Crystal Graham: Writhing, writing goddess

Crystal Clear column by Crystal Graham

Two words – peer pressure. That was my reasoning for going to a teaser class offered by a Harrisonburg-based dance studio.

The moment I took my shoes off and sat down on the hardwood floor, I wondered how my two friends, Mary and Bonnie, had talked me into this evening of so-called dance.

What was I, publisher of a local newsmagazine and website, doing in a teaser class anyway?

When I looked around though, the other people in the room were much like me – most in their 30s and 40s – and most holding down professional day jobs. There was only one college student in the room – and I’ll even note that there was a mix of Democrats and Republicans, though one student refused to tell her husband where she was going for the evening.

The teaser class as it was called was billed as an introduction to exotic and pole dancing. All of which I could justify, of course, because I was there to write a column and perhaps get a good workout in – and enjoy a few laughs while I was at it. Oh yeah, and the peer pressure. My friends were surely to blame for this.

The first 45 minutes of the hour and a half class was more of a workout than anything else – pushups, crunches, you name it. I thought, boy, my husband would be glad I was working out. He’s on me all the time to get in better shape. He’s not asking for a pole in the bedroom or anything. He’d be happy if I made a date with the punching bag a few nights a week.

But the inevitable was coming. Just when I was getting comfortable with the class, we moved on to the exotic part of the class – and were shown a “sexy” way to get off the floor, and given some hip movements to experiment with. Our instructor, Candy, looked comfortable with everything she showed us. I was, on the other hand, pretty uncomfortable throughout the whole thing. A floor-to-ceiling mirror showed me over and over again that whatever was supposed to be sexy and suggestive – well, it just didn’t quite pan out for me. The “writhing goddess” was supposed to encourage you to explore your own body – but I was left looking like someone possessed and wishing dearly that elbow pads had been provided.

We were taught how to walk sexy and kick in the air sexy – all difficult for someone as uncoordinated as I am.

And then came the main event, where thankfully the lights finally went off.

This might have made the first half of the class much more enjoyable, I thought to myself.

The seven women, including myself, were then paired off to share poles where we were taught how to walk around the poles and how to do a spin move on the pole. And the daring ones even tried to do “the fireman” on the pole by locking their leg around the pole and spinning down to the floor. I didn’t master “the fireman,” or the other moves, for that matter. But I wasn’t exactly the only one who didn’t.

I left my teaser class feeling sore, realizing more than ever that I was woefully out of shape, particularly with no arm strength whatsoever.

While the class isn’t necessarily billed as exercise, it delivered in my case, anyway. I certainly broke a sweat.

Walking out with only a few bruises and scrapes to mark the occasion, I was glad I had succombed to peer pressure – even if just this once.

The dinner and drinks at Outback afterwards, admittedly, was much more up my alley.

My friends, on the other hand, I think they’ll sign up for more. One already has the four-inch heels with a coin slot ready for the wear.

(I know, I know … she got them for a Halloween costume, I believe her. The pole in her house, on the other hand, hmm … I don’t know.)

As for me, that dinner at Outback is more likely in my cards in the future.

And the only pole you’ll ever see me write about in the future (I promise) is perhaps the pole at the NASCAR race. I’ve been meaning to go to a NASCAR race for awhile.


Crystal Graham is the author of Crystal Clear: A Collection of Columns, published in 2006.

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