Eat Your Heart Out, Richard Simmons

I think perhaps I should try this next.

I have a couple of clients who take classes from the lady in this video, one of whom kindly sent me the link. I have had no interest in dance since I was marched to ballet classes as a sprout (breaking my arm was not an intentional ploy, but it got me out of that pink prissy hell). This seems more my kind of thing though, especially the reverse push-up at 1:30. I have been feeling a bit tough and leathery of late and need something to force my hip range-of-motion.

I remember about ten years back I was down on the National Mall with my Albino Ex, who was shooting night film of the cherry blossoms. A trio of very drunk and ethnically assorted servicemen boarded the Metro train one stop after we did; two took up facing seats close to us and the third stood between them, apparently cautious lest they resume a clearly recent altercation that had left the Asian one looking a bit the worse for wear. The black gentleman, whose speech was rich and unctuous, must have scored one good whack on his buddy and was feeling pretty vindicated. “You got no more problem with me, Huang, right?” he kept saying. “You okay now, right?”

The standing fellow, six feet of boyish whitebread, kept admonishing his companions whenever one of them let a profanity slip: “There’s ladies here,” he would scold, nodding in my direction. “‘Scuse us, m’am.” This made him think of something eventually: “Did’n we have a girl with us?” he asked his buddies. “Yeah,” said the black guy, “but she left us at the second place. She was pissed cause we liked the way that other chick worked the pole.” “There’s ladies present,” Whitebread reminded him. “Sorry, m’am.” Every time he said it I felt dowdier and more conventional.

I had had enough by the time we hit our stop and, as the doors hissed open, grabbed the upright pole in the middle of the car, swung my cargo-trousered leg up till my foot stopped just above my head, gave it three twirls and bounded out. You could hear Whitebread stomping and hollering all the way down the platform: “Hey! Damn! She can work the pole!” The door shut before I could find out if he apologized again.

I’ve sorta wanted to try this ever since.

I just don’t get the in-your-face ugliness of contemporary music though: wasn’t this much more the thing?


8 thoughts on “Eat Your Heart Out, Richard Simmons

  1. Sandy Nelson was one of my heroes when I was a kid. Let there be drums!

    Pole dancing is just … weird. I can appreciate the difficulty of some of the positions, but the gyrating and hip thrusting and other tacky moves offend my eyes. Just as that gawd-awful music offended my ears. I can imagine you enjoying the athletics of it though.

    • Gratuitous as it may sound, there is a lot to be said for the hip thrusting. The pudeur of most cultures has left a lot of people with so little pliability in their sacral ligaments and such slack tone (or else spasticity) in their hip and pelvic floor muscles that it’s a genuine cause of pain and misery. (I’ll go off on my Ida Rolf riff another time.) You tell someone about the mula bandha in yoga, a deep pelvic floor contraction recruiting the levator ani, and most likely they will look at you like you were crazy.

      As you get to the top levels in the pole dance it gets more polished.

      • That second vid looks more Cirque du Soleil.

        And I agree with you that hip thrusting and pelvic movements are good for us. But the ones in the first vid are just cheesy stripper moves (imho).

      • Well… sorry, but it just sorta scrapes my ears and sounds like the music you would hear in a movie if the heroine were being surgically violated for some illegal Nazi-like cyborg experiment. Just my reaction.

  2. An under-appreciated art form.

    I like the t-shirt with a silhouette of a pole dancer and the caption, “I support single mothers.”

    Music is just one of those things. I probably wouldn’t like much modern strip club music, but I’d be right at home if they played the more melodious heavy metal. They probably don’t. (Or maybe some real downhome blues?)

    But old jazz? I love old jazz, but in the stripper context it becomes cartoonish, as though pretending to be something it hasn’t been since about 1960.

    Erotic dance should be tailored for the audience, my opinion. But having my own opinion on that is rather out of my price range.

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