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The fine art of pole dancing 

I am often told that I dance like a stripper ... just, fully dressed in self-esteem. I don't know whether or not to take it as a compliment, but I have managed to utilize this random talent as a form of exercise via the creation of "Hip-Hot," a form of cardio striptease. I take hip-hop like I taught at the Dowd YMCA and add some sass, hips and hair tossing. Unfortunately, however, I am now branded by this slutty skill thanks to Google.

On a side note, doesn't it seem as though the Dowd is as much a hot spot in Charlotte as Forum? It gets so crowded, I have even been rejected from Zumba class because it reached maximum capacity; meanwhile people crowd the machines like they would a bar. "Do you go to the Dowd?" is now a go-to pick-up line -- perhaps commonly used at Forum.

Now, it may not be my first time at the rodeo, but the art of pole dancing intimidates me. It looks more like gymnastics than dancing, and every time I've been to a strip club I've wanted to run up on stage and Lysol the pole between strippers.

But when I saw BAR Charlotte was offering Pole Dancing 101, it piqued my interest, but still not enough to actually go to BAR.

Normally, these classes are in a private setting, such as B-Risque Fitness' Girls Night Out. But instead Pole Dance Charlotte went to the skankiest bar in town -- where stripper poles are part of the ambiance -- to offer pole dancing classes for the small price of public humiliation. And they gave $500 for best pole dance virgin. Sounds more like stripper college.

And upon graduation there's a plethora of local strip clubs to execute these newfound skills. Starting with Uptown Cabaret's amateur night on Sundays. And then there's Rick's Cabaret, Peaches N Cream Cabaret, some scary looking clubs on South Boulevard, Crazy Horse Showclub in the "strip mall" on Independence neighboring The Red Door and Adam and Eve, and let's not forget The Men's Club, not to be confused with The Gentlemen's Club.

Then there's Club Onyx, an "urban and upscale" gentlemen's club. Upscale as in they offer $2 Tuesdays where you can get $2 beers and $2 dances. But one of my boys said it's a stripper scam: "It's $2 a song, but the DJ makes each song like two seconds long."

I may dance like a stripper, but if you catch me in Uptown Cabaret it's only for their late night breakfast. Because tits and grits sure do beat the Waffle House.

Speaking of stripping, I hope everyone got naked with their loved ones for Valentine's Day.

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