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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Girls (and Grandmas) Gone Wild

In January 2008, I began work on a trial column for social and nightlife interests in Kansas City. I was in pursuit of a coveted position at a local rag and was honored with a brief (Freelance-style) trial run. In the end it didn't work out. Bad timing, perhaps. (I'm still a student). If I had a "day-job," I wouldn't be quitting it. Still, I had a blast and will always consider it a stone worth stepping. An editor and I played around with a couple of thematic ideas. Initially, I was going to write under a "character" pseudonym called The Pseudonymph and exaggerate my "sexual-side" with humor. However, we later transitioned to the idea of Half-Pint. I'll be posting some of my work on this blog. Without further ado, please enjoy my first article, Girls (and Grandmas) Gone Wild.

Girls (and Grandmas) Gone Wild

Every morning my inbox explodes with misspelled spam for herbal Viagra and male enhancement products.. My nooner consists of a few facebook pokes. And by the end of the day, I am the benevolent recipient of a whole lotta E-movement love courtesy of groups like MoveOn.com and Amnesty International.

I automatically feel compassionate just receiving a “Save Darfur” email. Whether I am actually able to read it is another story; I’m too busy saving myself from a messaging monsoon. After all, in between weeding through this jungle of cyber junk, I need to focus on what I’m really supposed to be doing with company time – checking my MySpace.

It is all so overwhelming… irresponsible, even. But no matter what management method I have tried, this monster just won’t stop. My inbox breeds faster than Britney and Jamie Lynn combined. At this very moment, I have 696 unread messages out of the archived 1,647.
This clearly shows that I am guilty of accepting way too many terms and conditions without reading the entire 20 or so preceding paragraphs. It’s just that the optimist in me feels exploited - I have such an uncontrollable urge to click “OK.”

Recently, I caught myself doing this at Meetup.com. I was looking for one group in particular when the overachiever in me took hold. I ended up joining 14. As if I’d have time for such fraternization with all my inbox deleting duties.

Not surprisingly, this socialization process starts with - you guessed it - more emails. Initially these joined the unopened pleas from Darfur.

Then the snow came.

As I fought off my cabin fever on-line, I started to realize that these groups were onto something. They were taking the online clubbing into the clubs.

The first event that caught my eye as well as my tongue was an Enomatic Wine Tasting hosted by Doc VinoDinero’s Best of Wine and Travel Club.

Wine? Travel? I liked the sound of this. Where would we go? Would I need a passport? It was all so mysterious and romantic.

So I slipped on my big girl pearls and started my journey from midtown to The Wine Bar at Lukas Liquors for my Eno-vino invitation. After the 30 minute trek, the “travel” portion of my evening was complete and I sat in my car taken aback at the sight of a cold, grey big-box store exterior.

To my delight, The Wine Bar was a separate venue attached to the side of the store that absolutely glowed with warmth. With a roaring stone fire place, rustic wooden wine barrels, and the remnants of the ice storm still lurking outside, it was easy to feel like I had just slid off the slopes and into a cozy Colorado lodge.

Immediately, I recognized the organizer from his picture on the site. Part Nick Nolte, part Matt Damon, I was certain the Doc could cure my cabin fever. He gave me a cordial welcome and I joined an equally spirited group at one of the tables.

Jimmy, our wine guide, enlightened me on the Enomatic wine system which lets the taster take charge and allows the wine to be precisely poured and well preserved. You purchase a prepaid card, insert it in the Enoline and voila!

“With just the press of a button,” Jimmy said, “you can select the wine of your choice.”

I flashed back to my online weakness with the accept button and vowed not to get carried away.
Alas, my heart was conquered by the vibrancy of a Spanish Tempranillo – a libation that has been compared to the soul of Spain. With the perfect ice-breaker in hand, I set off to share my deep-bodied discovery. I mixed, mingled and made some converts along the way.

I sat next to a couple who was sticking with the whites and sticking together; they explained they had first met each other at a Meetup and rarely missed a visit with the good Doc, who had some 150 followers.

After a while, we went around in a circle and introduced ourselves. But before I could break into the Amy Winehouse song that was coming to mind, it was time to go-go-go.

The following night, as my cabin fever spiked again, I realized that my Meetup experiment was lacking a control for comparison. Being the dedicated social scientist I am, I decided to give one more outing a shot. My last-minute options were limited to a Cross-stitch Group, Homebirth Meetup, or a Pole Fitness Party. I can't even sew a button and the last home delivery I had was from Pottery Barn.

With not much of a choice and little time to loose, my inner feminist and visceral vixen would have to duke it out later. I grabbed my short shorts, glossed my lips and rushed off to FimbYoga in Lee's Summit. On my way, I shuffled my iPod from Ani DiFranco to the Pussy Cat Dolls, feeling an exciting sense of curiosity.

A bit early, I walked through an entrance of flowing white curtains, which provided an exotic privacy for the Striptease class that was just cooling down. Aside from the stainless steel poles jutting across the room's hardwood floors, the studio was a mellow whisper of tranquility. Warm orange walls and white Oriental floor lamps made for an atmosphere that was far more Bombay Company than Bazooka’s.

“You are going to be become addicted to the pole,” the instructor warned me while I stripped off my boots and down to my bare feet.

I wasn’t convinced that the evening would lead me down a path of pole dancing dependency. If a shaft is going to rock this girl‘s world, it has to meet mighty high expectations – or at least take me to dinner first.

Before getting intimate with my metal, I was required to sign a waiver. I didn’t take this as the best of signs, as we huddled around our leader for a briefing on pole dancing etiquette. “We” were young singles, a grandma of four, and everything in between.

“Do we need names?” piped an energetic blonde.

“Don’t you already have one?” the instructor asked.

“Well, you know, like a stripper name,” the girl responded – whispering the word stripper.

“Stripper is not a four-letter word, honey,” she explained. “You may call yourself - or even your pole - whatever you like.”

I couldn’t resist baptizing myself Pseudonymph and before you could say Astroglide, I was ready to mount the Silver Snake.

My hidden hussy hadn’t seen the light of day since October 31st, but it was like I had never hung up my naughty nurse costume. With each sway and gyration, my connection to the pole intensified. Conquering each new move resulted in a climax of confidence.

On my first attempt at the “The Fireman” trick, I whizzed around the pole like a pro.

“We’ve got a natural!” the instructor exclaimed.

Thanks, but I’ll be keeping my day job.

At $15.00 a class, I’d have to. While it was a bit ironic that we were paying to "shake our money-makers", when all was said and done, I realized the value of stepping beyond your comfort zone and exploring new levels of your character. Empowerment, even from the most surprising places, can be priceless.

1 Comments:

Blogger Brandon Darnell said...

Thanks for your kind encouragement on my blog. I read this and laughed out loud several times. You have a nice writing style and your title was catchy, to say the least. Keep it up.

April 21, 2008 at 3:28 PM  

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