Since I’ve become a pole dancer, I have noticed that most people believe that I either have a very exciting love life, or that I’m a big hoe. I love expectation versus reality scenarios, so I thought I could compare what (mostly) men have told me with my very unexciting dating life for a laugh. Get ready for dating – the pole dancer edition.
Dating as a pole dancer – the necessary disclaimers
- Pole dancing is a sport and an art that comes from stripping. While pole dancers enjoy less stigma and more privileges than strippers, laypeople often can’t distinguish between the two – and their behaviour shows 1) how misogynistic and whorephobic they are to sex workers 2) that they’re not worth your time. Being asked to be entertained for free or fetishising people is NEVER ok, no matter their background, appearance, job. The below post shows instances where I’ve experienced this crappy behaviour while dating as a pole dancer, but it wouldn’t be ok anywhere.
- I have dated/gone out with/slept with wonderful men and women who didn’t treat me like an object or a fantasy. But this is a post about those who do, so I’ll talk about nice peeps some other time.
- Don’t be afraid to tell me stuff in case you’d end up on me blog. Most things here are just common sense, really. So let’s get real.
Now that we got these out of the way, sheesh, dating as a pole dancer can be a minefield.
I think it’s worth saying that people’s attitude to my pole dancer persona have been a strong litmus test to decide whether I wanted them in my life or not. Are you going to treat me as a form of naked entertainment, or as a titillating addition to your boring life? Then show yourself to the door. Are you gonna appreciate the nuance, politics and difficulty of what I do? Then we can talk.
“Your ass looks bigger on Instagram!”
I can’t believe I get to write A WHOLE PARAGRAPH about my ass. What a time to be alive! First of all, gee, I’m sorry. I mean, we all know things look better on the ‘Gram. On the ‘Gram, I’m wearing heels and probs some ridiculously tight polewear that make my ass look bigger and tighter. On the ‘Gram, I’m filming from a distance so you don’t get to see the cellulite that beer, doughnuts and years on the contraceptive pill have given me. TBH, my friends were surprised too when we all decided to show our cellulite to each other and I showed mine like a badge of honour (#thingsgirlsdowhentheyretogether). But anyway, tough shit, sorry, I’m not a Kardashian. I’m just a regular girl.
“Dance for me like you do on Instagram.”
Uhm… Are you gonna pay me? I’m not a court jester or something. A girl has got to eat.
“You must have so much sex now!”
I’m typing this post in my Batman sweatshirt on a Friday evening in between a Friends binge on Netflix. Alas, my week hasn’t been full of steamy sex, but I did have pizza yesterday. It was lovely.
Contrary to what most people seem to think, my sex life hasn’t received a boost in numbers since I’ve taken up pole dancing. I’ve discussed this with some pole friends once, and actually we agreed that our sex drive has slightly decreased since we started to pole. It’s not that we don’t want to have sex, but that we get many positive effects that come from having a nice shag (confidence boost, adrenaline, endorphins) from pole dancing.
This has helped me a great deal to sort out my life in terms of not sleeping with fuckboys/girls just because I felt down. In times when I’ve been at my worst – may it be for loneliness, mental health issues, trouble with body image – I have not made the best decisions while choosing a partner. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS. Learn from my mistakes, OK? I hope that this side of my life has now been solved through pole. The downside, if you will, is that I have less sex because I try to have it with people that matter to me more.
Please don’t take this as something that is valid for all pole dancers. It might be just me and my weird friends. It might also be that, after an abusive relationship, I’m warier of whoever I take home.
What I would say is that, as part of my healing and acceptance journey and as a result of being more open-minded due to the general body and sex-positivity I’ve found through the pole community, my sex has become better – whether that’s with myself or others. I am more comfortable to ask for what I want, to set boundaries and I’m better at experimenting. So a more accurate comment would be: “Wow, you must be having really good sex!” to which the answer is “Hell yes!”
“You do know you are over-sexualising and objectifying yourself, right?”
Thanks for the heads up! Unfortunately this would still happen whether I was a pole dancer or not. One of my biggest frustrations and disappointments on dates or in conversation with men is that I could be talking about quantum physics, but some of them would still try to undress me with their eyes. Not because I’m particularly good-looking, mind you: just because I happen to have a vagina. Also, I don’t tend to talk about quantum physics because I know jack shit about it – more about platform governance, criminology, literature, philosophy, politics or something – but you get my drift.
So pole or no pole, I have been objectified by others anyway. By doing pole I feel confident, sexy, I have fun, and I am in control of the type of sexual image I want to portray. And you don’t have to undress me with your eyes cause I’m already butt-naked on Instagram! It’s a win-win situation.
I have also noticed that people who ask me this have, consciously or subconsciously, already objectified me anyway. *puts sociologist and social media researcher hat on*. If this happened on social media, I would call it “concern trolling”, or trying to make a person look dumb by stating your opinion as a legitimate concern. A lot of the people who told me this proceeded to objectify me in various ways, such as assuming I would sleep with them even when my lack of interest or my “no” was pretty damn clear. Maybe, instead of just looking at what I do, try to listen to me as well.
