"Help! I'm in need of a vaulted ceiling mount soon ... the heel marks on my bedroom ceiling are crazy!"
"I have a group of ladies polishing it off tonight in our Level 5 routine! :) We love it!"
Reading the customer comments on the popular X-Pole Facebook fan page provides merely a taste of the intense craze that's gone from the strip club to the living room, to the bedroom, to the gymnasium and beyond.
Pole dancing is no longer just for bachelor parties and "gentlemen's clubs." And the women who wrap them themselves around the poles are no longer "exotic" dancers with names like Brandy, Bambi and Jasmine. In fact, they may be your neighbor's wife or the town librarian.
Just ask Ty Knutson, president and CEO of X-Pole, the world leader in "professional portable exercise and dance poles." His product now caters to arguably the fastest-growing exercise craze both in the U.S. and abroad, a "sport" that features competitions, teams and many tongue-wagging fans.
"I had been distributing a novelty product years ago called the Peek-a-Boo Pole," Knutson told AOL News. "This was a 'prancing pole' as opposed to a 'dancing pole,' which is something much sturdier. It came with a garter, some fake money -- basically a disposable pole that guys could use for a bachelor party or two."
Then, about five years ago, Knutson helped develop the "X-Pole X-pert," which was more or less a regulation stripping pole (this after a friend's wife wanted to learn to pole-dance at home).
From there, Knutson marketed his pole into exotic dancing clubs around the world. But then something happened. He noticed that some of the girls who danced on his pole were actually using it off-hours to exercise.
"The were developing a kind of aerobics program that gave us the idea that the pole could live outside the club and in the home, for people that wanted to lose weight. As that took off, we realized that it could go further -- as a sport."
So Knutson put together a troupe of 12 "X-Pole Girls" who now serve as fit, sexy ambassadors for both the X-Pole product and the sport in general. As well, this Sunday will mark the second annual California Pole Dance Championships, presented by X-Pole and featuring well-known judges like dancer/choreographer Fatima Robinson.
As for who the X-Pole target customer is, Knutson says it runs the gamut. "For starters, we're at about 99 percent women and 1 percent male. Yes, there are men who get on the pole, and all you have to do is search 'Joel Lessing' on YouTube."
The 60-year-old Lessing has become a bit of a video viral sensation thanks to X-Pole, and Knutson says one must never be surprised about who uses the pole today.
"The majority of our users are women, 18 and over, and we're talking all kinds of women. Ladies up to 250 pounds who want to lose weight, elderly ladies trying to get back some youth and everything in between. Despite the obvious appeal of pole dancing, the weight loss aspect for us is a real story, along with the sports angle -- there are some incredible athletes now working out on the pole."
Still, Knutson admits there is also something just vicariously sexy about pole dancing in the home.
"It's absolutely a thrill for some women to pole-dance for their significant other, and, hey, if they're getting exercise at the same time, that's a win-win."
The poles, made in Shanghai, come in two sizes, 45 and 50 millimeters (depending on your hand size), and you can order either titanium gold or a chrome finish.
"Seinfeld" fans may remember the story line involving "Festivus" poles, used to celebrate a secular holiday on Dec. 23. Anybody ever use X-Poles for that?
"Not that I've heard," said Knutson. "But with the kinds of things we read on our Facebook page, it would not surprise me. Our customers are known for getting highly involved."