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A Pole Dancer’s Survival Guide to Working with Men

Long before I discovered Pole Dancing I decided that I wanted to be a bad ass. To me, that always meant succeeding at something difficult. Something that really challenged me mentally, physically, and even emotionally. Something unexpected or unusual. So, 19 year old me decided to become a Paramedic! Little did I know, the actual job (the blood, guts, and dismemberment) would actually be the easier part of the career. The difficult part? Being the only chick with a bunch of middle-aged family men for coworkers. They just don’t get me! Ha ha

But seriously, if I even talk about things like yoga, make-up, or how fantastic leggings are, I get the old eye roll and a quick subject change. I get the “you’re just a silly girl” look more times than absolutely necessary and sometimes, unfortunately, I’m just outright over-looked or left behind. Now imagine these men, that already have a tough time relating, finding out that I am a pole dancer. Pretty funny image, huh?

They all turned into one of these types (I’m sure you’ve all met them) –

There were the jokesters: Heh heh, can I come watch “practice”?? Said with a lascivious giggle and accompanying air quotes for the word practice.

There were the doubters: Is that even a workout? Like how hard is it to rub around on a pole?

There were the judgers: You’re comfortable with doing THAT? You know everyone can see that [picture/video/something I was proud of], right?

And then there were the supporters: That looks like an amazing workout! And I can see it is something you really enjoy; congrats! – these guys were the best, but kind of the minority.

Well, you can’t escape it and you definitely can’t let any of the sideways or negative comments get you down, so what’s a girl to do??

Here’s my very own, tested and true,  Pole Dancer’s Survival Guide to Working with Men:

  1. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore. This easy, yet temporary, solution will get you through most uncomfortable comments or questionable mannerisms. But, come on, do we really just want to get through them or do we want to squash them like the creepy word bugs they are?!
  1. Then why not try to educate? Pole dancing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Period. I’m pretty sure if any of these guys really tried it, or even took a closer look, they would see the athleticism and grace that it took and they would understand our pride. Don’t belittle our sport, bro!
  1. We could also try to understand. Let’s face it, men are (typically) not very intuitive or emotional creatures. Honestly, a lot of the guys making these comments have no clue they either just offended you or gave you the heeby-jeebies. So, tell them! A lot of times that is enough to pull the problem from the root.
  1. There are also situations that may force us to defend. No, I will not dance for you. No, I have not been stripping but I have friends that do/have, what of it? No, none of this is really any of your business, anyway, now is it?!
  1. And if all else fails, girl, ELEVATE! You are above it all, or you can be with just a couple well-executed climbs, and nothing that another human says should change the badass you see in that mirror and the badass you feel in your heart!

Keep doing what you love and creating when you can, everything else is just meant to help get you there!

Ashley Mann

Ashley Mann

Ashley is a very hopeful pole beginner that fell in love with all things aerial at the amazing Twisted Bodies studio in Denton, TX. While she doesn’t have any previous dance experience, she makes up for it with genuine passion and a drive to one day be a fantastic pole dancer. You can read in on her journey as she attempts to go from awkward to graceful aerialist in her personal blog and open forum, Suspended in Motion.
Ashley Mann

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