“Just wanted to check your OK, u look so desperate babe.”
So on the day I finally got my handstand twerk I naturally posted it all over the internet, cause really, if you learn how to shake your butt upside down all you are is EXCITED. However my ex, who had been ignoring me for ages, decided that no, this bitch can’t be excited, this bitch is desperate. And he decided to write that under my post, with grammar mistakes. So my friends slayed him and he deleted it.
If you think that calling pole dancers attention-seeking or desperate on social media is going to get you noticed, chances are you’re not gonna get laid. Pole dancers overshare. It’s a thing. It helps us keep track of our progress and it’s a way to gain and get inspiration from the net. We’re not doing it for you, but for ourselves. And tbf, I challenge you to learn how to handstand twerk and not want to post it a little bit. Then we can talk.
“Can you give me a lap dance?”
Imagine asking to be entertained for free! Would you go to a musician and randomly ask them: “PLAY SOMETHING FOR ME!”
Like, if you are a random dude who follows me on Instagram, chances are I’m not gonna do it. I feel it’s something that’s given, not asked.
A lap dance is not something you give away like a discount or a freebie. It takes effort, goddamn it! Try grinding and twerking on somebody in squat position for three minutes. It’s a fucking workout – no wonder strippers charge for it, and rightly so!
You’re also assuming that all pole dancers will be amazing at lap dancing, while in reality, as many strippers will tell you, lap dancing is an art in itself, and it requires a crazy amount of skill as well as allure that most “pole fitness” people won’t have.
While I have given friends lap dances, although they were my day one babes and had no interest in sleeping with me. I have given partners lap dances and the response has been mixed. Some people froze on me, thinking they’d have to deliver something similar, while some people loved it. So you’re out here assuming it’ll be fun for you while chances are you’ll just be really intimidated.
“Can you do those really cool tricks on me during your lap dance?”
Now let’s assume you’ve passed test one and that I will be giving you a lap dance. If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I can do weird acro tricks on chairs. I can headstand on them, balance on them or roll backwards off them. So if this is what you wanna see I have a question for you: are you Channing Tatum in Magic Mike XXL? If the answer is no, then probably not.
I don’t have a Channing Tatum fetish – it’s more of a safety thing. If you are a dancer, a performer or someone who’s very coordinated, then I might try some tricks (not the balance one, cause I need the whole chair for it). If however you risk breaking my neck or yours, it’s better to stick to the boring but effective grinding. Necks are useful.
“You are too intimidating.”
I am a five foot five Italian girl who still has trouble peeling her apples. I own Kermit The Frog underwear and spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about koalas and sausage dogs. I have a few panic attacks a month and sometimes feel anxious about ordering food over the phone. In short: I am like most people if not weirder.
Precisely because I work with and research on social media, I know and hate it for the curated and fake images of us they help us create. But hey, they pay the bills/give me a nice lifestyle! So bring on the heels and the booty-shaking, just know that the rest of the time I’m either studying, eating or having a panic attack.
“You must be very good in bed.”
Believe it or not, being a pole dancer is not an indicator of your sexual prowess. Shocker, right? Now, I’ve never had any complaints…
But if I’ve just performed four acts in a row at a pole showcase, you are probably going to have to do all the work. And possibly bring me carbs to bed.
I have a no nudes policy because I research on social media harassment and can’t be arsed to deal with the backlash of that. All my “nudes” are a version of the same aesthetic I post on social media. Also, have you seen my Instagram? Don’t be greedy.
“You’re so classy, not like those strippers”
This has got to be one of the worst pick-up lines I ever got when dating as a pole dancer. First of all, have you seen what I do? Where do you think it comes from, ballet? I spend every bit of my training trying and failing to be as good as strippers, and you think this will work?
Second of all, why, where and how someone pole dances is none of your business. Recreational pole dancing exists because of strippers and adult entertainment, so insulting strippers to pay polers a compliment isn’t the flex that you think it is. Stop slut-shaming people who pole for work or who enjoy performing for others.
“I know a pole dancer but they’re not as good as you”
Uhm, bringing other people down while paying compliments is NEVER cute. No thanks.
“If we get serious, will you stop?”
OMG red flag. If you’re only comfortable with someone being expressive, sexy and open about their hobby when you don’t have a full-on relationship with them, you’re showing you’re possessive and not very fun to date tbh. Go away.
And last but not least… “Will you dance on my pole?”
WOW, NEVER HARD THAT ONE BEFORE! Go away x10000000000000000.
Don’t be a dick.
Because I’m not totally horrible, I’ve made a little video with some better things you can say instead when dating a pole dancer you’re dating.
This post is only dating-related and specifically about dating as a pole dancer. If you have more questions about the pole life, check out this post I’ve written about it here.