I’m not a good dancer: My ten-stage journey to acceptance

I’m not a good dancer: My ten-stage journey to acceptance

Stage One: I envy your rhythm. You’ve got it, I don’t.

Stage Two: I muse on Steve Martin. I’ve watched The Jerk a grillion times now and still haven’t had my breakthrough beat-finding moment. I was raised a poor, black child (not true). I eat Twinkies (also mostly not true). I lay in bed at night, bopping my feet and snapping my fingers to the sweet sound of the transistor radio (only when there are no boys over). So when do I get my effing moment?

Stage Three: I hide. When my boyfriend asked me to go to a formal dance his grad school was hosting last month, instead of being a good sport and, you know, “trying to dance,” I hid outside in the rain, smoking a pack of two-year-old American Spirits and drunk-dialing the entire J section of my phone. His friends were really impressed, trusties.

Stage Four: I envy your dad. You totally had one of those dads who swept your childhood self around the room while you stood on his graceful, waltzing feet, tiny hand placed in larger hand, pigtails flapping in the sentimental breeze, didn’t you?

Stage Five: I resent my dad. My dad was not like yours.

Stage Six: I fume at gender roles in contemporary society, specifically with respect to the dancefloor. Guys can have many different dancing personas: The normal guy that actually keeps a beat without being all gross and grinding his bonesy up on you. The over-the-top guy who is partial to flailing and referring to his “sweet moves.” The awkwardly endearing guy who doesn’t quite know what he’s doing but it’s okay because he’s a guy and guys are allowed to be awkward. Girls can have one: sexy.  If the Jig Movement were more widely accepted for people of my gender I wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.

Stage Seven: I publicly declare my lack of dance skillz. Maybe people won’t notice/care about how bad a dancer I am if I preempt them with a charmingly self-deprecating warning about my lack of skillz.

Stage Eight: I blame the DJ. All this weird, uhnz uhnz uhnz clubby stuff people are always playing now is just uncomfortable. Is it too much to ask for a little Dire Straits “Walk of Life” every now and then?

Stage Nine: I lie. I’m a really good dancer, actually. Just wait. You’ll see. Keep waiting, please. Thank you. You may continue to wait. Soon, I’ll be turning this mother out. Any minute now.

Stage Ten: Acceptance. Sure, I could consider “consulting a friend,” or “taking some lessons,” but when you’re born as horribly and irrevocably handicapped (emotionally, guys—it counts) as I clearly am, what’s the point? I’d rather just drink a lot and write whiny blogs like this instead.

Regan Smith (not pictured above)