What is this thing you call “dancing”?


I don’t understand dancing.

Seriously, I don’t get it. Never really have. I doubt I ever will. I don’t like to dance. I have no desire to dance. Dancing, to me, is just a waste of perfectly good music that could be appreciated quietly with perhaps a bop of the head to the beat.

I have the rarest of commodities – a boyfriend who not only enjoys dancing, but knows how to dance, has even taken lessons in various forms of dance. Early in our relationship, he would want to go out dancing, particularly Cajun dancing. He learned rather quickly my discomfort with dancing and my disinterest in getting over that discomfort. Seriously, I am quite happy just listening and appreciating the band. I think there is nothing sexier than people playing music, and it’s something I really enjoy watching . . . while sitting still . . . perhaps bopping my head . . . and, on rare occasions, a tap of the toes.

Whenever Tangerine (the cat) walks by my television when it is on, she pauses, cocks her head and stares awhile at the screen with a curious look that says “what is this all about then?” I think that is much the way I look whenever I encounter people dancing whether in person or on TV. It simply does not compute. And I think the most confusing of all dance is ballroom dancing. I mean seriously, wtf??

The boyfriend doesn’t understand my aversion to dancing. So, I am left clumsily trying to explain why I don’t like dancing. The best reasons I can come up? I don’t like the idea of always having to follow the man’s lead. I think it stupid and sexist. It’s all just an old-fashioned mating ritual.  We’re beyond that now. And here’s the reason I’m really not proud of, but I find dancers to be really stupid and shallow. I don’t know how I got this notion in my head. It’s probably not true in all cases. In fact, I know it’s not true. I even have a friend who is a ballroom dancing teacher, and she is far from stupid and shallow. Yet, in my mind, whenever I think of someone who is really into dancing, that is my first impression. Who knows how I got that notion in my head.  Perhaps I never like the girls who took dance in high school.  Maybe it is a hold-over of being told I was uncoordiated and clumsy as a child. 

However, I do love old Hollywood musicals, and the singing and dancing is what I love most about Bollywood movies. And, just lately I have found myself watching with perverse curiosity the television phenomenon “Dancing with the Stars”. First, I was fascinated by what was passing for “stars” these days, and secondly by how seriously these people take this whole dance thing (and thirdly by Priscilla Presley’s plasticized face).   And while it is an amusing way to pass an hour or two, the show has done nothing to change my mind regarding the complete nonsensical nature of dancing, nor the intellectual prowess of professional dancers.

Well, now that I have insulted a vast number of people who enjoy dancing, I think I’ll go curl up back inside my head where I tend to live much of the time.


13 responses »

  1. I myself think dancing is ok, only once I have consumed enough alcohol. At that point I actually think I am pretty good. The sad truth, though, is I am rythmically challenged. So, I imagine that once I actually feel like I have the skills to throw out a few moves I only look like an ass.

    The end result? Like most men, I try to dance as little as possible.

  2. lol

    Well, that’s honest.

    I love dancing. I love to dance. I can’t believe you have a boyfriend who likes to dance. Usually the boyfriend is the one with your attitude in a couple.

    There was a little exchange way back on that horrid old soap opera, Melrose Place. I think it was Billy said something like, ‘Men only tolerate dance so that they can have sex.’

    and Alison came back at him with, ‘Women tolerate the sex because of the dancing.’

    I probly messed that up, and I think it’s horribly inaccurate, too, but it was memorable.

  3. Hmm….
    If I had known that dancing could be more benificial to my relationship I would have said yes to those Salsa lessons a year or so back….

  4. I actually like to dance myself. Well, not so much anymore because I’m more aware of how foolish I look doing it but when I was in college… whoa! look out!

    I’ve always thought dancing (or in your case, even tapping a toe or bopping a head) is uniquely human.

    I remember my ex brother in-law had his baby over (she was about one or so) and some music came on t.v. She was right there by it, holding on to balance herself as she was just learning to walk. Then she started bobbing her knees up and down and shakin her groove thang a little. I thought it was rather amazing that a little human so young had that innate desire to move her body to music.

    use the force, LB. use the force…

  5. I agree with you that in its worst form, dance is a sexist mating ritual. I tend to be interested in Renaissance/Elizabethan dance, which was very close in spirit to modern country line dancing, and was more about exercise than sex. I also don’t mind solo dancing, like tap dancing. But ballroom dancing sends me into a zombie trance in two seconds flat.

