Dancing in the Dark

According to The Rules, in order to maximize my “creature unlike any other”-ness I should be keeping myself as busy as possible and constantly self-improving. “In addition to a healthy diet, we strongly suggest you shake your buns!” they shriek. The phrase “shake your buns” makes me supremely uncomfortable but I figure I should start as I mean to go on. In the spirit of this, my friend CK and I went to a dance class called Street Flava last night.

Now, I am the first to admit that my flava is definitely not street, but I do have a long-standing reputation as the girl most likely to gyrate on an elevated surface when hip hop is being played. So when we arrive at the studio, I’m feeling a little nervous but also quietly confident. “I’m good at this!”, I think. “I’m as just as good as those girls on The Grind! Maybe the teacher will spot my talent and take me under his wing…Maybe it’s not too late for me to be on MTV!”

There should have been a sign on the door reading “Abandon hope, all ye who enter.” CK and I are dressed to go for a pleasant run in the park while everyone else in the class is wearing somewhat more convincing street flava apparel. We exchange panicked glances. The instructor, an extremely well-muscled Indian guy with bleached dreads, starts us off with a warm up (which I can’t keep up with) before launching into an extremely complicated routine (forget about it). There’s stomping involved. And body popping. And something called krumping that seems to consist of shuffling ones feet faster than I previously thought humanly possible. I am unrelentingly rubbish at all of it. Really, honestly, shockingly bad. And I can’t even pretend otherwise because of the giant wall of mirrors in front of me. 

Suddenly, one of my longest and deepest held suspicions is proved true: I am a terrible dancer. Years of memories of me dancing on platforms and in the middle of circles come flooding back to me. It’s like that scene in Spaceballs when Mel Brooks gets twisted in half, looks down and shouts “Why didn’t anybody tell me my ass was so big?!”

I feel compelled, twelve-steps-style, to write to everyone who’s ever seen me dance: “Dear Scott, I am very sorry for the time I inflicted my body popping on you in that bar in Boston and for all the hurt I’m sure it caused you. I am now coming to terms with my illness and getting the help that I need.”

So, cheers for that, Rules. Thanks to your insistence that I “shake my buns,” I can now firmly cross off one item on my list of self-purported feminine wiles. Next up you’re going to tell me I have hideous hair, fat ankles and am crap in bed and then my self-image will be well and truly shattered.

First date on Friday…

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  • Frances says:

    Oh my god, this cracked my shit up. You are a good dancer. But you are most definitely not “street.” And I suspect The Rules folks would not approve of krumping. But on the topic of krumping, I would say that the movie Rize about dancing in South Central LA is a fabulous example of the genre. Now that I think of it, the folks in Rize would probably not approve of a bunch of twenty-somethings in London attempting to learn how to do their moves in an orgainzed class…

    • Love by the Book says:

      No, I think you’re right. Though the instructor (whose name was Lil Milk, incredibly) was totally street-tastic.

  • Meows says:

    I also used to think that I was a good dancer and then took a hip-hop class at my gym–yup, my gym!–where the amazing instructor and mirrors also left me cruelly exposed as a dancing fool of a fool dancing, I guess.
    Anyhow, I too have my share of dating woes, so perhaps I will play along at home. A drowning (wo)man will grab whatever she can, right…? Requesting The Rules from the library now. Sigh.
    Good luck!

    • Love by the Book says:

      Amazing! Definitely play along – it’ll be good to compare notes! Be prepared though: it’s hilariously dated in terms of its references. The part about going to discos is particularly classic.

      • Frances says:

        I wonder (because I am a book nerd) if that is what it even says in the American edition or if somehow discos was their Anglicization of “clubs.”

  • Meows says:

    Well, hopefully it will be entertaining at least… did you know that they have an edition of The Rules just for online dating?!? And a Rules II? (which is now available in a combined edition with the original Rules for one-stop shopping.) Wow.

  • You had me at “I do have a long-standing reputation as the girl most likely to gyrate on an elevated surface when hip hop is being played.” You’re hilarious, and I hope you don’t mind if I live vicariously for a bit as spectator to your experiment.

    • Love by the Book says:

      Thanks man! Honestly, after that experience I think my elevated-surface-dancing days are over. Well, at least until the next time I drink Jack Daniels. Which will probably be Saturday…

  • Hi. I like the way you write. Will you post some more articles?


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