A Pole Parent Reminisces

I thought she said Polish dancing. Imagine my surprise. She said, “No, Pole dancing!” Imagine my horror. “Dream on, dream on, Teenage Queen”, I thought, the old Johnny Cash song running loudly  through my head. The next thing I know, there’s a pole in the living room. It looks just like the one Grandpa uses to hoist himself off the couch. Her friends tease her. They say, “you can’t do that”. She says, “I can, but I bet you can’t”. She hauls them down to the studio to prove it. The teasing stops. 

Curiosity becomes passion. There’s no stopping it now. “What do you mean we have to go to a Showcase?” In my head, I recall the scene from “Bridget Jones Returns,” the one where she’s sliding down the fireman’s pole. You know the one. There are some things a parent shouldn’t be forced be watch. To our surprise, we enjoy the performance. There’s artistry, fearlessness, and joy. Maybe there is more to this than we think. 

The first time I see the 6 inch heels, I think “Can’t they just find taller dancers?” Imagine Betty Spaghetti on stilts, hopefully without the rubber ankles. When there are no injuries, I breathe a little easier. 

Pole position used to mean something different. Now I learn about human flags and shoe-bangs, and how the human body can bend Gumby-like in ways that look painful. In car races, pole position means being number one in the race. The goals are the same. But here, they learn to spin while the world stands still, to fly from a fixed point, to dance with steel and stilettos to a tune that others may not always understand. It is a rare and breathtaking talent. And so we say, “Yes, our daughter is a pole dancer. We’re so proud”. People think we’re being sarcastic. Nothing could be further from the truth.