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Jun. 18 2010 - 11:14 am | 143 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Pole dancing – a hot way to exercise

Cover of "The S Factor: Strip Workouts fo...

Cover via Amazon

Last Saturday night, seven of my girlfriends (who prefer to remain anonymous) and I headed to the S-Factor in Chicago to try a new type of workout, pole dancing. None of us had ever danced with a pole before (well, I once wound streamers around a May pole in 2nd grade, but that doesn’t count) and we were a bit nervous.

The common view of pole dancing is that it’s slutty and sleazy and only performed for the pleasure of lecherous, drooling, dollar bill wielding men. We were a group of forty-something, married moms with jobs and responsibilities; not exactly the exotic dancer type.

But still, we were curious. It sounded kind of naughty. And fun.

My 16 year-old son, Nick, learned about my plan and was appalled. He texted his buddy.

“Do you know our moms are going pole dancing?”

His friend texted back immediately.

“That makes me very uncomfortable.”

We moms were uncomfortable too, especially at the idea of trying to look sultry and sensual in front of one another. Our husbands, however, were surprisingly accommodating. They happily volunteered to run carpools, make dinner, take the cat to the vet. “I got it covered, hon, you go on and have fun at that dance class.”

Here are three things I learned  from my first pole dancing class.

1. It’s not about how you look, it’s how you feel

The studio was dimly lit, and get this, had NO mirrors. Imagine our relief! Julie, our instructor, told us that we shouldnt be concerned with how we looked or doing any movement “correctly.” We should consider the room a safe place to just let go and have fun and feel good about ourselves.

2. Curves are captivating

In other fitness classes I’ve taken, I felt that fleshiness was shameful – a problem that needed fixing. But at S-Factor, the goal is for women to appreciate and enjoy their bodies as they are, not change them. Julie was gorgeous and sexy, but not skinny. She had boobs and a butt and man, could she flaunt ‘em. When demonstrating the “cat pounce” she  arched her back while pointing her tush at the ceiling. As I tried to follow along, for the first time in my life, I wished for a bigger ass.

3. Get in touch with yourself

Throughout the class Julie urged us to “put your hands on your curves.” Apparently, for a woman to be truly sexy she must know and own her body; to do that, she needs to be in contact with it. Touching ourselves – whether running a hand through our hair or massaging a knee – became part of the movements.

I felt awkward at first; it was certainly different than the pumping or punching arm moves required in aerobic or weight lifting classes. But I was feeling pretty comfortable in my own skin by the time class was over.

Several of my friends are signing up for the full 8-week course, which includes lap dancing and strip tease lessons (no nudity is allowed at S-Factor.) If you’re a woman who is feeling a little lackluster, I highly recommend you try a class like this. It was a surprisingly empowering experience that had little to do with pleasing men, and will  make you think of yourself in a whole new way.

If you’re not ready to tackle the class, watch actress Sheila Kelley, the founder of the S-Factor, teach Conan O’Brien some seductive moves in this hilarious video.


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  1. collapse expand

    M. Killeen: I enjoy very much the articles you have authored here and elsewhere. I was walking yesterday and saw a store-front with a sign “vampphoto.com”. I think this is in line with the topics you have covered. What do you think?

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    About Me

    I'm a 40-something mother, wife and writer who took a long unexpected gig as a stay-at-home mom in the Chicago suburbs which, to my surprise, I liked. In addition to spending quality time with my two kids, staying home gave me time to hang out on the North Shore, act in community theatre, sing in a band, host a local-access cable TV show and go back to school. Now I'm relaunching my career as a writer. I have another blog about life after 40, and am a regular contributor to local magazines and newspapers. I look forward to bringing stories from my neighborhood to yours.

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