FRIDAY HAPPY HOUR: Should Men Dance?

Posted: March 12, 2010 in FRIDAY HAPPY HOUR
Tags: , ,

The Catholic high school I went to closed after my sophomore year and merged with the inner city Catholic high school.

I played for the new school’s basketball team and we were half uptown white guys and half downtown black guys.

The white guys mostly listened to 70’s country rock like Marshall Tucker and Lynnrd Skynnrd (‘course I was listening to Elvis) while the black guys listened to disco. I remember  in ’78 Lemo playing “Freak Out” on a 45 minute bus strip, over and over, both ways.

The black guys liked to dance. They would dress real sharp and after games they’d go to discos and dance. They talked about dancing, they danced in the locker room and they’d dance in the aisle of the bus.

We wore flannel shirts and work boots and pounded beers in the woods or in the seedy bars that would let us in.

I remember one of the white guys saying “We’re gonna do some partying tonight!” One the black guys looked at him and said. “They means you’re gonna get drunk, right? How’s that partying?”

He had a point.

Why do men, or at least white men, have such an issue about dancing?

White Man Overbite

Should a guy dance?

I say, if he wants to.

But if he’s gonna dance, he should dance.

What’s with the guys who are willing to dance with a woman but only if they’re allowed to bring their long neck with them? It’s like their security blanket to tell the world, “Look, I’m dancing but I’m really here to drink beer, not be a sissy dancing man.”

For awhile it seemed like every white guy in the 80’s danced like Bruce Springsteen in the “Dancing in the Dark” video. Hey, if the Boss danced, it had to be okay, right? After all,  he did Nautilus.


What about the weird circles that form at parties where no one really dances together? What’s that even about? What kind of weirdness is that? It’s like dancing light with all the flirtation and sexuality removed from it.

How do you feel when you see a guy who is too good at dancing? You know, the guy who has honed his moves and dances all night with all the women. Ever notice that guy came by himself and goes home by himself? He’s usually a little off in the way he dresses or a little too much attention has been paid to the hair. Who wants to be that guy?

Then there’s the foxtrot, tango, “Do the Hustle” guy who knows the official dance steps of those dances that have rules to them. Women like it but aren’t most guys cringing when they see that guy at the wedding reception?

Then there’s the guys who dance alone in the weird styles of the music they like. There’s that weird LSD-inspired Grateful Dead thing that says, “I’m stoned or pretending to be.” There’s that awful kind of trot-in-place thing that The Who fans do to be like Pete Townsend and I think there are guys who try to do the Axl Rose creepy sway thing. (Rose copied it from Davey Jones of the Monkees, which is decidedly far less cool.)

It’s a quite a lot to think about.

“I’m into you almost as much as beer.”

But after careful analysis mostly bad things can happen if you dance. It’s like throwing the ball in football–three things can happen and two of them aren’t good.

Me, I’ll slow dance with my wife but I resist other dancing.

Often, women get mad and say “C’mon, it’ll be fun!”

No it won’t, not for me. I’m not dancing.

I’m not making an issue out of it.

  1. Christine says:

    LOL! My husband was walking by my office as I read the title of this post and I don’t think I’d even finished saying the word dance before he tossed a “NO!” over his shoulder. 😉

  2. M. Large says:

    At some point, in every guy’s life he reaches that situation where, in order to continue his viable pursuit of some hottie, he is required to dance. It is something I did in my youth, under much personal duress, but hormones won over. As I age, I find my willingness increasing ever so slightly. I even occasionally consider taking some lessons (gulp)

  3. tjs9261 says:

    It’s okay ML. it is, really.

    When the pursuit of a hottie is factored in, you can be that guy. It’s a given.

  4. Vinnie says:

    I’m interested in the whole partying vs. drinking conflict. For example, say someone plans this big event or get together, and I get a phone call that’s something like “hey, we’re all going to meet up at Tom Schreck’s house. You coming?” And when I ask what’s going on there, the answer is “drinking.” Is drinking really an event? Okay — of course, it can be, but I mean, should it be? I feel like it’s a bit like making “waiting” an event. What are we doing tonight, guys? Well, we’re gonna sit around and wait. Well, for what? For anything.

    I think waiting and drinking are sort of equal there. There really isn’t any sort of goal, no rules of engagement, and its not just a reason to socialize. Grabbing a drink and ‘drinking’ are two different things in my book. I grab a drink with friends to get some fresh air, some insight, and some discussion. If I go “drinking” I’m hoping to wake up the next morning with SHAME written on my face.
    I don’t really think drinking should be an event of its own. I’m more interested in something as follows: hey we’re going dancing at Lark Tavern — “Tom Schreck is going to be there offering Salsa lessons. No way, really!? Yeah, man. He’s built a pretty solid rep for himself around Albany”. And then, the drinking is an implied activity. If I get obliterated, so be it, but drinking for the sake of drinking lost its appeal when I turned 21 (give or take).

    The point of this post? Not sure, but if I had to put something on paper it would be this. The entree should be Tom Schreck’s salsa lessons at bar that doesn’t offer dancing, and the optional side: drinking and/or awkward photographs.

  5. Vinnie says:

    I think the guy dancing all weird and crazy alone to choice songs usually has one of those “Dance like no one is watching,” et. al, tattoos on his chest.

  6. Pasquale Palumbo says:

    I say if it feels good, do it.

  7. Mark Terry says:

    Ah yes, the white-man overbite. I take my dancing cues from “Hitch.” Excellent advice, that.

  8. Rod Norman says:

    Dancing….really, can’t I just go to the dentist instead or maybe watch “Love Story” with my wife and all the girls from work. Just shoot me, please. Slow dancing only…you got it right Tom.

  9. Graham says:

    I’ll probably get kicked out of the Man Club, but I abolutely love to dance. There! I said it! And I’m glad!

  10. catconnor says:

    As a girl I have to say, there are some men who have no business anywhere near a dance floor. My husband is one of them, lol.

    I’ve noticed my son and his friends all dance – they get together and party. And it doesn’t revolve around how much booze they can knock back in a short space of time – they dance, they sing, they socialize, they dance some more and above all they laugh.

    It’s different to the booze fest we called parties in my youth. 🙂

  11. Natalie says:

    so true, funny thing is when I was the every weekend Jillians goer ( can’t believe I admitted ) that, but anyhow, lkike um 7 years ago or so, I was out there dancing with my girls, and honestly, we couldnt stand most of the men who tried dancing with us, very rarely did we let them in our circle….what a strange world that was. and the great male dancers always left alone….or so we though 😉 they may have made a stop at another bar if you know what I mean

  12. D. B. Dean says:

    My husband is actually a great dancer…which is why it annoys the crap out of me that he has only danced with me three in 13 years of marriage. Our wedding. Once when I bet him i could lose 15 lbs prior to my cousins wedding…if I did he had to dance a day with me. He did = a slow dance…and just like a white boy he moved back ne forth in the white boy sway….

    Lastly he danced a fast dance once at another friends wedding cause his boss was there and he was ordered to dance with with me by his boss. What did he do…the white boy shuffle…

    The man can DANCE…but its only done in our living room when no one is watching except me is watching and only for a few moments to make people laugh. Slow dance, fast dance, waltz…he CAN do it…he just wont…so frustrating.

  13. […] was a step that had to be made. No one was going to do it for you. Author Tom Schreck’s take on guys dancing, and the repercussions, is a must read here. At one time I thought the girls (at […]

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