I’m not sure whose fault it is, exactly, but I have the coordination of a drunken octopus on rollerblades.
It’s particularly a bummer this time of year because:
1) There are usually weddings to attend (and unless the couple is really square, there will be dancing).
2) So You Think You Can Dance is lighting up the small-screen with people who can definitely dance.
I think it’s often the case that we admire those who are immensely talented in areas where we consider ourselves lacking. After concerts (I sing) there are always a few people who come up to me and say “I just don’t know how you do that!” and I think to myself I don’t know how NOT to. I’ve been singing pretty much since I could make sounds and singing in front of people since I was 8 or so. It comes naturally to me. I have honed my skills with years of training (thanks Mom and Dad!) but it started with just some raw ability and interest. My parents are musical, so I came by it honestly enough and I was exposed to it a vast amount of good music starting in utero. (Apparently I would kick my way through my parents’ trips to the symphony before I was even born.)
Unfortunately for me, my parents may be music-lovers, but they’re definitely NOT dancers. Both were raised in the Baptist church and the Baptists (at least the old-school ones) were pretty firm in their stance on dancing being a direct ticket to hell (with inevitable pit-stops in fornication paving the way).
**I think my Mom would appreciate my clarifying that she is now more of a born-again-skeptic/free-thinker who left her rigid Baptist roots behind decades ago.**
But she was still a pretty conservative parent when my sister and I were growing up:
When all the little girls in my class were drowning in tutus and jazz shoes my Mom was firm in her belief that the dance moves they were learning contained ‘lewd gyrations’ inappropriate for children. I think she was convinced they were all going to grow up to be strippers or hookers. As it has turned out, I still know many of them and most are married, have young children and hold university degrees in fields like nursing, teaching and occupational therapy. I think there’s even one veterinarian and one dentist. Not quite the heroin-addicted harlots my Mom envisioned.
Alas, while these unexpectedly upstanding citizens boogie down at special events, I find myself with limited options.
1) Sit out everything but the slow dances
2) Dance awkwardly and self-consciously in a style that could best be described as octogenarian-foreign-exchange-student-on-horse-tranquilizers
3) Get so blindingly intoxicated that my self-consciousness gives way to unashamed ass-shaking (I spent 4 post-secondary years in this state)
The other complicating factor is my spouse. My blessed husband falls into the rare and fascinating category of a man with decent rhythm, average dancing ability and limitless confidence about his dancing prowess. He possesses genuine certainty that he is a dancing-savant and the amazing thing is, everyone is so distracted by his enthusiasm that they think he’s a fabulous dancer. It’s like a great-dancer-mirage. Upon consideration though, I think there’s a lesson here: Dancing is obviously at least 50% confidence. Do the math. If you’re 100% confident, even if you’ve only got 60% ability, you get an A. (Yes, I used a calculator to make sure.)
I guess that’s where the booze comes in handy. You can drink your way to confidence and then even a failing dance grade of 40% gets you a solid B (or B- depending on your scale). Perhaps I’m confusing confidence with not-giving-a-shit, but either way, you’ll have a better time.
Not unlike the tone-deaf music lovers who are ‘rock stars in their own cars’, I have been known to dance around my (empty!) house while cooking or cleaning. The dogs look at me funny but who are they to judge? Crotch-sniffing creatures don’t get a vote.
I guess me and my 8 left feet just need to learn to ‘Dance like there’s nobody watching’ or some other cliché meant to make clumsy people feel better about themselves.
Nah, fuck it. I’ve never been one for clichés. I think I’ll stick with liquor.