I used to live with a pole dancer. Before I lived with one, I assumed all pole dancers were buxom blondes with long pink fingernails and sparkly bum floss (aka G-strings). I was wrong. David was an athletic aerial gymnast who decided to apply his strength and flexibility elsewhere. A sexy elsewhere.

One time I arrived home to find a two-and-a-half metre freestanding pole erected in our lounge room. I immediately ditched my backpack and climbed to the top, hung on for as long as I could, then slid down again. That was the extent of my “tricks”. Sexy.

Those pole dancers make it look so easy – slinking up like a serpent, hanging upside down by the backs of their knees, then basically free-falling to the ground, only to catch themselves at the last minute.

All I can say is holy guacamole – and ouch! David’s leg bruises were the sign of a man who suffered for his art. And his daily protein shakes revealed the effort behind those seemingly effortless pole-tastic feats.

I got to see David in action last week at Sydney’s Encore! Pole Show. He was one of three male performers amongst a sea of super strong, feminine ladies with rockin’ abs.

The night was chock-full of surprises. I didn’t expect to see a congenital amputee perform a pole routine with one arm – but I did. I didn’t expect to see a queer feminist activist gyrate to Nine Inch Nails’ Closer with the lyrics “I want to fuck you like an animal” while calling for stripper pride – but I did.

So much win. So much skin. Collectively pole dancers must keep Australia’s hair-removal industry afloat.

David’s routine was performed to Ryan James Yezak’s Second Class Citizens. You might know it as the ‘I Want To Know What It’s Like’ YouTube video about discrimination against the LGBT community.

David walked out on stage in a pair of faded jeans as the video started behind him. He carefully stripped down to his white Y-front jocks, clasped the pole and performed an elegant, heartfelt routine that brought many in the crowd to tears. He even got a standing ovation. It was beautiful.

I didn’t tear up though – I was too distracted seeing my ex-housemate on stage in his undies. Just lucky it wasn’t sparkly bum floss.

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