Go Dancing and Call it Exercise

Go Dancing and Call it Exercise

In today’s society most men display the majority of their athletic prowess in front of the television, and are content to exercise vicariously with a video game, or by arm wrestling beer cans if at all.  So to some, suggesting that taking your wife or girl friend out for a night on the town should qualify as sport might seem OK, and to others it may still seem a stretch.  There are many dangerous sports and activities that you can now watch on television that most men would never even think of attempting.  These other sports involve jumping out of airplanes, off large ramps, or onto really precarious fields of play, but few garner the potential hazards, injury or embarrassment that may result from your lady’s long memory of a broken toe nail, or an elbow to the chin, and add to that your neighbor’s amusement at just how you dance.  Yes, many of you laugh at the mere thought that dancing may be considered a sport at all.  After all, how can anything that has so long been associated with drinking and cigarettes be considered a true sport?

Well, first there is billiards.  Certainly sporty enough to rank a place on ESPN, but most of us remember it as an activity where the proprietor was forever shouting about not leaving the cigarette on the table while you took your shot.  Not because he was worried about the short amount of time it would take to make the shot, but because he realized that after two pitchers of beers you most likely wouldn’t even remember that you smoked let alone where you put the cigarette.  Then there is golf.  Anyone who has watched the classics on the Golf Channel has seen most of the major golfers of the day smoking, as they went from tee to green.  The good old days were probably not as healthy as anyone wants to remember.  Then there was the infamous nineteenth hole.  Bowling, need I go on?  Today’s athletes are stronger, healthier, and certainly tuned in to the perils of smoking and other vices, and all while trying to promote their sport and maintain or strengthen themselves to participate longer and at a higher level.

Dancing at least at the social or amateur level has thus far failed miserably to get to that next step.  One of the reasons that dancing should succeed is that it is one of the few activities where the man is still in charge.  At least that is the way it should be marketed.  In today’s society where more and more often any semblance of sexism is deemed inappropriate and therefore brutish, vulgar, arcane, and whatever men normally are, wouldn’t it be wonderful for men to have a sport or activity where most ladies love to participate and the man gets to be in charge, can be assertive and be the one in “control”.  After all, the man gets to pick the steps, along with deciding when to get onto the floor, and he even decides how fast to go.  These many specialized tasks require only a little bit of expert advice, which we can now offer.

As to picking the steps, a man first needs to understand the importance of the starting position.  Upon entering the playing field, you must check out the remaining players.  If they are spaced loosely around the floor, start in the middle of the floor so you can look them over and decide whom you want to get in front of, so as to block their every move and make them look really stupid to their girl and neighbors.  If they are jammed up in the middle of the floor, start way out on the outside so that you can go along the sidelines for at least ten feet before the crowd shifts and is in your way.  Then you can mumble about how they are going against the grain, and shouldn’t be allowed on the floor.  Repeated a few times, you will be as despised as a true linebacker.  So much so, that when they see you going towards the floor, even the men will go together to the rest room, and you will have the whole floor to yourself to do whatever steps you want without any annoying interruptions.

As to which steps to actually use, many think this involves years and years of study and practice.  So I am certain you will be surprised to learn it all in these few paragraphs, but here goes.  Steps that go somewhere are very important.  Whereas seasoned and trained dancers (and athletes of many other persuasions) will actually look in the direction they are going, neophytes, and beginners and all too many “self avowed” experts will try to back their way blindly through the floor.  It is the old, “If I can’t see them they aren’t there” strategy.  This will work if your shoulders are broad enough to move large buildings in a single bound.  For most, it comes to a sudden stop when you hit a larger person, trip over the band’s speaker, or fall over a ringside table.  The sudden stop can be camouflaged with snuggling and a soft whisper of some memorized endearment, but there is no way to avoid the snickers, and outright laughter following the free fall.  So it may actually pay to learn to move in a visually advantageous direction. Just a thought, guys.

Next, there are steps that change directions.  Obviously most men have no problem here.  We just stop, turn and go the other way, but since we do not come equipped with air bags, our partners suffer the whiplash.  They will not let you forget it either, complaining about a headache for days, so take the time to learn to do this right.  Right after stepping on her delicate foot with your size 13EEE Timberlands, jerking them around is about as bad as it can get.  The philosophy is to plan ahead and see where the traffic is coming from.  If you are really tall this is easy enough.  If not, just shout, blame the other guy, and wait for the men to go off together to the rest room before entering the dance floor again.

Steps that make the lady look good are most important.  Some people refer to these, as “the steps that make the lady look good”.  Dips, sways, and pick-ups or lifts are just some.  It is true that men remember the ladies swooning after Fred Astaire or John Travolta did the step, and we will take all the swooning we can get.  This is why we try these steps, but Fred practiced on how to do it right so the lady actually looked good for the movie.  Fortunately for most men, big screen replays are not standard at most clubs, so the lady remembers only that it was a dip.  She does not get to see if she looks like a cow or lady, and the man is mostly so proud of himself for doing such a magnificent rendition, she forgets she was even part of the step.  The man exclaims, “Wow that was great.”  Few ladies will bust his bubble, and we figure that silence is consent.  Right.

While there are a few other categories, like changing position on the floor, moving to the open spot, dancing in place while others pass, you get the idea, but for now you can start with the basics.  Once you start moving around, this stuff gets to be fun just like driving that open car on a nice night, beautiful girl in your arms, you get the point.  Just as with driving a car certain precautions must be taken.  Cars come equipped with bumpers to avoid the damage associated with little mishaps that are going to occur.  When you have that special lady in your arms and you are on the dance floor you can expect the same.  Never fear, properly handled, your partner will look at you as a magician having protected her from all the possible damage, and will be forever indebted.  Your arms and the way you use them to hold your partner act as the bumpers do on a car.  I realize that for some of you the temptation to lower your right hand will be almost unavoidable.  Many men use this act as a barometer of how the evening is going.  Trust me, if while testing the waters so to speak, some other couple cruises along and tramples into or over your partners feet, the evening will not go as planned.  Regardless of how close she is to you, and she can get as close as you want, having your elbows out with a little strength in them will provide the necessary protection for her and your feet when other couples bang into you as if they were at a bumper car ride at the county fair.  You can use the other hand to gently push them out of play, and move smoothly through the crowd.

So you can see, with just a little protection, a little bit of consideration, and some planning this can be a sport that you and your partner might just enjoy for years to come.  Add to that that it requires no special equipment, no special clothing, and the playing fields often come with dinner or at least snacks delivered to the table, and if you want or still need, adult beverages for the extra courage to try this stuff out.  Here we have it, a sport that you can actually do instead of watch, feel instead of hear, where you get on the floor every time instead of sitting on the sideline watching the others play.  You can also leave when you want, watch the neighbors as they do it wrong, or if necessary join the others in the rest room.

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