Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the un-sexy pole dancer

this past sabbath-day-of-rest, i was pole dancing. with a "learn to lap-dance" chaser. perhaps i can explain. apparently, pole dancing is the number one choice these days for bachelorette parties and it just so happens that my lovely friend A. is getting married, so what better way to prepare her for what's to come than do things like "pretend your shy" (i'll let you decide what that is on your own) and "ask for your tip" (something i can see coming in very handy). i found myself conflicted from the beginning. first there was the issue, if you remember from a previous post, that i hate heels and therefore don't have any. basically, i felt inadequate and unprepared without at least one pair of stilettos or plastic-heeled hooker boots (don't pretend you don't know what i'm talking about - just because they never leave the bedroom doesn't mean you or your loved one don't have any).

i settled on a new pair of no-heeled turquoise boots because they are cute. and who doesn't feel sexy in some slouch turquoise ankle boots? turns out, i don't. i'm not sure what i could have worn to feel like a sex pole dancer but it would have had to be a lot less. a lot. then there was the fact that every move was broken down into parts, so things that you might customarily do that you, at the very least, think are sexy, somehow became very unsexy-fied. sexy-less. sex-less.

and i couldn't help but feel conflicted. once, a lone time ago, i watched a pole dancing party on t.v. (an attempt to inform about the popularity of the phenomenon i suppose). i was incensed by the end. granted, i get incensed about the way women's sexuality is regularly portrayed on television and i get particularly incensed about the way in which it gets packaged and presented to us at so-called 'sex' parties. as if we are there to get an education about what our partners (if they are male) know, want, and like. pole dancing was eerily similar.

don't get me wrong. it was fun and it was an experience. the teacher was an athlete in the art of the pole dance and my jaw literally dropped when she did a little routine at our request. but it is based on the presumption that we can feel sexy, be sexy, as women primarily when we conform to men's desires. when we act naughty. shy. aggressive. there is something strange - beyond the notion that we would pay and not be paid for such work - about a group of women getting together and grinding over invisible partners in a big multiply poled room together, no?

i don't want to sound like a prude, or an anti-sex feminist, but i wonder why we as women can't get together and define the ways we would like to be sexy. and i don't mean by talking about our vaginas. or or maybe i do. i think the sense of displaced anxiety and general discomfort with ourselves (or perhaps, just myself) is about a refracted desire. a desire we have seen before but does not constitute our own. i don't mean this post to be biologically essentialist - as though desire is something men and women have and is not, itself, constructed by allowable acts and gendered arrangements. that is not my intent. my only point is that in the hierarchy of desires, women's is somehow other. undefined. easily usurped by the lure of the male-desire driven strip club.

as final thoughts, i would like to reiterate: that i'm glad i did it, i would like to come up with alternative desiring practices for the future of bachelorette parties, and i would like to wish all ya'll happy holidays. because every pre-christmas post should be about pole dancing (you'll be happy to know that i want to say something about "north pole dancing" but i won't because that would be lame. see how i protect you from myself dear blog reader?;).

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