This just in, from the “Irrelevant Things That Pop Into My Head Without Notice or Any Reason At All” Department:
I wish I were a better dancer.
Honest to God, this was the first thing that popped into my head when I woke up this morning. I’m not sure why or how it got into my brain, and I’m even more curious about why it started coming out because dancing isn’t often on my mind, nor should it be since I don’t – nor will I ever – make a living as a dancer.
Now, if I were a dancer by trade, then it would be perfectly rational and normal for this thought to periodically pop into my head. After all, don’t we all have times when we wish we were better at our chosen – or at least current -- profession?
To explain, when I say (or think, or in this case, write), “I wish I were a better dancer,” I’m not alluding to things like tap, ballet or the type of dancing generally done in Broadway musicals. I couldn’t care less about that stuff (though I do think it would be cool to be able to spontaneously bust out a tap routine when folks least expect it).
I’m also not talking about ballroom dancing. I can do a proper waltz or polka (two mainstays of the ballroom scene), and I’m more than competent when it comes to the Twist or even the Watusi (seriously, I can Watusi), I so I feel I’m covered in that aspect. What I’m talking about is the casual, “in-the-moment” dancing, the kind that makes guys like me shake their heads and get that uncomfortable look on their face when their wife or friend comes up to them when the band or DJ plays an obvious “C’mon! Let’s dance” song and says, “C’mon! Let’s dance!”
Now, unlike many others who can’t – or don’t like to – dance in such situations, for me the problem isn’t rhythm. I have rhythm, so at very least, my movements are consistent with the beat, and I’ll admit, that’s half the battle. My problem is that I lack imagination. In other words, I tend to gravitate to the same moves over and over: the elbow flare, the shoulder shrug, the “thumbs-up,” the head-bob, the bent-knee sway, etc.
Nothing special, to be sure.
And then there’s always the problem of where to look when you’re dancing in such situations (with someone, but not really with them). Do I go “internal” and look at no one, or should I engage my dance partner(s)? I always feel like making eye contact in these situations is weird for all parties involved, like if I’m looking at them, I’m either judging their dancing or hoping they’ll smile and nod their approval of my moves.
And what about facial expressions? I know a lot of folks (mostly guys) like to go with the “half-squint/lip bite,” but to me, that seems so outdated. But then I think, “What else is there for a guy like me?” I honestly don’t know.
ASIDE: By now, you’ve either quit reading – which would be my recommendation – or you’re nodding your head because you realize why this issue popped into my head this morning; because now you’re wishing you were a better dancer. Am I right?
The thing about it is, it’s not something I’m going to practice on my own (or is it?), and frankly, there just aren’t enough real-life opportunities, like weddings, sock hops or dance parties (if those even exist anymore) for me to improve my skills.
So, I guess I’m stuck, pigeonholed as an aging, mediocre party dancer who knows enough to clap on beats two and four, always has the “C” in “YMCA” pointing in the right direction, but can’t show anybody anything new or exciting.
And I guess for now, and maybe forever, that just needs to be OK; I just need to accept my fate.
But now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t want to.
Maybe I’ll check out YouTube for some ideas.
© 2020 David R. Haznaw