So I have a funny story.
Several days ago I visited a special someone on his birthday. He requested that no one give presents; instead, we should make donations to his favorite charity. But of course close friends are still going to buy something, little knick-knacks of thoughtfulness filled with inside jokes. So the night of his birthday party his house was filled with ridiculour dollar-store finds, piled on his couch, his kitchen table, everywhere.
As he showed me all his new toys, he reached behind a table, and pulled out a thick cardboard tube. On the side it said Do-It-Yourself Stripper Pole Kit. And he handed it to me. "This is for you." And he smiled.
He was very excited to get a dance for his birthday, he said, when we were alone. I said the moment would definitely need large amounts of liquor. We both laughed. And I dropped it, as I thought he was kidding. Because really, it wasn't going to happen.
But drop it, he did not. He really wanted a pole dance for his birthday.
He wanted to see the hanging from the pole and swinging around the legs, the spinning around the pole in the air, the dancing around while shaking back and forth. And he rubbed me on the bum, and smiled. "It's my birthday," he said. "Please."
I waited until he was in the shower to take the pole out of its box. I wanted to look at it alone, and get in a trial run without anyone watching. The pole came in three pieces, with a spring-loaded extension to wedge it between the ceiling and the floor. I put the pole together, and locked it into place between the beams that criss-crossed his ceiling. Wedged in-between those beams, it was really stable. I shook it back and forth, it didn't move. I grabbed it with one hand and leaned back, putting all my weight on it, and it didn't move. I jumped up onto it and wrapped my hands and legs around it, holding myself up in the air. All good.
But no way. There was no way I was going to dance on that thing. I could see myself in a little thong or something stupid, bouncing around like a trained monkey. Correction: a pudgy, out-of-shape trained monkey with pasty skin. I would rather die. So I got down and walked away, blushing so hot I could feel the burn. Imagine how ridiculous I would look. Good God.
I walked into the other bathroom, and looked in the mirror. I took off my shirt. And I looked at myself, looked at the weight I've gained and the wrinkles on my face and the hair that has myseriously migrated off of my head and found a new home scattered around my chest. Once upon a time, I did not look like this. There was a time I could dance around naked and get away with it. Back then, this layer of fat over everything did not exist.
I put my shirt back on.
I walked into the living room again, and looked at the pole in the middle of the room. I could hear the shower running, he was still in there. And I thought about him, and how he is such a great, great guy, so nice and funny and kind. Those little comments of "you're beautiful" and such, I know he means them, even though the voices in my head tell me he's just trying to be nice. The only thing holding me back is the problem that I'm just insecure about the way I look. And it's my problem, not his. I need to lighten up.
If it's a pole dance he wants, I thought, it's a pole dance he'll get.
I inhaled a deep breath, and took a running leap to jump on that pole and execute an ultra-sexy move that would be the sexiest, the hottest, the most amazing move ever. One two three UP!
When all my weight hit the pole mid-air, it ripped through the beams on the ceiling, sending a chunk of wood flying across the room, and crashed into the fireplace mantle, knocking a gash into the trim. The shelf above the mantle was filled with scrimshaw, antique pieces of ivory hand-carved into intricate designs--these are now impossible to find, as ivory trade is illegal, making them incomprehensively expensive--and the pole ripped through the little stands holding all those pieces, clearing the shelf and scattering scrimshaw around the room. I could do nothing more than hang onto the pole for dear life, and the pole slid off the mantle, crashing me onto the hardwood floor. Right square flat on my ass. BOOM.
He ran out of the bathroom, with a horrified look on his face. "Are you alright?!?" he yelled, as he entered the room, first looking at me, then at the pole that had fallen back into pieces, and then the chaos of his once-nice house. I just stared at the ceiling, flat on my back, gasping for a breath.
"I think I'm too big for this thing," I sputtered.
He laughed, and extended a hand to help me up. "I can't believe you actually tried it."