So last night I was sitting in bed, settled in to watch the Veronica Mars movie after a bottle of wine and a lot of Waitrose cookies (going for a run after I write this) and my flatmate invited me to see a blues band. It was only in Brixton and she was getting the last tube home, so since it didn't seem like the kind of event where a full smoky eye was required, I figured 'Why not!'
When we arrived it became immediately apparent that people are blues dancing...in couples. Suddenly I came over in a cold sweat, and it wasn't just because my leather jacket has quilting on the inside. We all know my dancing is a style all its own, and by that I mean hap hazardly throwing my arms around and stomping my feet. I was out of my depth, I needed a beer. My flatmate declined my offer of a drink as she wanted to dance. That's right, dancing with another human being in a situation where you cannot hold a glass...shit balls.
So here it is, 5 reasons why couples dancing is not for me
1. You cannot hold your bag and jacket while dancing
We were in a bar in Brixton OK, and there were piles of bags just lying around the perimetre of the room! As someone who has been robbed, this seems like insanity to me. Of course I didn't want to look like the odd one out and there's no chance you're getting a dance while holding a beer and a bag, so I stashed my phone, keys and credit cards in my bra and pockets, wrapped my Miu Miu in my jacket and prayed the values in the room were as old fashioned as the dancing.
2. You have to wait for someone to ask you to dance
For many reasons, as a teenager I was the girl who never got asked to dance by a boy. Then I started going to nightclubs where generally people don't ask, they just start crowding your space Night At the Roxbury style until you have to shuffle away like a crab to escape their greasy clutches.
At the blues evening, we all waited patiently for someone to ask us to dance. A couple of girls I was chatting to were lamenting their lack of partner, to which I replied 'Well can't we just dance by ourselves?' I mean, it was good music and I wanted to get my sway on...you know what I'm saying?
'But who would lead?' they asked. Lead...pfftt. I wanted to shout 'All the ladies who are independent' and hear the ladies shout back 'Throw your hands up at me' and then we'd all break out into a Destiny's Child/Charlie's Angels montage of dance showing how we kick ass. Instead we all just stood around.
3. The Stress
I did get asked to dance a few times, but then I felt obligated to give the guys a full break down of my lack of skills and give them a chance to re-nig the offer. They didn't, which was kind. We started with a very simple two step shuffle and I could tell they were thinking 'Oh man, everyone else looks way cooler than us'. Then I was putting my arm in the wrong place and I kept freaking out, then some guy span me WAY too many times and I'm pretty sure my elbows injured a few dancers...it was like PE at school all over again, so I bailed before I could dislocate something. When one of my dance partners came back for round two, I just couldn't do it. I had to tell him I needed a break...emotionally.
4. The Rules
See part of this stress comes from the rules and not understanding them. I'm an overachiever OK, I don't want to look like a twat. Anyway, apparently blues dancing is actually not that structured when you think about other kinds of dance like the Foxtrot or the Lindyhop or you know...what's that thing they bang on about in So You Think You Can Dance?...the Viennese Waltz. Still too many rules for me though. This is the advice I got-
Dance behind the beat
Dance to the guitar beat, not the washboard beat
Let your partner lead
Your arm goes on your partner's waist, NOT shoulder
Relax, loosen your shoulders
How can I relax when I'm doing it all wrong?! I feel completely relaxed when I'm in the house putting my eye liner on and shoulder shrugging to Fancy by Iggy Azalea, so I tell you what, let's both stick to what we know.
5. The Proximity
In a nightclub situation, when someone is getting too close, all you have to do is run (politely) away. When you have agreed to dance with someone, I'm guessing it's bad form to freak out and bail halfway through the dance because you can feel their breath on your neck.
It's just that if I don't fancy you, I really don't want to be pressed against you like a moist towel. My jeans are already too tight OK, there's a mild claustrophobia I suffer everyday just from being dressed, I don't need to add to it.
Personally I don't know how they got away with all this dancing back in the day when pre-martial sex was a no-no. You're basically engaging in foreplay on the dance floor people. Remember that scene in Dirty Dancing where Baby carries the watermelon and sees the 'dirty' dancing for the first time. She's shocked right, cos it's more intimate than she's ever been with anything. Then she dances with Johnny and she realises how powerful it is to be so close to someone you fancy...sigh. Last night was nothing like that, a strangers crotch was way too close to my thigh and I could barely keep a straight face.
Image via Hollywood.com