I’ve always had a hard time explaining what I do for a living. You see, I have a very nuanced set of skills, to paraphrase Liam Neeson’s character in “Taken”. I am a Security Consultant. Now before your mind runs through thoughts of Bond and Paul Blart: Mall cop, I am neither; but in my head and especially during job highs and lows I am somewhere in between. If this seems vague; wait till you hear what my girlfriend does. My girlfriend is a Pole-fitness instructor. Her name is Kayleen and she’s the company manager of Polecats Manila, the true blue no-hype, see for yourself, finest pole school in the country. Now, usually I would avoid using the term pole dancer. The work she and the other girls put into the school is astounding and as much as I would like to say otherwise, the label “pole dancer” doesn’t do the girls justice. The connotation of what a pole dancer and the thoughts you can read in a guy’s mind is just not worth the hypothetical tussle and real world fistfights. But I’m confident that at the blink of an eye me and the other boyfriends would jump in a riot if any of our girls felt harassed. When Kayleen first started taking classes under CD, their founder, I think she only owned 2 pairs of shorts that she used sparingly. Now, it’s almost the only thing that makes her feel comfortable at all. Not that shifting to a predominantly short-pants based wardrobe was of concern to me. But the emergence of unexplained nasty bruises on her thighs, legs, arms and shoulders probably caused people to speculate if I was beating her up on a regular basis, Chris Brown style. It didn’t help that she never offered clarifications to curious people back then. I’m pretty sure other pole boyfriends and husbands went through the same phase. New pole students go through the stages of being worried at first then transitioning to being proud of their bruises as if they were battle scars. In the meantime, partners just hope they don’t get arrested on battery suspicions.
When the Polecats were formed, things got to get more intense as rehearsals and training went from a casual twice a week session to almost daily. And when I say daily, I mean it with the odd mix of tiny annoyance but 100% support. We literally saw everyone every single day. But truthfully, I was happy that she found a strong group of girls in the Polecats. Even without a dance background, Kayleen took to it like fish to water. Little did we know the girls would explode into the fitness scene the way they did. As it is now, boyfriends and husbands aren’t allowed inside the studio, so it was only after class that I’d get to hear how her session went and what new things she learned. In my head, I tried my best to understand the names of constellations and contorted mythical references she was describing: Gemini, Scorpio, Cupid, Twisted skater, Bow and arrow. They were all so foreign to me, but I was developing an interest since Kayleen seemed so engrossed in what she was learning. But until you see the girls perform, all these names won’t make sense to you. It’s like describing food; you will never get it until you’re able to taste it. After class, we’d eat at nearby places in Wilson St where the old studio used to be. Using a straw and her fingers, she would mimic the moves she learned every night. The idea of a person supporting her body weight using her armpit and knees is beyond my comprehension. To be honest, after hundreds of training nights, so many events, a couple of titles and international recognition for the members, I’m still not sure how they do it exactly. One of the things I appreciated about CD’s school of thought at the time, was how the girls were against the idea of the traditional pole-dance connotation of gyrating on the pole to look sexy, or as we would call it, “giling-giling”. This was the school of thought that the Polecats believed in. If this was the premise, then this was also a mission. Slowly, I was becoming indoctrinated into a renegade group who wanted to take back what sexy being meant. There’s nothing like a nice good cause to rile up support. One by one, I would get to meet the other men in what eventually would become the Polecats Family. Lester, Bennett, AJ, King, Niki & Chot all come from different backgrounds, a C-Level Executive, a business man, a Banker, a Med Rep, a Radio Jock & a multi awarded director. All different as different can be with very little in common, but somehow working well together and getting along even better than the girls expected.
We are the girl’s protectors first and foremost, and even when our partner isn’t in an event, the protection is shared to all. To some degree, we became consultants and collaborators, applying our different specializations in life and some of our inane skills for the Polecats Family. For example, I take the photos while AJ drives the pickup truck and CD distracts the city traffic enforcer on a busy Makati road. I talk to the mall security, set up a barricade while Chot stays in front of the stage ready to throw out anyone who crosses the line. King shoots the video while Niki does the smooth voice over and the occasional smoothing over of a jack-ass in the audience. Bennett digests the business model and spits out the soundest advice, as he is one of the most supportive of us and the harshest of their critics. Lester, well he does everything else that matters, most of the time. It’s different when you just bring your girl to and from the studio than to spend your nights and weekends watching them rehearse and train to become stronger. It’s different when you hear about the training and actually attend trainings with them, watch them become better students and better teachers for the benefit of the other girls who train under the Polecats School. It’s different when you buy your girlfriend a pole as opposed to actually helping her set it up and take it down countless times in a month. It’s different when you just come to a show than actually carry the stages and the poles to a venue, wipe the poles and take a million photos and edit videos for the girls. That feeling is something I can only share with the other Police, as the men are fondly called. Having to worry about the safety of your girlfriend does not go away. But it helps to know that these girls do things in the safest possible environment and care for each other. They let students progress towards a technique instead of just showing them how to do tricks. They don’t let the student misjudge her own skill level when she hasn’t even gotten the fundamentals down. The way I see it, you earn each move and technique because you work hard for it. You don’t jump a building on your first day of parkour and neither do you bench press two times your weight on your first gym session. If you want to be good at what you do and grow old doing what you love, you build up to it. Method is what sets them apart, and trust me, it shows during gigs and performance. When the stage is lit and the girls are mid-air, just stand in awe of your woman’s lines and figure. That there is real sexiness, that there is your girlfriend the pole dancer. Despite your fears, you just have to trust in the training as well as the strength of your girlfriend or wife. Prayer doesn’t hurt either. At the end of the day, you will come to learn that these ladies are tough little things. Have you ever tried getting a jujitsu arm-bar from a pole dancer? Can you imagine if all that core, back and leg strength were used against you? That experience was not fun. But that story is for a different time. My girlfriend is a pole dancer and she can kick your ass.
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