To dance very badly

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I am an awful dancer.

Last night we went to a Bat Mitzvah. It was great. Great music, great fun, tons of dancing.


I try. I really try. But. I. Can’t. Fucking. Dance.

The thing is, lots of people Can’t. Fucking. Dance. They know it, but they don’t care. Arms flail, legs kick, they count the beat and fail to find the measure. Still, they twirl and spin and tumble and fall and sprawl and splat. They’re either oblivious or indifferent, and it’s a truly wonderful thing. “Dance as if nobody’s watching,” is the oft-repeated line—and it’s a a fantastic one.

Again, I try. I really try. But. I. Can’t. Fucking. Dance.

I’ve put forth everything. Lots of alcohol—no dice. Closing my eyes and moving to the music—no dice. Holding the wife’s hands as a guide—no dice. Back when I was a young writer at The Tennessean, most of my friends at the newspaper were African-American women. Four or five of us would go out every couple of weeks … to the local black clubs. I would be the one white guy on the dance floor, marching back and worth like a wooden soldier, standing out like a blistered thumb. The wife recently asked, “How were you able to do that?”

I’m not sure. Loneliness, I suppose, will convince a man to attempt amazing things.

Now, however, I’m not lonely. I’m married, with two kids and a dog. But the lack of dancing skills eats at me. At last night’s affair, I tried. I pulled out all the stops—marching, flailing, hand-holding. The music was soooo friggin’ good—after the One Direction and Lorde ceased, the DJ brought forth a tidal wave of Naughty By Nature and House of Pain and Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock. Old school. My feet screamed at me, “Dance, you old fool!” My arms screamed at me, “Dance, you old fool!”

My mind, though, told me to sit the fuck down.

“You can’t dance,” it said. “You. Just. Can’t. Dance.”