That old “touch your toes” thing isn’t working for me anymore, so I thought I’d find a new exercise program.
It isn’t that I’m rejecting my toes; it’s just that I rarely see them. We don’t hang out in the same neighborhood any more and we don't have many visible body parts in common. So in the interest of personal conditioning and self improvement, I decided to swing with the new fitness craze: Pole Dancing. My family was excited for me.
“Absolutely not.” Sons One and Two answered in harmony. They haven’t agreed on anything since the great “Whose hiney put the hole in the living room wall?” debate of ’05 and they pick now to show solidarity.
“But everybody’s doing it.”
“Everybody’s having hip replacements, too. Tell that to your insurance company. Can you say deductible?”
That settled the matter for me. If the boys didn’t approve, it was just what I needed. I searched the Internet to find some local lessons.
However, I didn’t want to take a class without trying it out privately first. I’m not exactly Dasher or Dancer when it comes to the ladies aerobics class at the local YMCA; I figured I’d better work on some moves before I shinnied up a metal pole in a room full of Vixens. I slipped on my laundry day gym shorts, a clear violation of the rules of fashion etiquette for public exposure, and sauntered down to the elementary school playground where an old volleyball pole cemented into a tire stood guard over some dandelions in a sunny corner.
The videos I saw on You Tube showed sleek, gazelle-like women, frolicking delicately around a shining pole like a lady’s dress of filmy chiffon blowing around her legs in a gentle breeze.
Thinking chiffon, I circled the pole feeling a zephyr waving wisps of hair across my upturned face, and grasped the circumference of the pole in one hand as I swung my legs up into the Fireman’s Position.
It was then I realized that the pole had been baking in the Southern summer sun long enough to cook a turkey, two dozen yeast rolls, and a sweet potato casserole. It toasted my marshmallows in seconds.
My thighs stuttered across the pole, popping like an old clutch under the foot of a novice driving student. A line of blisters the size and shape of a Tibetan mountain range sprung to life on my twirling hand and my behind bore the grill marks of a well-turned sirloin. Now I know why firemen wear pants that Smokey the Bear couldn't claw his way through.
Releasing the pole is called the dismount, even if it’s accidental. On the whole, it’s not
a good idea to let go suddenly, even in case of trauma, particularly when wearing the type of shorts that maintain their position on the body with a drawstring. If you have elected to practice on an old volleyball pole that sports a hook whose purpose it is to hold up volleyball net, the idea is especially unfortunate.
Now I know what gymnasts feel like in the middle of the summersault-handspring section of their floor routine. If the Olympic committee had been on hand at that moment, I would have secured a spot as a favorite on the team. When I landed, I looked through my knees at the pole, spinning in that old tire in circles, and grinned.
At least if I got a workout, I gave that wretched thing one, too. It wouldn’t be so bad, though, if the blasted thing didn’t look better in those old gym shorts than I did.