by Monica Rouff
Student at Pole Fitness of SWFL, Bonita, FL
There seems to be a reoccurring line of questioning when people find out that I am a pole dancer. “Don’t you have a child?”, “What does your son think”, “Do you think that’s appropriate behavior as a mother?”, “You have a pole in your house? Where your child can see?”
I used to get frustrated and annoyed by these questions, but I realized that this wasn’t fair of me. After all, it was only a year ago that I probably would have asked the same questions of someone else in my situation. So, I take these questions as an opportunity to rid people of the mindset that pole dancing is “dirty” & something only to be seen in gentlemen’s clubs, and to educate people on the sport of pole dancing.
The first connection people make with pole dancing is stripping, which of course leads them to believe that it’s “dirty”. I have absolutely no problem at all with strippers, but, that is not at all what I do. So, I make sure to explain to them the difference. I explain that I do not remove my clothing and that the reason I wear such little clothing is because the more skin I have exposed, the more I stick to the pole, & the less likely I am to land on my head. I also explain that I have never performed in front of an audience, aside from the girls in pole dancing class of course. (Not that there is any wrong with performing).
Their next question is inevitably something along the lines of “But, it looks bad. What are you going to do when your son tells people you’re a stripper”? Well, my son is 6, and up until recently had never heard the word stripper. It wasn’t until people started making offhanded comments and jokes that he began wondering what the word meant. So, I explained to him the difference. People ask if I am worried about embarrassing him. My answer is a loud and resounding “Absolutely not”! I am fit, healthy, & in the best shape of my life! And my son is proud of all I can do. He loves to watch me invert & he even at times becomes my coach. “Mom, straighten your leg”, “Don’t fall”, “That was good mom, now try this move”. My son sees no difference in the feats that I perform and those of an acrobat you’d see in a Cirque Du Soleil performance.
I explain to people that I am not slinking around my house in miniskirts & grinding on the pole. I am working out. I am performing aerial acrobats…no different than what you see performed in the Olympics. Just, rather than horizontal, my pole is vertical. I wear no less clothing than ice skaters & gymnasts. What I, and the rest of the pole dancers out there do is nothing short of amazing, something that requires great skill, stamina, discipline, & strength.
And, if they still don’t get it, if they STILL insist on lecturing me on how “un-motherly” it all is, well than I just chalk it all up to their own ignorance & inability to see something in a new light, and I thank them for their opinion and move on. (I just want to again express that I am in no way down talking stripping or erotic dancing, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Again, it is just not what I do.)
What do you think? How do you answer such questions? What do your children think of what you do?