“I’ve been told I have to take my pictures down from Facebook!”
This was the lament of a friend of mine, Jenny, a couple of months ago. Jenny and I share a hobby, though I think it’s fair to say her execution of our common passion is somewhat more deft that mine. We both like pole dancing. Or pole fitness as we prefer to call it. We meet up once a week or so to dangle from poles under the watchful and sometimes exasperated supervision of our instructor, Hayley.
I took up this unlikely pastime a year or so ago. It’s good for keeping fit (well, fitter) and I hate going to the gym or running or any of that other stuff. So, pole fitness was the one for me. It’s sort of girlie, but not in a giggly way, a very feminine form of exercise and the sexy aspects make it more fun because this is just for us. No audience, no judging, and not a shred of lycra in sight.
But back to Facebook. Jenny is a Beaver Leader. For those not familiar, Beavers are the little kids’ version of Scouts and Cubs, for children aged about 5 and 6. Jenny had managed to pull off a particularly showy pose at our pole session one evening, and Hayley photographed it for her. Jenny then posted the picture on her Facebook page for all her friends and fellow polers to admire. She’s a show off, my Facebook is adorned with no such images and never will be, mainly because I look crap and Jenny doesn’t. But I digress.
It seems one of the parents of a little beaver saw the pictures and complained. ‘Conduct unbecoming a Beaver Leader’, they wailed. ‘Not a suitable role model for young and impressionable minds, quite inappropriate.’ Scouting has an image to maintain, one of decency, propriety, respectable behavior. Dangling upside down, half-naked from a pole is not deemed suitable. Not at all. The Grand Beaver called Jenny in for a telling off and insisted she had to remove the offending images at once.
“But it’s private,” insisted Jenny, “and none of their business. And it has nothing to do with Beavers.”
Ah, but such is the power of social media. Nothing is private, and, apparently, Beavers are all-powerful and nothing lies beyond their reach. Jenny had to choose, and the pictures were duly deleted.
I tell this story partly because pole dancing is as close as I suspect I shall get to swinging, but it surely counts. Also, because of the salutary lessons it offers on the dubious notion of privacy in a digital world, misconceptions about pole fitness, and arguably the scouting movement who are not entirely beyond reproach, and perhaps the difficulties in trying to compartmentalise our lives. I could go on, it’s a rich vein. But mainly I value this little insight into the vagaries of morals in public life for the inspiration if gave me to write a short story which has just been accepted for an anthology of ménage stories.
Every cloud, and all that…
Here’s the (draft) blurb for my story, entitled A Very Private Performance. It should be out by July.
For the avoidance of doubt, please be informed that you are a pair of arrogant, self-serving sh**s. Further, you are bigoted, self-righteous phonies.
Not exactly the best way to address the directors of the law firm if I want to hang on to my job, but I’ve had up to here it with James and Daniel Morgan. If they object so strongly to what I do in my spare time they shouldn’t snoop into my Facebook account. Not that any of this self-righteous indignation is going to help me. I’ve been fired.
So, what are they thinking now? First James and Daniel have me dismissed, then they turn up while I’m clearing out my desk as though nothing is wrong and invite me out to lunch? What are they up to? And why am I even going with them?
They may be handsome as sin, the pair of them, and now that they know I’m a pole dancer in my spare time they seem to think I’ll sleep with them to keep my job.
Not that the idea doesn’t have its appeal, but they’re wrong. I have my standards too … and not the double standards these two seem to live by.
If I decide to give James and Daniel Morgan a very private performance it will be on my terms, not theirs.