With this post, there will be no pictures. For reasons that will become obvious, I have no images of my latest fitness endeavor.
Apparently Weight Watchers not only wants me to calculate points, keep a journal, and attend weekly meetings, they also expect me to exercise. Or, as my leader puts it, "move my parts". I'm happy with my 15 pound weight loss thus far, but have come to accept the fact that, if I plan on continuing to lose, I'm going to have to institute something a little more strenuous than carrying laundry up the stairs and running through the aisles of Target to get to the bathroom because of the MASSIVE amounts of water this program has me taking in.
I have a few workout DVDs that I somewhat enjoy, but thought if I joined something a little more "organized" I'd meet with greater success. But what to choose? I didn't want anything that would be so crazy difficult that I would immediately feel defeated. I like to just go, blend in, and quickly leave before I hear the snickering about how out of shape I am. So what class do you think of for someone who is overweight, shy, and out of shape? Why pole dancing, of course!
I've seen it on Oprah and read about what a fun, fantastic workout the "tease" classes were providing to women everywhere. Moreover, it was supposed to boost your confidence! And who doesn't love that? Even here in suburbia, I easily found a business that lets you pay-as-you-go with no long-term commitment. They had an introductory class, 30 minutes of chair dancing and 30 minutes of pole. That has me written ALL over it! I like situations where I can calculate, down to the minute, how long I'll be publicly humiliated.
When I arrived, I was greeted by the super-friendly owner, wearing her "Got Pole" t-shirt and surrounded by shelves of thigh-high boots and clear heels. Dorothy, you aren't in Kansas anymore! We were brought to the studio where they had chairs and mats waiting. Of course, I immediately staked my claim on the back row real estate. No way was I flaunting my wares in the front row. Plus it wouldn't really be fair to anyone behind me that was forced to view the show I was about to put on. I care too much for my fellow man.
I looked around at the other ladies who were there. There were a few young girls who looked great and were definitely having fun. I got why they were there. But the lady in the front row, I'll admit, had me a bit puzzled. She was probably in her fifties, no make-up, un-done hair, and very nondescript. As she looked around, I figured she was probably discovering that this was NOT the place she meant to go to. Maybe she took a wrong turn and was supposed to be at the copy center next-door? Yep. I was right. There she goes, walking away and going ... hold on. What is she doing? Why is she going over to those -- OH. NO. SHE. DI'INT! She did NOT just go over to those baskets and pluck a pair of CLEAR HEELS out and put them on! WTH? She has her own SHOES? That she keeps HERE? This is not for real. I'm being Punk'd, aren't I?
Luckily, the instructor took the stage so I would stop staring at Connie Clear Heels. She got her boombox a rockin' with some warm-up music. This isn't so bad, I thought. She was a 20-something who was very sweet and encouraging. She even got me a little choked up, talking about how we women are much too hard on ourselves and that we ALL should be comfortable in our own skin and find our inner "sexy".
I was actually starting to believe her....well, that was until she went all mud-flap on me. Yes, mud-flap. Apparently one of the first moves we had to learn in chair dancing is the "mud-flap". I know you've seen them on the trucks going up and down the interstate. It's the Pamela Anderson-type silhouette with long flowing locks, perky breasts, and legs that reach up to her armpits. Yeah, those. Unfortunately, I've got short hair, post-breastfeeding breasts, and legs that go from a cankle directly to a thigh. Yay me.
Moving quickly, she introduced our next move, the "kitten crawl". I don't have a cat, nor do I want to pretend to be one, but apparently the opposite sex finds this maneuver BEYOND sexy. You have to get on all fours and put your chest toward the ground, rear up in the air, and crawl. I guess, in the right lighting and with the right amount of alcohol, I could make this look sexy. And by that I mean that alcohol would be involved for both parties. In large amounts.
And speaking of the other participant, one thing that did kind of bug me was her referral to the other party as "the victim". I realize she doesn't want to generalize by saying husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, mailman, etc., but "victim" just seems a bit crass, don't you think? Although midway through this erotic dance, I started thinking that anyone I'd be performing for might readily agree with the classification of "victim".
We did 30 minutes of what turned out to be quite intense exercise. I'm hoping they didn't inspect the chair I used, because I'm pretty sure I left some indentations from my fingernails during that little episode of hyperventilation I had. Come to find out, the chair would be my friend, when you compare it to the next piece of apparatus...THE POLE.
The "pole room" had about 16 poles and mirrors on every wall. They are quite clever with the mirror placement, thus throwing off my equilibrium and making it difficult to determine how I could grab a spot in the back row. I took the pole in the corner and hoped for the best.
We were given coaching on a few basic moves and then the music started playing. The instructor did an AMAZING demonstration. How ever you feel about strippers, pole dancers, etc. they have to be quite flexible and have tremendous strength to do what they do. I was basically moving forward on a wing and a prayer, and hoping that my hours spent on the jungle gym in elementary school would finally pay off for me in a BIG way.
First up was the basic walk with a spin around the pole. It looked easy enough. She would gracefully and slowly glide around the pole and end up back where she started, unwrapping her legs as she went. It started out well, but apparently I gave it a little too much gas and went flying around the pole for about three revolutions. When I heard myself quote George Jetson by saying, "Jane, how do you stop this crazy thing!" I knew I had gotten a little too big for my dancing britches.
With my newly found confidence, I attempted the spin with both feet off the ground. I was giving it all I had, concentrating on hand placement and speed. I was doing it! Do you have an advanced class because I am SO signing up! Look at me, Lady Pole Dancing Instructor, look at me, right over here, I'm -- wait, where'd she go? Holy CRAP. She has TOTALLY moved on and climbed the pole all the way to the CEILING...where she hanging with NO HANDS. Is David Copperfield behind one of those mirrors, levitating her? Okay, she's phenomenal. I get it. But while she was busy showing off, she totally missed how great I was doing. Apparently she's not one of those teachers that gets joy from seeing her students excel. Whatever.
We learned a few more fancy tricks and then, how to gracefully dismount from the pole. The teacher gave a demonstration and then had us try. As we were coming back around and ready for our big finish, she said, "And this, ladies, is where you bend down and pick up ALL those $100 bills!" She smiled gently at me when I asked what you should do if all you find is a nickle and a piece of lint.
Thankfully friends, I'm not in it for the money. Despite my less than desirable performance, I plan on going back. It was a fun workout and I was actually sore the next day, working muscles that I didn't even know I had. If you've secretly wondered what these classes are like, I say GO. You only live once and, as the saying goes, if you work it just right, that will be enough.