The UniCORNER: Penguins, Clothes, and Pole Dancing … Oh My!

Posted on
May 5, 2017 by



What the hell had I gotten myself into?!


I quickly shoved clothing around in my closet, tossing a drab pair of pants over my shoulder and almost taking out my cat, hoping against all hope that somehow two shirts had had ‘relations’ in the corner and magically birthed the appropriate outfit for my evening engagement.


Nada. Just like there had been 5 minutes ago, and 5 minutes before that. What did one even WEAR to such an event??? Maybe I shouldn’t go? I mean, what if I showed up in the equivalent of a chicken suit and everyone else was wearing short-shorts and 9” heels?


“Do I wear heels, socks, dance shoes, sneakers, or go barefoot for my first class?” This is one of the many questions from the first-time poler. Photo by Christopher Donald.


More panic. I can’t even walk in heels without being a danger to humanity. They were going to hate me because I would be known as the woman who accidentally killed eight people with her shoes. I could even see the headlines and my crappy mugshot.


I banged my head against the door and wondered how I got myself into these hare-brained situations. It had seemed such a good idea at the time when I saw the ad on Groupon, but now … maybe I shouldn’t go? I didn’t want to be laughed at, or worse, be that weird chick in the corner because everyone brought a friend and all of mine said they needed to lose weight before going with me.


A good way to try fitness classes and other goods and services is to purchase a Groupon deal. Photo by Christopher Donald.


Godzilla crap. Maybe I should have joined another gym FIRST before going to this one???? I looked down at my un-supple thighs, the-abs-I-didn’t-have, and my (baby) bat-wing arms, and groaned at the idea of putting them on public display. Maybe I could lose 20 lbs in the next 10 minutes before I had to leave?


Well, that would definitely be a rather interesting cleanse … but probably not very realistic.


Why didn’t I know anyone who would have the answers I needed? So, obviously, I did the only thing I could possibly do.


I googled.


As an aside, why the hell hasn’t Miss Manners ever written a post about what you wear to a Teaser Pole Dancing class???? She failed me and I may never forgive her for this.


Before I became a blubbering, blubbery mess I checked the Aradia website and saw that I only needed to wear ‘comfortable clothing’.


Oh. Well … that was rather anti-climatic. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t impulse buy those pleather shorts from Amazon that I would never have worn anyway.


Comfy clothes I had in bulk, which meant that unless I was abducted by aliens in the next few minutes, I was going to have to SHOW UP to an actual pole dancing class and hope I didn’t end up looking like a constipated penguin with hemorrhoids when asked to ‘be sexy’.


I was doomed.




So … my first official student blog post and there were so many subjects I could write about (Hi Janine, Xenia, Dom, Angela, Dakota …), but I found myself remembering Khara-of-a-year-ago and knowing how many times I had heard similar worries from others about their first pole class, and just how nervous we all were. Wrongly nervous, as it turns out. If a new student happens to read this, I want you to know that you are not alone.


I look back now and giggle at the idea that I needed to lose weight before going to the gym. Like, really, Khara? Then again, my previous gym experiences were not stellar as I am not A) the type who looks in a mirror and kisses my flexed bicep while mocking everyone who doesn’t look like an Olympian or ? thinks a fun afternoon is only topped by taking multiple shots of organic, free-range and fair-traded wheatgrass harvested from some Tasmanian hilltop by virgin farm-girls who bathe in champagne.


A pole dance studio should be a place where you make friends, gain strength and confidence, and have fun while working out. Photo by Leen Isabel of Pole Dancing Adventures.


We at the Aradia gym in Cary enjoy our tacos and margaritas, and we actually laugh and joke around before, during, and after classes. Many of us even like to hang out together outside of working out, and nobody gives a crap if you don’t want to drink wheatgrass. Or even if you DO want to drink wheatgrass. To each their own, right?


Some of us wear short-shorts to cardio classes, and others wear leggings, but the most commentary you might get about your clothes is someone asking you where you got your awesome gear.


We come in all different body sizes, fitness levels, and ages (I cannot begin to describe how thankful I am for this as I feared that I would be a creaky dinosaur at 34).


I am so glad that I took that first class over a year ago. Yes, I fell off the pole and I am not some pole whiz who shot up the levels. I am not overly graceful, and yes I am working on not looking like a constipated penguin with raging ‘roids when I dance. I struggle, sweat like a pig, take a lot of different classes, and I DEFINITELY complain about burpees (even as I do them) because they completely suck no matter what Xenia says.


But over a year I have more friends and more fun than I did before. I am strong enough to stay up on a pole now, do pushups, and that thing when you’re doing planks and lower yourself to hover half-an-inch over the floor. I can also survive one of Janine’s squat-heavy classes without crying, and I am determined to continually improve.


I wouldn’t have traded the last year for anything, and I’m really, really glad that I didn’t let the fear of the unknown and something as silly as clothes keep me from my first pole class.


Besides, maybe there is a niche out there for constipated penguins twirling around on a pole! No guts, no glory, right?



Khara Johnson joined the Aradia Fitness Cary pole family over 1-year ago and will often be blogging about classes, her experiences, and the studio.  Check our website for recent blog posts from instructors and students.


Article Written by Khara Johnson, Student at Aradia Fitness Cary in Cary, North Carolina.

May 5, 2017