By Danielle Giannantonio
“Is he gay?” That’s always the first question. When people find out that there is, often times, a man in my pole classes, their first concern is if he's gay. Most of the time the answer is yes, but it's not like I've ever actually asked. It shouldn't matter. It certainly doesn't matter to me. In fact, when I was first asked to give my opinion on having men in my class, I was worried. I was worried that I didn't have enough of an opinion about the topic.
I hadn't ever put much thought into it. And with that realization, I immediately felt proud of myself for my forward thinking. And I felt brave for stretching and bending and strutting around, barely clothed, in a co-ed class. But don't get me wrong... it's not like pole dancing isn't sexy. And I understand why the topic of men in pole classes should be explored. Some, maybe most, women may not feel so comfortable straddling their legs open or body-rolling with a man looking on. But I suppose it's all about point of view. Pole dancing is a sport. And the amount of booty shaking involved is completely up to each individual. Man or woman.
Which leads me to my next realization: When I am in a class full of women, we will often times learn a routine. A routine that includes hip rolls, figure eights, crawling, etc... the sexy/sensual stuff. But when we have a man in class, we never do. Never. The class is always focused on tricks. Something I had never put together before I sat down to write this. Once I realized this, I experienced a bit of a perspective change. I began to think about how a man might feel in a pole class. Maybe teachers at other studios aren't so aware. Maybe they don't change-up the plan depending on who's in class. How would a man feel about being told to "lead with his ass" or "arch his back and stick out his chest"?
I realized that maybe it isn't us women who are brave enough to include men in "our" classes, but the men who are brave enough to ignore the stereotypes and do it because they love it. Gay or straight. I don't care whether they want to embrace the sexy or the strong... or, like me, both. All I care about is if they are serious about learning and are supportive of their fellow students. And I hope that all instructors are as considerate as mine is to who is in class on any particular day. But, mostly, I hope that "Is he gay?" can no longer be an issue. In more than just the topic of pole dancing.
"Male pole enthusiasts are extremely fun to work with! They are usually open-minded and eager to learn! The only thing I wish was different about male pole students is that we had more of them!" - Performer & Instructor Veronika Pole
*This is the 3rd and final article in our series exploring Gender, Men & The Art Of Pole. I hope that each of these perspectives can be a jumping point for conversations. Communicating our fears respectfully to each other can be amazingly empowering. I know that by starting this discussion with my friends, students and others in the pole community, I have a better understanding of some of the challenges men face in pole dancing, as well as the women who dance along side of them!
This post is part of our entry for the “Pole Dancing Bloggers Association” Feb Blog Hop on Pole Dancing & Men
Click here to enter your link and view all the additional Pole Dance Blogs in the Hop…