Friday, August 21, 2015

What Being in a Pole Competition is REALLY Like

Short disclaimer: There are a lot of things about competitions I like, obviously, or I wouldn't keep participating in them. This post is meant to be tongue in cheek and while I feel that there is truth written here, it is not without respect to all pole event producers, judges, and competitors. 


Pole competitions. They're so glitzy and glamorous. Not to mention all the rage...because pole isn't interesting enough to sell tickets unless there is a clear winner at the end of the night. And sometimes even with winners and losers it still isn't enough to sell tickets. But if you want to sell any tickets at all, you may as well at least declare a winner. So competitions it is!

You've probably watched your favorite idols rise to the top by claiming championship titles and fancy trophies at such pole competitions. You think, all starry eyed and full of hope, "that could be me up there one day, being validated by a medal and cheering people and viral videos on Facebook and thousands of Instagram likes." You dream of living the exact same dream and career path as every other star in the industry. You know the one? The dream of touring Europe and other white people countries teaching and selling your very own overpriced clothing line while meanwhile still making almost no money.

I call this design "Pole dancer on a kitty-corn carousel with glitter." I'm going to put it on a t-shirt and sell them for $100 each. 

But don't worry. It's all for passion.


You wanna compete? Wanna know how it really goes? Can you handle the truth, punk!?!?!

If you think so, read on.

One day, after letting all the feelings described above brew in your hopeful little heart for awhile, you decide there just isn't enough stress in your life and try to enter a competition.

Don't think you're good enough? Don't worry, you can just pay someone $100 to put you on stage if you can't qualify through a video submission. Despite the absolute absence of filtering for quality, I'm sure it will still be an interesting show and valuable of your time and effort.

Otherwise you just grab the latest routine you've done on video and pay someone about $50 or so to decide if you are worthy.  You ARE doing routines like, all the time, right? No? Just freestyle for 4 minutes. I'm sure you'll be fine. You don't get that money back if you aren't, by the way. Oh no. They keep that fiddy bucks for having to sit through your worthless video. Mwahahaha. Evil laugh.

Try to forget about it for a few weeks. Then three days before you are supposed to hear back, anxiously check your email every 5 seconds.

You also check it every 5 seconds for another three to seven days after that as well, because most likely they'll be late putting the results out.

Boom! The email finally comes. Congrats! You got in. Quick, you better tell everyone you ever knew via every social media platform RIGHT AWAY because they are presently not thinking about you or how awesome you are and need a reminder as often as possible.

You get right down to things by putting off starting your routine for anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. That shit isn't nearly as important as being lazy and/or aimlessly rolling around the floor next to the pole.

Then, about a month before the big show is a really great time to freak out and panic and start hashing something together. I recommend putting every single you move you have ever learned how to do in your routine. Or at least all the hardest ones. Think nothing of the concept, the character, or the composition of movement to create a unique and interesting work of art. That's not what competitions are about. They about DIFFICULT, MIND BLOWING SHIT. Plus maaaaybe some highly derivative and uninspired contemporary dance moves thrown in  there. You know. For that artistry score.

You've probably got a really good song though, at least. They play it on the radio ALL the time, so you know the audience and judges will love it. Another bonus: if the song is especially good there won't be any dramatic moments to add in refined musicality. You won't have to worry about missing a single beat.

You go into the studio as much as you possibly can. Your training starts with an hour of procrastination. Or "polecrastination" because this is the pole community and we can't have enough puns. Then you're like "ok, ok, I'll do this thing that I don't actually want to do because it's super hard." Then you get distracted drooling at your body in the mirror for another 5 minutes because you have lots of cool muscles to look at.

Be jealous of my 2-pack

THEN and only then do you run through your combos and/or routine over and over again, each time being unable to breath immediately afterwards in a way that requires you to lay prostate on the floor for at least 5-10 minutes each time so you can de-sweat and start again.

After 3 hours of training you've only really moved for about 30 minutes total. Yet somehow you are still feeling like rubberbands attached to a giant cinderblock. You trudge out the studio, go eat an entire pizza because you def need at least 3000 extra calories to refuel after all that training, and don't socialize at all or get anything productive done for the rest of the day because you are too wiped out.

If you couldn't tell, that is a cinderblock with rubber band limbs eating a pizza.

You repeat this as much as 5-6 times a week in preparation before the big show, ignoring bodily injuries, work, all your friends and loved ones, and basically any other thing that will signal to you that this process sucks super hardcore and you need to stop so you can live an emotionally stable life. (But don't worry. It's all for passion) You start a special diet which you immediately ignore in favor of ice cream because, um, ice cream? You consistently oscillate every half an hour between feeling like an utter piece of turd being birthed by an even uglier piece of turd because your work is so shitty and then feeling like a goddamn freaking queen of all badass pole bitches and practice your faux-surprised "I WON?!?" face in the mirror because you know for sure you will wipe the competition away. This goes on for awhile...until you finally feel ready to hit the stage.

