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Picture the scene. You have just got home from the studio, brimming with excitement and pride. You tried something new, and you nailed it. Or you came back to something you’ve always struggled with, and finally it fell into place. You showed that pole who’s in charge. You have photos and, by jingo, you are going to share them on the unholy trinity of social media – Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter, even though you don’t entirely understand Twitter.

I know some of my pole friends will like to see this, you think. Not least the girls who were in class this evening and encouraged me every step of the way. It would be nice to share with the girl who inspired me too, with her photos. Maybe someone will have some tips to help me improve it, or know the name of it? 

Ooh, I have some comments, you think. These will be fun! You think. But wait, what’s this? This is not what I was expecting!

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the most overused things people say on pole pics. 

Is this what you’re doing for a job now?

Is that what you’d say to someone posting photos of themselves doing yoga, or gymnastics, or karate, or flower arranging, or clay pigeon shooting? No. It’s what I’m doing for fun. It’s so much fun, I thought I’d share the fun with you. It looks fun doesn’t it? Admit it. You want to come too don’t you. But you’re scared in case someone asks if this is what you’re doing for a job now.

What you really mean:  I only know and understand pole dancing as something seedy. I’m slightly intimidated that you are showing me there’s many different sides to it, but I look forward to seeing how amazing it is.

You’ve got a pole in your front room… Do you have a Czech in your garage?

… Or one of many variations on the theme that Pole is also a description for a person from Poland. Well done for dragging up some knowledge of Eastern Europe from GCSE geography. Gold star for you.

What you really mean: I find pole dancing fascinating but I don’t know how to express that without saying something inappropriate. 

“That’s not a reverse elbow grip handspring ayesha with passe legs, it’s a reverse passe legs handspring ayesha with elbow grip” (or similar)

Everyone calls different moves different things. One poler’s gemini is another’s scorpio. Usually, a chair spin is a chair spin, a shoulder mount is a shoulder mount and a superman is a superman, but pretty much everything else is a free for all. Who cares what it’s “officially” called? As long as students know what you’re talking about then it doesn’t really matter. Plus, it’s really hard to change the name of something if you have called it something else for years. It just sounds petty to call someone out on what they call a move. It’s the pole equivalent of people who criticise people’s grammar and spelling on the internet.

Instead say: That’s interesting, we call it a reverse ayesha handspring elbow grip with passe legs. Isn’t it funny how we all call things by different names?

Is this what you’re doing to protect yourself from the recession?

Yes. Invert in a baggy white t shirt and some greying shorts and watch the gold roll in. 

What you really meanWow that looks great. You are really getting strong. I want to say something funny and condescending to make up for the fact that I’d like to do that but I never could.

Your leg should be flatter/arm should be higher/back should be more bent

Really? come on. I’m all for constructive criticism but there’s a way to go about it without totally pissing on someone’s bonfire. Chances are, we already know our limitations, particularly with flexibility but this may be the best we can do. Should we never try this, or any move that is personally challenging again, just because we are not perfect and the “ideal” presentation of this move is not yet possible for us? Of course not. 

Instead say: I love this move, it looks amazing when the leg is flat/arm is high/back is bent. Stretching my shoulders really helped me with this move.

Put some clothes on, you’ll catch cold

Yawn. Right let’s say it again shall we? In case you missed one of the other 40 thousand times it has already been said: You need your skin exposed to grip the pole. In order to be able to grip safely and securely, we must have our thighs, arms, legs, stomach and even back exposed. Most pole dancers don’t even notice this after a while as we learn that pole is not about what your body looks like it’s about what it can do. Just cut and paste this bit and keep it in your notes to make life easier over the rest of your pole career.

Instead say: You look great in not much clothing. Go you!

Ewwww look at your mucky feet!

Well pardon me, Monica Geller. Listen: We are dancers. We sweat. We are doing sport. We do it in bare feet. Sometimes we are here for hours. Even if your house is spotless, sooner or later if you walk about on bare floors for long enough your feet will be a bit discoloured. Sometimes we go out to the car to retrieve a CD/heels/water and we don’t bother to put on shoes, because we are badass. Busy studios are filled with classes, day and night. That’s a lot of feet on floors. Dance studios are working places, filled with hard work and inspiration. Have you never seen Fame? 

We’ve just nailed a new move, we are proud, excited, exhilarated. We are doing amazing things with our bodies. And all you can see are some slightly grubby feet? If all your have to say when your mate is defying gravity and doing amazing things they are proud of is that their feet aren’t spotless, this says more about you than it does about us, darlin. Jealous much?

Instead say: Looking good. You must work really hard to be able to achieve what you have. I’m going to bleach my floor now as I have nothing better to do.

I can do that

Fair enough, this is quite sweet. Someone wants to comment on your pic but doesn’t know what to say and doesn’t want to be rude. Just say it once, and not time and time OK? same goes for…

Won’t everything fall out of your pockets?

Yes I’m upside down. Well done. But thank you for not saying something offensive, like…

I’ve got a pole even bigger than that you can have a go on

If you genuinely do have a very high pole, a professional one from a reputable manufacturer, and it’s securely fitted in an appropriate space and you are inviting me to train on it, in a professional capacity, then great! If however you are talking about your penis then I don’t think so, titch.

Instead say: You look great doing that. Who knew pole was so challenging and yet rewarding? I promise not to say anything as offensive as…

You can do that on my pole

Oh you are so witty! You must have had to build an extension to your house for all the Perrier Awards for Comedy you have won. We’ve never heard that before. Your originality is dazzling, matched only by your irresistibility with such an invitation. I’ll be right over. Because who doesn’t want someone shoulder mounting on their genitalia?

Is there a pole dancer who hasn’t heard this at least 1,459,075 times? Men: Stop it. Just – don’t.

Instead say: I’m obviously a complete idiot.


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