Monday, May 16, 2011

The Macho Dancer's Pole

Think of strippers and strip bars. What's the usual image one imagines? Naked bodies, fine. And bills tucked to their bikinis. But because I mentioned "pole" already in the title of this post, pole-dancing also comes to mind.

Every strip joint, especially girlie bars, has a pole. One can find it on the stage, either at the dead-center, or at one corner of the bar. American movies show this long, slender rounded piece of steel at the far end of the stage or a runway, near the customer tables. As I said, just mention "pole-dancing" to anyone, and the first thing that comes to their mind is the girlie strip bar, with strippers turning around a tall slender steel bar.

But a pole used by a macho dancer inside a macho dancing gay bar?

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Not so much poles here, in the Philippines. Yes, there are poles in male strip joints in the Western world, with their own style of routine centered on that bar. However, in this part of the world, one could not imagine a muscular half-naked macho dancer doing the same twists and turns as the girl stripper. Thus, poles are not often the center of attention inside a gay bar. In fairness, macho dancing does not really require to do twists and turns of a pole-dancer; the stage is enough.

A stripper this handsome? Not in our part of the world
That's why when I first entered this certain gay bar in Paranaque, I didn't expect to see not only one, but two of these metal rods, one at each side of the stage. Story goes that more than a decade before, this bar used to be a girlie bar, hence the presence of the poles. Aside from this bar, there are some more other gay bars with poles in them. Like some iconic bars in Quezon City where the pole is at the end of the stage, close to the center of the whole bar.

In these gay bars, even though the pole stands there for everyone to use, macho dancers seldom use it. They'd do their gyrations onstage, but never hold the pole. This is especially true for the newbie dancers, who seem too tentative to even go near it, not knowing what to do with that steel bar in their vicinity. Or those who do would actually just hold it, but do nothing else. Veteran dancers however are different.

When in "Home Base", my friends and I have observed that most of the best dancers always use the pole as part of their macho routine. No, they won't swing around it like the girl strippers do. In the middle of their song, they'd approach the metal bar from behind, then with both arms raised slightly over their heads, they'd lean forward with their fists or wrists resting on the bar. Or at the song's crescendo, they'd grip the pole at the lower part with both their hands then their torsos would slither with the signature macho dancer "s"-wave movement. The best at this routine we've seen, "Beatty"*, would place the long steel rod between his thighs, and in a slightly seated position, alternates his grips to the pole, like playing the long shaft with his hands.

In a certain iconic gay bar in Quezon City, I've seen more daring acts using the pole. In the middle of his hard-edged song (click below for the song*), the dancer would grab the upper end of the pole with his legs, then turn upside down. His only grip to the pole would be his legs, but he would be in an inverted position. He'd slowly slide down the pole, until his arms reach the floor. He would dismantle by supporting his weight with his hands pressing on the floor. At times, he would even be joined by another male pole dancer, whose signature move was to run from the center of the stage, jump to reach the pole with his two hands, then swing around the pole. And in those times, they'd be sabay in climbing the poles, one at each end of the stage. They'd get their intended effect of course: cheers and gasps of his fellow macho dancers and the captive audience. Seduction is not their goal, but a speechless awe from spectators. No one else in their gay bar can do their moves.

*Click for the background song used during pole dancing in a certain gay bar
(song lang ha, walang video ng pole dancer)

The best of girl pole dancers, I believe, can make a dirty old man think the steel pole as his own, with the girl playing with it, such as climbing on it, swinging around it, and gripping it while upside-down. However on the gay bar side, I think the best of these pole-using dancers can make customers imagine, with their playful minds, that the steel bar is an extension of the macho dancer's own hard penis. While it is very easy for them to be naughty and play the pole with a masturbatory movement, none actually dared to do so. Pole dancing a la gay bar is serious business.

The pole and the unique dance that came along with it, pole-dancing, has long been associated as a symbol of girl strippers and girlie bars and strip joints. However, in the gay bar, especially those few macho dancing bars in Manila, the pole can have its own meaning. That tall piece of steel bar is what separates the newbies from the experts, the ordinary from the best.

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila



  1. girls use the poles as support in case some dirty guy suddenly grabs them off stage

  2. makes sense.



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