MY NEIGHBOR FRED, THE REALLY GOOD DANCER
by Todd Hartley
The other night my wife came home from a gala event she’d attended with a friend, and — as it was the social event of the season here in Basalt — she proceeded to rattle off a list of the who’s-who she’d seen to me, who hadn’t been able to attend and was a little bitter about it. I normally wouldn’t care that much, since galas aren’t really my thing, but from what I understand it was all-you-can-eat.
My wife told me how one couple we know danced the night away, and then she said, “Fred’s a really good dancer,” and I chuckled a little inside. I don’t know why I chuckled inside, but I do it every time someone tells me a guy is a “really good dancer.” I’m not sure what kind of –ism that is, but whichever it is, I’m afflicted with it.
It’s not a gay thing, certainly. For example, I don’t now think that Fred — with his multiple children, trucks and hunting trophies — is secretly gay, but it cracks me up to think of him as a really good dancer. And the funny thing is I bet Fred would be a little embarrassed by such a description. As a guy, in my Neanderthal view of things, that’s not a label you want.
Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with swaying your body or bopping your head to the groove when you’re at a concert or driving alone in your car, and every guy should know how to waltz with Grandma, but for some reason, when guys get out on the dance floor and bust out their moves, there’s something a little weird about it. It’s part of why I still haven’t seen the movie “Footloose.” Kevin Bacon dancing out his frustrations in a barn isn’t something I particularly want to see.
Being a really good dancer just reeks so much of giving a crap about a pursuit that seems kind of silly. It’s like Jerry Seinfeld replied on “Seinfeld” when a girl asked if he went out dancing often: “No, because it’s so stupid.”
To me, there are only two acceptable reasons for a guy to get out on the dance floor. You can either be dragged there by a wife, family member or old friend or be trying to pick up a girl. If you just hear a song and see a dance floor and get all fired up, your brain and mine are operating on entirely different wavelengths.
If you discount all the swaying, bopping and waltzing, I’ve actually danced about four or five times in my life. Every other time, I was faking it for the sake of a girl I thought I might score with. The sad irony is that had I been a better dancer, I might have experienced more success.
Now, thankfully, there’s more hope for guys like me, whose sole objective on the dance floor is a potential hookup later that night. Evolutionary biologists from universities in England and Germany conducted a study recently to determine which dance moves are most successful at attracting women and which are least successful, and I found the results very interesting.
Before reading about the study, I would have thought the moves women found most attractive would be the worm, the slam dance and the Charleston. I was way off. Apparently you’re supposed to “achieve a larger motion of the head, neck and torso.” And also, “leg speed, especially when bending and twisting the right knee, makes male dancers look the most attractive.”
You got that, guys? Head, neck and torso movement and bending and twisting of the right knee.
Prior to the study, I also would have thought that the least attractive moves are the ones I’ve been doing all my life. While that has yet to be proven wrong, the study disagreed slightly. It seems the worst moves are the ones football-player types all seem to do where they shuffle around all puffed up and pushing down with their hands, with very little neck, torso or right-knee movement.
That actually doesn’t come as a surprise. In retrospect, I probably should’ve guessed that.
As fate would have it, this information comes to me too late. No amount of really good dance moves is going to make me attractive to my wife at this point. But for you single guys, there’s still hope. Practice bending and twisting those right knees, and then go kill it with the ladies at the clubs.
Todd Hartley wants to assure Chris he’s not Fred.