpulp Photography Nov 2012