Boys, Boys, Boys!

As part of the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association, I decided to participate in their February blog-hop, taking on the topic of pole dancing and men. In general, I call the ladies at my studio “girls” no matter their age and I call the men “boys”. I like to think it’s because pole dancing keeps everybody young.

So, boys and pole dancing. I know there are different views on whether boys should be allowed to participate in pole classes, and each view is supported by valid reasons. Some women like a place to hang out with their girlfriends, bare as much skin as they like, and get a break from guys, and I totally get it. The first studio I attended had a women-only policy, except for performances. I know of one boy who came to the performances and would pole in the open pole we had afterwards, and he was a little bitter at not being allowed to take classes there. The first time I was in a class with a boy was when I visited a studio in Washington, D.C. while there for work in spring 2012. It surprised me a little just because I wasn’t expecting a boy in my class, but it didn’t affect how I felt in the class at all. If anything it challenged me a little to push harder because he was naturally a bit stronger than I was, though I had better pointed toes. 🙂

An absolutely beautiful pole dance by Ravan:

I now teach at a studio that allows men in all classes. It’s still very predominantly girls, but the occasional guy will come to a beginner class. There are two regular boys who attend, and they have very different styles. One’s idol is Steven Retchless and the other one is much more similar to Alexandr Magala. One would rather wear heels than be barefoot, and the other prefers basketball and boardshorts. One is a regular in my poleography classes and you can see him in some of the videos I’ve posted, while the other takes hip hop and trick classes. They have different focuses but they both love pole.

A happy boy and ridiculous tricks:

There are several reasons why a guy might want to take pole: to feel sexy, to get stronger, to gain self-confidence, to impress people, to get in shape, to try something new. Wait, aren’t those all reasons why a girl might want to take pole too? While I understand why some studios and women prefer female-only classes and studios, I don’t want to turn anyone away from gaining the aforementioned positives that pole can bring to your life. My life has changed drastically since my first pole class: my self-confidence sky-rocketed, I grew a bunch of muscle, I met great friends, I found out that my body can do amazing things, and I’ve been able to express myself in a way I never did before. Who am I to deny those things to anyone just because that person is male instead of female? Guys deal with just as much pressure to look good and to be strong as girls do, and just as many of them struggle with that societal expectation as girls do. Pole and all its benefits aren’t just for girls: guys can gain so much through it too.

The incredibly flexible and amazing Derick Pierson:

I completely understand why some ladies would prefer a class of all girls, and I think that should be available to those women. Maybe one class a week can be women-only if there tend to be quite a few boys at the studio. But then be fair and offer a men-only class as well. Perhaps guys would feel more comfortable in a class without women, where they don’t feel like their strength and bodies aren’t being judged (whether they are or not: some women feel the same in a class with men.)

A breath-taking duet with Edouard Doye and Marion Crampe:

Pole, like any other sport or art, has people from every point on the spectrum on it: men who like to wear briefs and heels to class, women who only want to trick out, girls who live for the stilettos and body rolls, boys who want to flip down the pole and breakdance as floorwork, and everyone and everything in between. Pole is such a small world anyway: why keep it that way? The more people who experience pole, the more people will understand why we love it.

I’m packing this post full of videos, but I can’t leave this one out. One of the videos that brought pole to the mainstream public, and one of the best pole routines I’ve ever seen:

And to close, here’s one of my all-time favorite male performances:

This is post is part of the Pole Dance Bloggers Association February blog hop on the subject of men and pole. See the other blogs here!

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