11 June 2011

Working the Pole: OC versus PDX

Back home in Portland, going to a strip club isn't a big deal. If you're a guy or have guy friends, a 21st birthday visit to The Acropolis is de rigueur.  Once upon a time, $24 got your best buddy a steak and a lap dance on his birthday - and I'm not using the word steak as a euphemism for something else, okay? Rumor has it whoever owns "The Acrop" also owns a ranch so they have the best steak special in town.

Portland also has the most strip clubs per capita of any US city. All this competition leads to:
  • Very reasonable drink prices
  • No cover charge for ladies
  • Christmas specials
  • and Stripperoke nights
    (the person singing karaoke performs with two strippers, if the singer stinks, the girls keep their clothes on and take the microphone away).

goldfish with buggy eyes
Perhaps due to the reasons described above,  Portland strip clubs also have a more diverse clientele.  The average club attracts couples, groups of friends and yeah, a few creepy dudes.

There are also a wider variety of strippers in PDX, they're not all blonde freaks of nature with boobs that stick out like goldfish eyeballs. We have strippers who wear glasses, dance with fire, chicks with mohawks, and girls who are tatted from neck to ankle and all places in between.

When I moved to (very conservative) Orange County, I expected folks would have a different attitude. I was only half right.
Not surprisingly, going to a strip club is the kind of thing OC people do only as part of their "crazy" weekend in Vegas. Pffft! The only thing crazy about strip clubs in Vegas are the drink prices and the super-creepy no alcohol clubs. But, I digress..

So, while the stripper thing is verboten here in the OC, pole dancing is huge. HUGE.

stripper pole on a trailer hitch by Platinum Stages Newport Beach, CAThere are at least nine pole dancing schools in Orange County including Pilates on the Pole and another company that will bring stripper poles to your house for a "pole party." If Portland has the most pole dancing clubs per captia, OC must have the most pole dancing schools.

But wait there's more. A Newport Beach company sells all kinds of pole set-ups for your home or vehicle. If you want a stripper pole on your trailer hitch, it can be yours for only $399.

Personally, I've always wondered how pole dancers learn their skills. You never see a stripper mess up or fall off, is there a practice pole in the back of the club? Well, now aspiring strippers can wait for an OC Pole Fitness Groupon and start their career training for only $20.

Okay, I'm mostly kidding. 

Collette and her daughters
In case you hadn't guessed, there's no stripping at the OC pole dancing classes. In fact, some of the women become serious athletes.

The OC is home to Collette Kakuk, a mom and founding member of the PFA (Pole Fitness Association). One of the association's goals is to get pole dancing in the 2012 Olympics.

After watching highlights from the American Pole Fitness Championships 2010 (co-ed, who knew?) and world champion pole dancer Felix Cane (see video below)... I can see the logic. The activity requires significant strength and grace ala gymnastics and the competitors are no more scantily-clad than a volleyball player or springboard diver.

Just for S's and G's I inquired about pole fitness back home. Turns out Portland has a bar that recently installed stripper poles for amateurs and two pole dancing schools. We damn well better. If a Portlander can't win a gold medal for stripping, that'd be worse than a Canadian hockey team losing the Stanley Cup to a team from California.

By the way, if you're receiving this as an email, you may need to click through to the website to view videos and images.

Want to read more about (ehem) Portland's nightlife? Check out my 2007 Home for the Holidays post.


Unknown said...

I'm a little disappointed that Portland has fallen so behind in the stripper scene.

And, I don't think that ranch thing at the Acrop is a rumor...I'm pretty sure it's true. I still haven't been there, though.

Jeff H. said...

A few things:

1. Do strippers have special disability insurance? That pole is 30 feet high! Shouldn't there be helmet laws?
2. Is food hygiene better or worse in a strip joint then I imagine? It seems like a bad place to enjoy a good meal but it could be one of those contrarian things.

Unknown said...

Love your blog...and thank you for writing about my company, OC Pole Fitness. Let us know anytime you wish to come take a free class :) xoxo - Collette (founder, OC Pole Fitness)