I started to notice a couple of years ago that I can’t dance anymore. It was really bothering me so I mentioned it to my brother and he laughed. I was so relieved. “I know, that’s ridiculous right?” I responded. At which point he told me he was laughing because I ever thought I could dance in the first place. Then I was horrified. Naturally I started barking at him all of the very specific times and places that I had been grinded on over the years as he walked out of the kitchen, but it did make me wonder…
There was no WAY I could never dance in the first place. All those nights at Twilo? I was a lunatic! But maybe I had only been a good dancer when I was on drugs. OH MY GOD, what if the whole time it was just the drugs making me THINK I was a good dancer? Whatever the case, currently I suck. Now when I’m on a dance floor I feel like I have to concentrate really hard not to look like an asshole. It’s annoying. I don’t want to give up dancing all together because I like it so much, but I’m also not interested in growing old gracefully and accepting this is just how I do it now. That’s why recently, when my friend Alex sent me a video with a girl doing one of the most mesmerizing dances I have ever seen, I decided my new mission would be to master it myself.
Let’s get one thing straight. It’s not like I was seeking to do this on a regular basis at bars or weddings. That would be ridiculous, but if I could ace these moves it seemed only natural that I would be able to reconnect with whatever rhythm I had lost over the years.
Besides, I felt like it was just a cool talent to have. It was the kind of thing I wanted only a few people to know I could do and then have them push me to do it at parties and stuff and then me act all modest and go “No no no,” but then eventually give in and nail it and have everyone go nuts. That would be awesome.
So I started practicing.
At first it was just in the mornings when I was putting my makeup on. I would bring my Pandora into the bathroom with me and put on the Wrex N Effect station and just kind of sway my butt from side to side like she does in the beginning of the video. After about a week I added a little bump to it and when I was more confident, brought up the speed. I thought it was getting pretty good.
I noticed I was able to gain a lot more control over the way my ass bounced if I set my feet wide apart and got into a really deep squat with my hands on my knees. When I started doing this in the full length mirror, it was obvious that what made the dance, if you weren’t yet to the level where you could operate one cheek independent of the other, was a casual glace backwards over the shoulder. So I started doing it facing away from the mirror and looking back at myself. I couldn’t believe it. I was getting somewhere.
A couple minutes a day quickly developed into thirty all combined. I couldn’t be alone in a room with a reflective surface without shaking my bum all over the place. I’d do a little in the break room at work, then at home in my bedroom mirror or kitchen window, not to mention at nearly every trip to the bathroom for weeks on end. I was so proud of my progress!
Fast forward to a month later at my friend’s wedding in Rhode Island. Jeff White and I were getting ready for a barbecue the day before the ceremony and could NOT stop playing M.I.A.’s Bad Girls. The perfect song to premiere my new talent.
I told Jeff to “check this out” and started shaking it. I kicked off slow, making sure to build the tension. Then as the bass really came in I tossed my butt every which way. Finally I went in for the kill with the flip of the head back and to the side. I kept this going for a solid twenty seconds, really finding my rhythm, before wrapping it up for fear of a stroke.
“Well?” I said all out of breath and hopeful.
“It needs work.” was what I got back.
I wanted to murder his face. To make matters worse, Jeff is a former break dancer. He started the song from the beginning and did it about ten times better than me, which looked kind of gross to be completely honest, a man doing it and all, but was infuriating nonetheless.
I definitely lost enthusiasm for it after that. The next two weeks were relatively tame. I may have arched my back and stuck out my butt once or twice in the mirror during lunch just to see if I could restore my passion for it, but there was nothing….
…until this past weekend. I took a trip with three of my best girlfriends out to a camp for adults in the woods. There was an awesomely cheesy nightclub where they were playing all of my favorite rap songs from the nineties. At one point Jackie looks to me and says that she’s on the fence about whether or not to go back to our cabin and go to bed or to get rip-roaring drunk and act like an idiot.
I took her by her shoulders, looked deep into her eyes and said “Jackie, we will never see these people again. Let’s get stupid.”
And so we did. I danced the shit out of that whooty girl dance. For hours. I’m not sure there was a person in the room whose crotch I didn’t have my butt in at some point. It was obscene and so much fun. I don’t think I looked very good doing it, and the best part was that I really didn’t care. So yey! There’s a lesson in this! I may not be able to dance anymore, but it’s OK because I’ve reached an age where I’m secure enough in myself that being cool doesn’t matter anymore!
Not so fast. We woke up in our cabin the next morning and all of a sudden it dawned on me that when I had mentioned to Jackie we would never see these people again…I had forgotten about the next day, where we would be hiking and playing kickball and doing arts and crafts with everyone who I was violating the night before. It was slightly embarrassing to say the least.
I managed to survive the rest of the weekend but I think I’m whootied out. I can confidently say I left it all on the dance floor that night in the woods. Not that I won’t miss it. In fact, even just writing about abandoning my beloved whooty project is making me a tad melancholy. I am in my room right now in front of this gigantic mirror. Maybe I should try it just one more time. Hit it M.I.A.!
Nope! Definitely retired. Going to leave this one to the professionals and when I think about previewing my whooty dance in public again, I’m going to have to remind myself that this is what I look like when I do it:
Can’t say I’ll never dance again, I just think I’ll stick to being terrible in the usual way.