I do not enjoy dancing. I don't want to shake my groove thang, get down on it, boogie woogie, cut a rug, trip the light fantastic, do the hustle, get out on the dance floor and show 'em how it's done, do the mash potato, stomp!, twerk or lambada. I've been immunized against disco fever. The rhythm has yet to get me.
You know how some people feel alive when they're dancing? That's how I feel when I'm not dancing.
I'm never more in touch with my spirit animal than when I'm at a wedding and everyone is dancing and I'm sitting at a table eating cake at a glacial pace and pretending to be engrossed in my phone. Usually I follow this maneuver with a slow saunter to the restroom to kill more time. If I have to check a voicemail while I'm in there? Jackpot!
I wish I weren't this way. I wish I weren't Footloose before Kevin Bacon arrived -- because I think it suggests I'm locked up and probably frigid. Dancing is about sensuality and celebration and something primal that is greater than you and me. I wish I could tap into this on the dance floor and lose myself in the music and give myself over to the moment. Instead, I usually just don't know what to do with my purse and, also, my hands. And I never know whether I'm moving my head too much or too little. I am the opposite of fluid.
It hasn't always been this way. I took tap, ballet and jazz as a youngster. I was one of the featured mice in a performance of Three Blind Mice. I wore a tail and everything. And I also suffered through cotillion, which is an outdated form of social torture disguised as ballroom dance classes enjoyed by the children of pretentious debutantes.
So I should be set, right?
I'm OK with slow dancing. It's perilous for my dance partner seeing as I'm fantastically uncoordinated and will likely step on his toes at one point or another, but at least when it comes to slow dancing I know the moves. It's fast, cool people dancing that overwhelms me.
I just don't know how to look cool doing it. And don't tell me it isn't about looking cool. You know all that stuff I said about losing yourself in the moment and feeling the beat and becoming a conduit for the music and the emotion and all that? It's also about looking cool.
There was a time when I would hit the dance floor and show off my "craaaaaazy" dances, which happen to be the The Roger Rabbit and The Mashed Potato. Of course, I was doing these ironically, with a sort of, "Hey, you guys, look at me pretending to be the kind of person who would do these dances," look in my face. At a certain point, I realized there is no such thing as ironic dancing, and from far away you are just that person who is doing these dances. I'm not sure how I feel about that person.
I've asked my friends who love to dance what it is that appeals to them because the whole thing is beginning to feel like a paradox.
After pushing through a lot of, "I don't know... I just love it," I discovered that one of my super-cool-on-the-dance-floor friends used to practice dancing at home in the mirror.
I've always avoided this, as I'm afraid to see what's really going on.
Given that I'm going to be getting married to one of "Them" -- a person who enjoys dancing and may or may not be good at it -- I probably owe it to him to give it a shot.
He's willing to forego dancing at our wedding, which is very nice, but I know he'd prefer to include it.
(If only people went ice skating at weddings! I would definitely be one of the first people on the ice at my own wedding.)
And so I guess I'll be struggling to get over my dancing aversion, which I suppose means practicing dancing in front of the mirror. I'd like to apologize in advance to my downstairs neighbors. I don't like this any more than you do.