Sunday, May 9, 2010

White midde-aged men can't dance ...


... or, more accurately: They don't like to dance.

This has been a frustration of mine for many years now. Baby Boomer men just don't feel comfortable on the dance floor. It's apparent every time you go out to any nightclub or dance hall -- and see the packs of ladies shakin' it up while the guys stand on the sidelines, not quite knowing what to do with themselves.

The few brave male souls who do venture onto the dance floor are usually quite rewarded for their efforts, either by the grateful reaction of their date/dance partner, or by the groups of gals who happily welcome them into their little gyrating entourage.

It's a phenomenon that seems to only have affected men ages about 45 to 60-ish. The younger generations of men, raised to be more self-assured and comfortable in their bodies, all really seem to be into the modern moves such as hip-hop and the like. And older gentlemen, who were raised on dance classes and ballroom action, really enjoy dancing, too. This was evident recently, when I went to a local nightclub that caters to the senior set. The men -- all mid-60s, 70s and even 80s -- were having a blast, twirling and swirling the women around in steps such as the cha-cha, swing, two-step, etc. I looked on, a bit enviously.

Where did the Baby Boomers' fear of the foxtrot, hatred of hip-hop, scorn of salsa and disdain of disco come from?

Here's my theory: Blame it all on rock 'n' roll. We grew up in this era when ballroom fell out of favor -- and couples separated into individuals, dancing together but apart. Not only did this remove the "benefit" for guys of being able to hold a babe in your arms and control her every move, but it also shone a spotlight on the men -- as dancers. Let's face it: Many men do seem to be rhythm-, grace-, or coordination-challenged. Ballroom dancing, even though it is complicated in other ways, really just requires learning to move your feet in prescribed sets of steps, and keep somewhat to the music as you lead your partner.

But, in rock 'n' roll dancing, you've got to move your entire body -- in time to the music, and in sync with your partner -- and look good (or at least not like a total dork) while you do it! And most men my age are just too self-conscious to try to pull that off.

But, guys, here's a secret: Women LOVE men who dance! Even men who aren't that great at it but try anyway. And, with the renewed popularity of ballroom dancing (thanks to shows like Dancing With the Stars), there are many more opportunities these days to get a babe in your arms, twirl her around, and control her every move.

So, it would behoove you to learn some moves!

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