    I took dance lessons when I was a kid, and I was very good at it. Nowadays, though, I’ve lost the magic.

  6. My dancing days were at their best in the late 60’s early 70’s when there were no steps, just kind of individually standing in proximity to (an other)(others) and flailing around. These days I just enjoy some good ‘car dancing’ (much akin to head bobbing — kind of ‘body bobbing from the waist up’) when the right tune comes on the radio.

  7. I’m pretty much with you on the dancing thing.

    A funny thing happened to me once, many years ago. Up to then I had categorically refused to dance. But I had a coworker with friends and we all went out to a club to hear a hot band who played a lot of Motown. Place was packed. Just the cat’s meow at the time. The music was going, we were crowded into a corner, SRO, and my friends just began dancing. On the spot. The choice was stand like a dork or dance — I probably mostly danced like a dork, but it broke the taboo.

    I still don’t dance. Much. In public. As for this:

    It’s all just an old-fashioned mating ritual.

    Some of those rituals are kind of fun. Yeah?

  8. personally I love trance music in the rave clubs – and I’m an older kind of guy

    dancing is good. It’s like singing. It’s something the body does because it’s happy.

    dance like no one’s watching (make sure no one is first perhaps)

    pretend it’s chigong

    call it celebration

    part of the song of praise to god


  9. Ron – Again, it is becoming obvious that we were separated at birth.

    Adam – Back in my drinking days many many years ago, I would do the same thing – have a few drinks and the flounder about on the dance floor. Somehow this amazing sense of rhythm that I thought I had when I was drunk, never quite manifested when sober.

    Amurin – If you are ever in the San Francisco Bay Area and you have an urge to go out dancing, you may borrow the boyfriend, as long as you return him in the same condition as when he left.

    He did admit to me that the reason that he learned to dance was to get laid. The ladies love a guy who can dance, so he definitely worked that angle in his youth.

    Jules – I do believe that is something very primal in our reaction to music. I just always get confused when people make such a big production out of it. All those steps and turns and sashays and what not. Oy! And don’t even get me started on the outfits!

    David – next time you go into a zombie trance while watching ballroom dancing, could you perhaps do us all a favor and eat the flesh of the dancers (that is if you don’t choke on all the sequins and feathers).

    Shu – Flailing about vaguely to the beat was also the genre of dance I grew up with. But, even then there were always those who had to show off some fancy flailing, so it felt like people were competing when they should just be having fun.

    OmbudsBen – I’ve been in those situations myself, but I’ve usually just made a break for the bar or the bathroom and then hang back until all frivolity ends.

    Even with the old fashioned mating rituals, I’m pretty awkward. Maybe it’s a self-esteem thing. Maybe I was raised by wolves. Maybe both.

    Sacred West – I love music. I love bopping along to music. If I know the words, I sing along with the music. But, for me, there is a huge disconnect between what I feel when I hear music and my feet and body doing some kind of organized steps. I’m paying more attention to how the music is making me feel than what my feet should be doing. I almost feel like bad dance (which is what I would end up doing) is a disservice to the good music. Ya know?

  10. Oh my, I love dancing! Love it. I love going out on a weekend night to a club to dance. I love watching people dance. I miss my dance (Congolese) classes, I’ve just never put it back in my schedule once I stopped working too much. And most of my mates have been dragged off of the dance floor, or off of the stage 😉 So I agree, it is a mating ritual. I love to watch couples dancing something like the tango, but I’m not into ballroom dancing. Even though it’s an art form and I can respect it for that, it’s not tribal enough for me 🙂

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  12. I feel the same way. My boyfriend is also quite a good dancer. People seem to assume that if you’re a female you should like dancing which annoys me. It’s nice to hear from someone who feels the same way because it does seem to be quite rare. I find myself wondering why people feel the need to move their bodies around in an odd way because just because some music is playing. I was in a bar last night and a band was playing and there was a small space that people were crammed into to dance. I was chatting with some people who suddenly said ‘fancy a dance?’ and I thought ‘actually no, I really don’t!’ I was quite happy sitting and listening. So they went off to squeeze into a space to wiggle around and I was left like billy no mates in the corner. Perhaps they do really enjoy it but I honestly can’t understand why – I find the whole idea a bit false and just a bit cringy and uncomfortable. And it makes me end up wanting to avoid such places, even though I like the music.

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