Operating under the assumption that I am occasionally funny, this is a humor column, and few things are quite so humorous as the quasi-coordinated trying to dance.
To be fair, I include myself in that category. On an average day, I consider myself a decent dancer, but I can’t rave, I can’t breakdance, and as far as I’m concerned, the “rumba” is spelled r-o-o-m-b-a and refers to my early morning routine: shuffling around my hovel picking up dirt with my socks and bumping into walls.
Nobody dances badly when they’re by themselves in socks and undies (unless it’s documented — so says the Heisenboogie Uncertainty Principle, and if that pun doesn’t get my science license revoked, I don’t know what will), but when out in a public setting, it’s easy to become self-conscious.
It’s terrifying, the idea that everyone’s looking at you, watching your every movement, and judging your dancing abilities based on a first impression. Fortunately, however, that idea is complete bollocks — they’re not judging your dancing abilities, they’re judging you. Mwahaha.
Once your average social dance has more than half a dozen people on the floor, one finds that unless a person shares the same dance cell as you, they’ll be concentrating on their own dancing. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, “dance cell,” it’s how I describe the circular formation of three or more people into which dancers inevitably divide themselves on the floor. You know what I’m referring to.
In all likelihood, there’s another, more official term for it, but I have neither the motivation nor the interest to look it up, neener neener neener. The term doesn’t really apply for people who are moshing or grinding, but mosh pits are so tight that people see more of your forehead than your footwork, and if you’re spending most of your dance time grinding, chances are you’re competing to see who can stave off the inevitable wedgie the longest.
What this means for those among us who take a while to loosen up before being able to eviscerate a rug on the dance floor is that we should enjoy ourselves rather than worry about judgmental spectators. Worrying about how we appear to the point where it undermines what we’re doing is like spending your Facebook time spreadsheeting the applications. Sure, you might be the best one out there, but if you’re not having fun, it’s not a pastime, it’s a job — and a sub-minimum-wage one, at that.
How much fun I have at a dance depends on a delicate balance of the skill and enthusiasm of the people I’m dancing with. In the aforementioned dance cell, I enjoy myself much more when my cellmates are enjoying themselves and dancing with gusto, although an overly gusto-infused glowstick to the face can put a damper on any evening.
Dancing with a talented partner one-on-one, however, puts a smile back under that black eye somewhat faster than a psychotic clown with cosmetic surgery as a hobby.
In these past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting acres of people who have made my weekend much more enjoyable on the dance front than I expected. Shoutouts are therefore accorded to Batman’s rogues gallery, a competitive ballroom dancer, and an intrepid group of adventurers who, amazingly enough, didn’t mind riding the T in formalwear. You know who you are. (No, not you.)
Alas, I still suspect that a successful re-enactment of the Thriller video will never take place without considerable pre-planning and rehearsal, no matter how hard that Jennifer Garner movie tries to convince me otherwise.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go practice my swinging. I swear, Pitfall Harry needs way more than three lives.