Dancing in my Head

There is an ugly truth that people who have known me as an adult only find out at weddings or fancy holiday parties: I can’t dance. The really strange thing about my inability to relax and move my body to the beat with ease on a dance floor is that Papa John loves to dance. I mean, he really, really loves to dance.

So how did we end up together?

Dancing played a big part in how we met and got to know each other. I saw how much he liked dancing and figured I better improve if I was going to catch his attention. So when I heard he was going to teach dancing lessons, I signed up right away. I thought surely this guy can help me.

He did, but not in the way you might think. When we dance together people think “we” can dance, but that’s not really the truth. Yes, “he” can dance but the reason it looks like “we” can dance is because he just whips me across the floor and twists me around and around. He gets me so dizzy that my body involuntarily relaxes enough that it kind of looks like I’m actually dancing. But it’s an illusion. It’s all Papa John, the magic man.

People quickly learn the truth if I end up being stuck out on the floor during a song change where people start to just dance on their own, improvising as they go. You know, the kind of song where you’re supposed to just move to the beat and improvise your moves. Just let your body go.

Yeah, right. That, readers, is my idea of hell. I completely freeze up at those moments.

“Just feel the beat and move,” Baby Mama offers, “it doesn’t matter what you look like; just have fun!” God, she’s so annoyingly like her father.

Just like some people practice singing in the shower, I once had the idea to practice dancing in the shower. It’s easy to relax in a nice hot shower! I’m not going to go into the details but let’s just say that dancing in the shower can cause injury.

I actually bought a set of video tapes that teach you how to dance during those individual improvisational times. That didn’t work either. As a matter of fact, the company had their attorney send me a cease and desist order to never mention that anything I do on the dance floor was something I learned from their tapes. Something about causing irreparable harm to their business. Whatever.

It doesn’t say so in Wikipedia but I’m pretty sure I was the real inspiration for this Phil Collins video (go to 1:10 in to see them imitating me):

I love to watch people dance though. I love movies with dancing but that’s always dangerous because it makes me think maybe I can do it this time and so I try again. When Dirty Dancing came out, I was sure I could do it.

Well, it was dirty all right, but not dirty in the “Hey-look-at-me-don’t-I-look-sexy” kind of way. No it was the “Oh-crap-I-fell-in-the-mudhole-and-now-look-like-an-idiot” kind of way. Dirty dancing is not supposed to make people look away in horror so I promised everyone I won’t do that anymore.

So why did Papa John, who loves to dance like no one else I know loves to dance, end up with me? Did he just feel sorry for me? Did he consider me a project?

Nope. The real reason he married a non-dancer is that this freed him from the burden of dancing monogamy. See, if I was as into dancing as he is, he would have to spend most of his dancing time with me, and although he’d tell you that was fun, he also like dancing with anyone else who wants to dance.

We both saw how perfect this relationship could be early on. In college he danced with all the ladies who wanted to dance. They asked me if it was okay. Are you kidding? Yes, it’s okay. Get me out of the hot spot here. Please.

If he had married someone who loved to dance as much as he did, he’d have to worry about whether he was dancing with me enough. This way he had no worries! He could dance the night away with all the ladies whose guys were like me and didn’t particularly care to dance so much and we’re both happy. It’s a perfect match really.

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