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Moving (like to a new town, not like on the pole)

By on April 11, 2014

file0001186514517Since I started poling ten years ago, I’ve had four drastic relocations, either between states or continents. (Note that this does not include moving from Queens to Manhattan, which most New Yorkers would consider the most drastic of all.) Each move had different underlying causes, and each held a different place in my pole and aerial career.

Being the new kid in town can be scary and disorienting, even for us big kids. You have to impress at your new job, nest in your new home, and build a life in your new neighborhood. And, for you and me, integrate yourself into a new pole community.

But Pippi, what if I’m an independent, self-training poler? No community for me! Sure, you can isolate yourself and train alone in your room. I’ve done as much for years at a time. But think of it this way: You’re going to have to make new friends anyway. Most adults who move to a new town have no idea where to start. With pole as your hobby, you have an in! Once you find a home studio, or even just a few training partners, you have a built-in social life.

But even with pole as your social lubricant, it’s not always easy to fit in. Here are some suggestions on finding your place in a new home.

Go to all the studios

Don’t think of it as “shopping around,” think of it as pole tourism! When you move to a new city, you want to check out all the sights, the restaurants, the shopping—why wouldn’t you check out all the poles as well?

People tend to go to one studio and then feel like going anywhere else would be disloyal. Loyalty is nice, but when you’re in a new town, it’s limiting. To counteract that instinct, visit all the studios in the area before settling in. Besides getting to really find out which studio is best for you, you’ll meet the most people. And you’ll end up with a wider view of the community than the locals!

Listen, listen, listen

Once you’ve met a few people, get them talking about the local scene. This is as easy as mentioning a studio you’ve been to or a competition you heard about, and letting them take it from there. This has nothing to do with gossip, and everything to do with absorbing the culture. Do dancers, instructors, and studios mostly say nice things about each other, or is there backbiting? Are there local “hot topics,” like an unethical competition or a controversial personality? Is there a lot of inter-studio interaction, such as open workshops and pole jams, or does everyone stay isolated until competition time? You’ll learn lots from these cultural indicators. Try not to judge or form preconceived notions, but do listen for where the drama is, so you can be prepared before you walk into it.

Don’t be shy about looking for friends

Tell people you’re new in town. Tell them you’re still finding your way around. Tell them you haven’t met a lot of people yet. Nobody is going to independently say “Hey you, girl in the corner who I’ve never seen before! Wanna go out for martinis with us after class?” Heck, if you get into a conversation with some students, go on and ask, “So, do people usually go out for drinks after class?” Maybe they do, and you’re welcome to join. Maybe they don’t but they’ve never thought of it before, and now that you mention it, we love drinks!

If you’re indie, and not studio-ing around, take advantage of the online community. I’ve met some pretty cool people by asking, “I’m moving to this new area, does anybody have any friends there they can introduce me to?” Then make plans to meet that person for coffee. Or find a poler online posting near you and say, “Oh wow you live right by me, we should hang out!” And then meet them for coffee. The trick here is to actually do it. So many people say “We should have coffee sometime” and then never get around to it. Pull out your datebook and find out when is good for them!

Don’t try to be a big deal

No matter how skilled you are, you start at the bottom of the totem pole. Maybe you were a big fish in your old home, but you’re in a new pond now. Or maybe you’re legit famous and your reputation precedes you. Even so, approach with humility. As a wise friend once told me, “The smaller the scene, the bigger the egos.” If you really are the shit, people are going to feel threatened. And whether you are or not, if you act like you are, nobody is going to want to hang out with you. Eventually, you’ll find your place as people get to know you. But if you go in trying to be queen bee, whoever you are inadvertently dethroning is going to sting you.

Be patient

Even if you are active, extroverted, and running around going “HI MY NAME IS PIPPI WANNA BE MY FRIEND??” (which is pretty much how I do it), it takes about a  year to find your niche. Don’t lose heart! Families aren’t made overnight. And that is what you really want in the end: a quirky, loving, dysfunctional, supportive, crazy pole family.

Pippi Parnasse

Pippi Parnasse

Pippi Parnasse has over 10 years of experience both in pole and in writing professionally. She lives in "Witch City" Salem MA.
Pippi Parnasse

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: Being a Visitor in a Pole Studio | Bad Kitty Blog | Pole Dancing & Fitness Lifestyle News

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