Friends, this is the premiere issue of Pole Spin, "The International Pole Dance Fitness & Lifestyle Magazine." Let's take a look inside, shall we?
The Editor's Letter, from a woman named Tinu, explains that the publication is "the first high quality gloss print magazine for the pole fitness industry." It's also "an outlet to share and showcase pole fitness news around the world."
In this issue, we meet the "pole pumas," none of whom are under the age of 40. The copy reads:
What comes to mind when you think or hear the word [sic] "Pole Dancing"? I can bet my bottom dollar your mind is lingering to firm bodies of young maidens gyrating on brass poles somewhere clad in nothing but what some might call G-strings.
It seems that pole dancing helps people around the world "stay fit at any age," and most of them are "fearless" and "make no apologies for their chosen form of fitness regimen."
And dammit: These ladies look awesome.
Ruth is 77 years old! She and her granddaughter both work the pole. Apparently people come up to Ruth at the mall and comment on the definition in her arm muscles.
Note: What's good for the goose is also good for the gander. There are male pole pumas. Joel will be attending pole camp in the fall. He says he never even went to a strip club until a few months ago, and had no idea pole dancing was a thing. He says: "many still perceive [pole dancing] as a sex related activity. That is an unfortunate stereotype."
Although the magazine does not focus on weight loss, there are stories like this one: Kristina Jung, 19, lost 20 lbs. doing pole dancing, but says slimming down is not really the point: "My long term goal in pole fitness is to be able to perform several routines effortlessly. When I'm good enough, I'd love to perform at least once in a show with dancers and aerialists."
Alesia Vazmitsel was on Britain's Got Talent, and is clearly a strong athlete.
Apparently the nation's first American Pole Fitness Championships happened in late October. I missed it, but Steven "Princeton" Retchless was a competitor. Really, really sad I missed it.
Vakiesha "Skittles" Wimberly was also a competitor. She's a wife and mother of two daughters.
Ladies and gentlemen, Josiah "Bad Azz" Grant.
I'll admit, I was one of the people who thought of pole dancing as something sexual, something women do to show off and please men. So this magazine — with its grilled salmon recipe, positive attitude and stories of women discovering their physical strength — was fairly educational. It showcased men and women of all ages and ethnicities, united in a common past time. Still, even if pole dancing is really just a form of gymnastics, unfortunately, the pole still gets called a "stripper pole." And when you see a nine-year-old tackle it — it heels — it doesn't seem like a wholesome, non-sexual activity. That this is the magazine's editor crawling on the floor in stiletto-heeled boots and a leopard-print cat suit sort of underscores my point.