This is of course a week before the show and then you realize you still don't have a costume at all. So you order random pretty things online that have nothing to do with your theme and pay double for the expedited shipping and pray it arrives on time and everything fits and is perfect. Because if it doesn't you are screwed.

Give yourself a day off beforehand to make sure you are ready. This will give your body time to rest and your mind to freak out as you anxiously re-watch your practice videos over and over again and think about how you could have worked harder but it is all in vain now.

Try to keep your face from doing this all day.


If you are lucky the competition takes place locally and you can enjoy your normal life up until and on the day of, even though you probably won't because you'll still be anxious and bouncing off the walls all day. If you had to travel, not only did you have to pay anywhere from $200-$2,000 to get there, along with the rental car, hotel, costume, and food funds from your own pocket so that someone else can make money off of the show* you've worked your ass to be in but you also get to sit around alone all day because you don't really know anyone there and it's really awkward and uncomfortable. But don't worry. It's all for passion.

Aren't you having fun making new friends?

You wake up at 6 am even though you normally sleep until 10 because your heart has been racing in your sleep and you worry you will go into cardiac arrest if you are helplessly laying in bed any longer. You have approximately 12 hours before you need to show up to the venue. So no need to rush things.

You start doing your make up at 8 am and make sure to put that costume on at that time as well, complete with tape around the crotch already. You will inevitably forget about this as you go to the bathroom about 15 times throughout the course of the day and then another 5 times while you stress poop at the venue and will have to keep re-taping your vagina shut. (i.e. make sure you have plenty of tape and get a Brazilian beforehand). This all goes right along with making sure you warm up 4 hours early and then stay warm the entire time until you go on stage.

At the venue, you test the poles. The spin pole is always too slow. Always. Meaning your spin pole pass will probably turn out like shit. Get over it now.

You go back stage. Make a big mess of all your shit, ideally mixing it up with all the exact same shit other people brought. You try not to make any eye contact in case anyone is gonna be the backstage bitch but still be smiley and friendly in case people start mistaking you as the backstage bitch. This is the anomaly of the backstage bitch in pole competitions. There isn't one. Yet everyone is it.

You get coffee, get really jittery, do 500 jumping jacks. But stop there, because you want to save your energy for the stage. You sit around for what feels like 500 hours, waiting your turn with your headphones plugged in while you do really intense pantomimes of your routine like a mad woman. Your breathing gets really intense. You take a shower in grip aids. You jump in place for about 10 minutes straight just before getting on stage. You keep applying your goddamn lipstick because how does anyone keep that on for more than 3 minutes at a time, anyway?

Goddamn lipstick

Ok. It's time to go on.

You black out for 4-5 minutes.

You come off stage dying and gasping for air as you feel a black demon rain cloud lifting out of your body and into the ether, losing about 10 lbs of weight in the process, getting a little light headed as you crawl to your water bottle and think "holy crap it's finally over," and contemplate why anyone ever tries to do this, especially yourself. You collapse. If you are lucky you collapse into a decent pair of pants so when they drag your body onto stage for the prize ceremony you don't look like a complete hot mess in your sweaty costume, your taped vagina askew, and stage make up smeared all over your face like Linday Lohan after a night of clubbing. You clap and smile as people say things and chances are you get boned and get nothing in return. If you were especially exceptional, you get a medal or a trophy and a slightly empty feeling inside of "now what?" ...Unless there is a cash prize and then you are actually happy because you maybe broke even on the cost of doing this whole thing, unlike all these other gullible bitches. If it's a qualifier to another competition you also get that lead weight of dread inserted right back into your stomach because congrats! You are about to do that all over again.

You also get that feeling if you didn't want to win but one day you still really want to win and so you know you are going to do it again.

But don't worry. It's all for passion.

You were gonna go out to the after party but as it turns out bouncing up and down for 8 hours straight and then doing a 5 minute routine is really exhausting so you just go home, but not without swinging by McDonalds first so you can eat a celebratory meal you will instantly regret. You sleep off the night of anxiety and wake up in the morning and try to pretend the whole thing never happened, but not without posting about to instagram first and thanking every person you have ever met in your entire life on Facebook.


...still want to compete?

If no, congrats. You are a sane person.

If yes, congrats. You are just as stupid as I am. Welcome to the club.

*Which is no one in the end, really. But usually the judges teaching workshops get at least something out of it...which are usually people that have paid their dues, AKA competed before it was super duper popular and easier to win even though they haven't done anything very interesting in the past 2-3 years and are the reason that even if you do win you won't be able to achieve your identical-to-their-career-dream because their experience and idolization is dominating the oh so circular market...This is still a humor blog, right? 


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  3. Very hilarious, and nice drawings too.