Stripping laid bare

I’ve been thinking a lot about strippers recently.

Hear me out!

I’ve started pole dancing. My current writing project involves a piece about a stripper. It’s a monologue that includes pole dancing and is hopefully going to be performed one day. Not by myself, I might add, as I’ve written a character who’s 28 years old. In certain lights my face could pass as a 25 year olds {who’s perhaps already got three kids} but my tits and the skin underneath my tits does not. If you’re over the age of 35 you’ll sadly know what I mean by this. Regardless of the lack of elasticity underneath my money makers I decided to try some pole dancing so that if I do one day have to tell someone they’ve got to learn the skill, I’ll know exactly what I’m asking them to do. That and I wanted to know if I could do a sexy style striptease/pole dance.

Jesus fucking Christ!

Pardon my pigeon German there but Fuck Me is pole dancing hard. I can honestly say it’s the hardest physical thing I’ve ever had to do. And I’ve taken yoga classes in New York*.

The strength needed to do even the tiniest of movements in pole dancing is insane and far from sexy. At the beginning everything you do looks crap. You look like an overambitious parent on the monkey bars who started out showing off but by the end is just trying to survive and not let on that they know they’ve done serious damage to themselves with each swing. The facial expressions that I make when trying to simply get my toes off the ground are monumental. Think World’s Strongest Man contest where they pull a lorry with their necks. That’s me on a Monday night at 8pm.

If you do manage to make it though a pole dancing class puke free {there’s a lot of spinning} the next day will incur bruising in the strangest of places and muscle ache in areas you, of course, knew existed but only because you’d read about them in an article written by a post 35 year old woman suddenly getting into exercise.

At the beginning of my first class I was asked by the teacher, in front of the other pupils, why I had decided to come and try out pole dancing. I told her that I get pretty bored doing the same exercise classes all the time {true} and that I was trying to get fit for a 6 week road trip I was about to take {also true}. I then added that I was writing a piece about pole dancing {obviously needed some attention that day}

‘Oh that’s so great!’ The other women in my class cried. ‘Where can we read it?’ ‘Will we be in it?’

‘That’s fantastic’ The teacher said to me ‘Because people often only associate pole dancing with strippers and there’s so much more to it. Whats your piece going to be about?’


Two days later, when the pain of attempting to climb a pole with just my arms {no jumping up allowed} really kicked in, I lay, crushed and car crash like on my sofa flicking through Netflix. Magic Mike XXL had recently been added. My head and body were both in stripper mode so I decided to watch all the best bits aka none of the dialogue just the bits with Channing Tatum dancing in them. Now I really like Channing Tatum but the reality is this film is far from reality. No stripper looks like Channing Tatum. I’ve assumed that. I’ve not done any research but I stand by it. They just don’t. Not in the UK anyway. They almost certainly don’t have his dance skills either. If they did they’d be on Britain’s Got Talent and not aspiring to work Hen Do’s in and around Kent.

Is stripping, but particularly male stripping, actually sexy? Is it meant to be or is it meant to make women cringe because that’s what I’m doing just watching a film about women watching male strippers?

I know the actors in Magic Mike XXL are…well, acting, but underneath that Stanislavski preparation Amber Heard no doubt did for her role in this film I can see her cringe. The stage lighting might be dark but I can see her face flare up like a plum. She’s embarrassed. How could she not be? She’s got a really big audience in front of her. She’s embarrassed and a little bit pissed off because she’s getting grabbed, pushed and thrown into positions that make her look like a newly born giraffe. She doesn’t know where to put her hands so they’re just flopping about like she’s broken her wrists. She’s screwing up her face and I can only imagine it’s so that she can hold her breath as a sweaty, flaccid penis and it’s accompanying low swinging ball bag keep swiping and thrusting themselves into her face. And what about the lying-on-your-side-dry-humping? Talk about a dog on heat who won’t get off your leg in the park.

For the penis de resistance {I’m so sorry, I couldn’t help it} of Channing’s dance number he got Amber to rip off his velcroed Fat Face style cargo pants leaving him standing there in just a bandana round his neck, a loose thong and his boots. Now I don’t know about you but that to me is not the sexiest of looks. It’s like a man keeping his socks on in bed or for women I liken it to a smear test when you’ve decided to leave your socks on. You’re covered to the waist, naked on your bottom half but still wearing, more often than not, an odd pair of socks. Never a good look.

The conclusion of my stripper week is that it’s incredibly hard to make a performance about taking your clothes off look genuinely sexy. The skill needed to make it look effortless and not like a big pile of gorgonzola is enormous so perhaps, for anyone who’s not a movie star, it simply needs to be kept as a one on one experience in the comfort of our own homes. Just don’t forget to take your socks off.



*Yoga classes in NYC are like an Olympic sport. Regardless of age {I was in classes with 60 year old women} everyone is amazing at yoga. EVERYONE. Super toned, tight and taut. No one releases a pathetic grunt as they haul themselves into a one legged downward facing dog and no one takes an extended break in shavasana aka the one where you lie on your back doing nothing at all but recovering.

** Since writing this article I have had to stop stripping as it hurt my back so badly I couldn’t sit down for a few weeks.

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