Today, I went to a pole dancing class. I didn't actually know it was a dancing class, much less a pole dancing class. It was advertised at my fitness center as a "Steamy Windows" event - I guess I should have read the signs. Actually, I think it's called 'pole fitness'.
Anyway, there I was and why not get the most out of it. And it wasn't actually about throwing ourselves around a floor-to-ceiling pole, rather it was holding a 1.5 m long bar and then tossing it about and dancing around it.
It's worth mentioning that anyone who knows me will have a hard time imagining me doing any such things and those who can will have a laughing fit (but hey, glad to be of some entertainment value to y'all).
After a few steps left, right and center, striding around the bar (pole), and shifting it around I felt I was kind of getting the hang of it. The music was funky salsa, which helped give the whole thing a down-to-earth kind of vibe, not taking ourselves very seriously. I mean, we were doing Britney Spears-y hip thrusting and pole caressing and the music really needs to be fun, innocent and upbeat for these ridiculous movements to be about dancing and not about lame, carnal display.
Then the instructor changed the music. We went from fun salsa to macho poodle rock - and the whole vibe changed. WTF?? I suddenly felt like the dancing was about dancing not for my own delight but for putting on a sex show.
All of sudden, I just couldn't take the hip thrusting on our knees and slithering around with the bar as anything but clichés but worse, the fun had gone. The movements in conjunction with the testo guitar delirium and shrieks about 'tight action, rear traction' gave the whole thing a much darker edge and prompted thoughts about women as sex objects, putting themselves on crude display.
My point with all this isn't about our society's sexification of women, but rather about experiencing in an extraordinarily direct way how music can entirely change a vibe, atmosphere, perception and physical sentiment. It altered everything. And I'm not even that much of a salsa fan...