Something utterly, totally, majorly bizarre has been happening to me lately.
I feel the need to dance. Randomly. Even when there’s no music playing. When it’d be sort of odd if I danced.
Sure, people dance while driving alone in their cars or when they’re doing boring stuff like laundry but I’m talking about moments when I’m out and about, very much in a public setting.
Finger snapping. Shimmying. Twisting. Hand jiving.
I’ve done it, friends, because I just had to.
Earlier this month, I finger snapped and two stepped down the aisle at the grocery store, which has a shockingly awesome playlist. Hats off to you, store manager with good taste in music.
I’m in public relations and marketing so I do a lot of talking with editors, journalists, radio and TV show hosts about products. Two weeks ago, when I was on a business trip, stuck in a crowded, windowless convention center for several days (which led to the worst flu I’ve had in five years but that’s a blog post for another day), the exhibit next to our booth had people dressed in tropical bird costumes who’d blast music and have a dance off every twenty minutes.
Here’s a very un-grownup like confession, just for you. More than a few times, I wanted to say, “Excuse me, Mr. Editor, I am happy to finish your 500 questions about this product but right now, I really need to lindy hop, mmm kay?” I was in grownup land overload that week and needed a momentary escape. In retrospect, some of the media folks might have joined me. Others, probably, totally no way. How many grownups do you know who’d do this?
I have always liked to dance and probably could have put formal lessons to good use. I took a ballet class in the second grade with my cousin, who had an accident on the dance floor and that’s all I remember about it.
In college, I was known to make up silly dance moves including my signature Wounded Deer, which is actually just jitterbug meets disco but my friend thought wounded deer made it sound so much more Elaine from Sienfield-ish. Back then, there was such more time for dancing including at one in the afternoon when I practiced Jagger swiveling while making my lunch. My friend Erin and I knew how to whoa-whoa doo-wop dance better than The Temptations (this is an old-time group your grandparents may know).
I think I have the soul of an old lady (this would explain why I’m pretty sure I know how to do the Charleston without actually ever being taught). Maybe I should take a swing class or something. That’d be awesome.
You should google all about how yonng people danced from the 1920s to the 1990s so that you get what dancing is. Learn all of the moves and teach people how to dance because clearly, my generation and now yours, has no idea how to dance! I can teach you the Wounded Deer, if you’d like. When I was a teenager, it was like everyone decided that dancing should just be rub-a-dub-dubbing on each other enough to make anyone witnessing it uncomfortable. Whaaaat? That is nothing like dancing! Real dancing is so adrenaline-pumping fun, your heart pounds nearly out of your chest and you laugh until your stomach muscles burn. Yeah, you don’t get that when you’re just rubbing and grinding on each other. Goodness gracious. It’s not even close.
People should dance more often and not care if it looks awkward. The more awkward, the better. Silly dancing makes people smile, it really does. That’s why I’m not a fan of line dancing. Sorry, cowboys and cowgirls. It just limits creativity and requires too much memorization (Also, I stink big time at line dancing).
A few years ago, when I was feeling lousy and worrying way too much about stuff I can’t control, I stopped wanting to dance. At the time, I didn’t notice that I was losing who I am. When I was out with my friends and at weddings and other social events that are pretty much fun only because of dancing, it wasn’t fun. It felt weird to dance. I wanted to want to dance but it wasn’t happening naturally. Isn’t that awful?
Thankfully, I snapped out of that by 2011 and started unburying myself. Even though the things that brought me down and made me slip into a vat of worry a few years ago are still here, I dramatically changed how I let them affect me.
I’m happy that I have these urges to dance randomly and because I’m a different kind of grownup, I will.