Is dancing really an expression? What exactly does it express, other than moving badly to unappealing music? And at what age should you stop dancing, surely we can all agree it’s a young persons thing to do, can’t we?
The default setting for most people with a shred of intelligence is usually negativity. Happy people are usually too stupid to realise how unjustifiably bad the world is. And that’s fine, but about three years ago I decided that I would stop being negative publically on social media and on the podcast too. There’s enough negativity in the world and either finding the positivity in something, or at the very least, the funny aspect to it would serve myself and the world far better. And really, who wants my opinion on Polish and politics and Brexit anyway? Nobody that’s who.
Dancing is Stupid
So now you know why I’m less grumpy, but dancing, or at the very least dancing in public is something I just cannot trick myself into liking. Now I’m not going to go into a rant about why dancing is stupid, ridiculous, lame or pathetic, instead I want to examine why I’ve come to think that dancing is so utterly pointless. Unless you’re young and gorgeous obviously, because then at least you can get your 15 minutes of fame if you appear in a hip hop video or Britain’s Got Talent at the very least, and then you can get on with your life as an accountant. Dancing is for young people, they look good doing it, it suits their young joints and besides, it keeps them busy and away from the speaking adults.
In 1990 I was eight years old, going on nine and I was at my auntie Olive’s wedding in some hotel in Rosslare, it’s still there and it’s very nice, so I’m told, but I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it. I remember it was 1990 because the bar had posters for the Italia 90 World Cup and I asked the barman for one. He was a nice man and gave me one so long as I didn’t tell anyone where I got it. Fast forward 15 minutes later and one of my other aunties is giving me untold grief because her kids are giving her fourfold of that same untold, yet now told, grief because I won’t tell them where I got the awesome squad poster of the Republic of Ireland team. I was so steadfast in my refusal to give up the barman that the bride and another aunt had to get involved and I was made spill the beans. Out of shame I’ve never returned to the hotel for fear that the barman holds a 28-year grudge for giving up his name. I know I would.
The wedding band that night were Theresa And The Stars, they were kind of, a little, famous, famous is the wrong word, infamous? Naw, they weren’t that, they were well-known on the live circuit in Wexico at the time, South East radio DJ Tony Kehoe was the drummer I think. He’s still on the radio playing terrible Irish country music. Theresa is either his wife or sister or cousin or all three, that’s not a cheap shot, I just don’t know. It doesn’t matter. What matters is I remember seeing an uncle dance that night. He’d have been younger than my age now at the time and I still remember thinking if I ever look that god-awful when I’m dancing when I’m that old I’ll stop. So I did, actually I never really started dancing, I think I probably stopped that night in June 1990. I barely danced at my own wedding. Three dances; my wife, my mother-in-law and my Mam. We had 120 bottles of Polish vodka to consume, as well as half a piggery of meat. Priorities baby.
Now, people who are into dancing have often spoken to me about how it’s liberating, it’s an expression of the soul, releases your inhibitions and casts off social shackles. To which I call bullshit. Dancing isn’t an expression of the soul, it’s moving, badly and awkwardly usually, to the formulaic beat of an overproduced, classless pop song. That’s not an expression, an expression concerning pop music is saying it’s good or bad and discussing its pop music merits when compared to the likes of Elvis, or the Beatles of the Stones or Michael Jackson or Weird Al Yankovic, or whoever. Movement isn’t expression, speaking about something is expression. Even art itself isn’t really an expression, it’s an interpretation. Many people fall for that cliche of ‘actions speak louder than words’ and it’s the last grasp of the idiot. Words last and linger long, actions last seconds, or shorter.
Dancing is Stupid
Then there’s that old chestnut that potential mates watch how you dance to find a partner and it’s pure bollox. I’ve spent far too long working in pubs and nightclubs to know that it’s simply not true. The vast majority of women don’t pick a sexual partner based on how they dance to some rehashed crap by Nathan Carter. It’s far more complex. If you think you’re going to find the one because you’ve learned to line dance to fake Irish country music sung by an Englishman then more power to you buddy but you need to ask yourself some serious questions. Maybe try speaking to a woman, that’s step one, step two is engaging in conversation, don’t just nod your head along to what she’s saying because she’ll see right though you for the gormless idiot you are. Be interested and ask questions. If you can’t be interested cut your losses and seek out someone who is interesting.
I suppose the thing that does my head in about dancing the most is that it ruins a good conversation. You can be having great fun in a bar chatting and having a laugh with your friends until some dullard suggests going to a nightclub. It’s never the most intelligent friend who suggests it, why is that?. Oh yippee, let’s all stand around in an oversized room that’s obviously a fire hazard with all the sardines packed into it, where the music is too loud, where we’re getting fleeced for drink and where you can’t speak to anyone properly so you have to live with your drunken thoughts for the entirety of your nightclub excursion. And being alone with your drunken thoughts is one of the worst places you can be. It’s no coincidence that the countries with the highest alcohol-related violence also have the highest ratio of nightclub attendances.
Salsa, it’s a sauce
Add to this the absolute awkwardness of being at a party when that couple decide they want to show off their salsa moves, which they’ve paid for at lessons. Nobody likes a showoff and certainly nobody likes a pair of them. Cool, you like salsa, or tango or rhumba, I’m delighted for you, you don’t need to show me. I believe you. I’m into buying old cameras and microphones, just because you paid for lessons to have somebody teach you your hobby doesn’t mean you have to show it off. Keep it to yourself, the only thing you’re impressing is your own ego. Next time you invite me I’m going to bring along my 1970s Smena and bore you lifeless about the limitless possibilities of its forward-thinking design and how awesome out-of-date film can be for artsy-looking photos. Boring ain’t it?
I’m getting too negative here I know, but look it’s like this, you’re into dancing and that’s cool but why do you have to treat people who think it’s stupid so weirdly? You like it, I don’t, we can still find common ground, let’s talk about Trump’s mushroom willy, cyborg Melania or Michael Healy-Rae’s addiction to flatcaps. There’s too many weird and interesting things to speak about rather than lose time on making eejits of ourselves on dancefloors, leave dancing to the young, we’re older and have interesting stories and opinions, leave dancing to young lads, they’ve feck all interesting to say anyway.