Dance, dance, dance (white men can’t dance)
Week twenty two in 'wake up'
There have been a few ‘wake up’ challenges that on first viewing have produced a smile across my face, this was another one; I will dance for 10 minutes every day like nobody is watching me.
I had to smile because after countless years of contemplating the deeper questions about life and our existence and death the only real answer I found was; white men can’t dance.
When I put this to other white men I get two different reactions; “Yes Mark you’re right, we can’t dance, we’ve got no rhythm” These people fully except that shaking our bum and looking cool is not one of our strengths. Standing by the bar getting the ale in and talking about sport or cars on the other hand is something we excel at.
Then I get the the other reaction, the aggressive type who jump down my throat at the mention that we don’t look comfortable dancing; “That’s not true I CAN dance! What about Fred Astaire! What about Patrick Swayze! What about John Travolta (ahem)! What about Bruce Forsyth?” (Double ahem). Take it easy fella’s I’m not suggesting you’re less of a man because you can’t dance – simmer down now!
I was happy with my little theory that only white men can’t dance until someone showed me a clip of President Obama dancing onto some American chat show. I cringe at the thought of what I saw, it was an embarrassing nightmare and shattered my theory that only white men can’t dance. The truth is it’s all about the individual. Some white men (not many) can dance, they do have rhythm (I’ll stress my point again – not many, ahem, don’t get upset now). Why did I have this prejudice?
I think it was from my vivid memories of the school disco in the early eighties leaning against the wall and watching girls dancing and trying to catch their eye whilst waiting for the “slowey” (the last song of the night) and hoping I had the courage to ask someone for that last dance, followed by a sprinkling of silver stardust and a new thing called romance and ‘love’.
It never happened though because I didn’t have the courage to ask, never, not once. Every week I would put on a clean ironed shirt and smart trousers, a dab of my dad’s Old Spice aftershave behind the ear (you never know) and then head for the school disco and a few hours later return home in a huff because I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to but I just couldn’t.
On a rare occasion I would get up for a song (Come on Eileen or White Lines or anything by Madness) and I would happily chat to a girl showing off because I knew all the words, and then she would tell me that I wasn’t dancing. I would look down at my feet and start to move them from side to side. Then she would tell me I’d stopped moving the rest of my body. I’d look up and start moving my hips, lips and arms but my feet would be stuck motionless to the floor.
For the rest of the song the pattern continued; stop talking, look down at my feet, my body stops moving, my feet start moving. Followed by; look up, start talking, my feet stop moving. This would continue until the embarrassment of not being able to multi task crashed in on me – crash-bang-pathetic! On the outside I was confident and outspoken but on the inside I was a shy mouse. Not too much has changed really except there’s no self-pity any more although I do still eat cheese, squeak-squeak, ahem.
Of course when I got older I realised my inhibitions to dancing disappeared when a certain thing called alcohol entered my blood stream. You should have seen me in the Cavern… geezer! I had the moves, honestly. I also had a full head of hair, long blonde hair too, slim Jim, I couldn’t buy body fat for love nor money. Elvis had nothing on my charisma. Unfortunately if it wasn’t for the alcohol the free spirit stayed at home eating Cheddar!
But that was then and this is now and as for dancing, you want to see me when there’s no one else around and Motown’s on or something with a certain beat that orders me to get up and start moving those feet (and the rest of my body – all at the same time now) – yeah, yeah! You want to see me jive to my favourite dancing song Shout to the Top by the Style Council - eat your heart out Michael Jackson! That is as long as I’m on my own. I allow Bobby to watch because he’s not judgemental and he knows that if he laughs his dinner will be a little later than normal, ahem (only serious). I can see in his deep brown eyes he’s thinking, “White men really can’t dance” followed by a chuckle inside – I love the Bobster.
This challenge was great fun and reminded me that we need to dance on a daily basis if possible because it makes you feel good in every way possible. Dancing has a magic all of its own, it’s in our DNA and although without a beer my theory that at least one white man can’t dance has some truth to it, after a few beers I’ll dance in front of anyone (don’t hold me to that – squeak-squeak).
Thanks again ‘wake up’ for another challenge that reminded me that there’s magic inside me and with a little courage and direction I have less sleep in my eyes. Sometimes all I have to do is tap into forgotten or hidden knowledge. Now turn that music up and watch this white man boogie! (Or not, squeak-squeak, anyone got any cheese? Double Gloucester and chives - lovely).