As we’re on the cusp of middle-age and empty-nesting, (and the teenagers are FINALLY showing some signs of severing the umbilical chord), we’ve decided it’s time to re-ignite some of the passions we enjoyed in our previous life, the one we shared before the kids took over. Not all of the passions, obviously but we’re thinking about music. Maybe going to some gigs together again.
The only hesitation I have about getting back into the swing of music and gigs is that the old man is never just content to stand in the crowd and appreciate the music; he always feels has to physically express his enjoyment, and strut his stuff. Embarassingly
To Dad dance.
We were given a reminder of those ‘special’ moves this week, when he unfortunately discovered Psy and his Gangnam Style of dancing. Believe me, I am trying not to be cynical, but it is kind of embarrassing when you’ve tried to cultivate a reputation among your peers for being serious musos, and the old man trivialises it with his obvious delight in something like Gangham Style.
For although music and dance share an obvious (and dangerously close) relationship, it is one which I believe does not need to be fully re-explored in middle age. Because very few middle-aged men can and should dance.
Blame it on their physiology, but the male dance mojo seems to disappear along with key hormones, hair and libido. Approaching late forties, around the same time that women start to consider style changes to accommodate their maturity, men should stop dancing publicly.
Unfortunately, the old man doesn’t seem to have grasped this concept yet. And his Gangnam Style is not a pretty sight. (And there was I thinking that he might have gleaned something from the teens reaction of abject horror to his dad moves in the Arctic Monkeys moshpit a few months ago).
I hadn’t heard of Psy and his Gangnam Style until this week, but his horse riding dance moves do appear to me to be nothing more than a contemporary form of dad-dancing.
I can’t dance either. I am that toe-curlingly bad, handbag shuffling 80s dancer, who only struts her stuff ‘under the influence’ or through unremitting peer pressure. I sway a bit here, shuffle a bit there, I’m always just ever so slightly off the beat, and my physical demeanour on the dance floor oozes of an awkwardness suggesting that a tax investigation would be infinitely more fun. But I KNOW I can’t dance. Can’t dance, won’t dance.
Why is it that so many men seem to rediscover their mojo on the dance floor?
And particularly men who have difficulties expressing themselves in normal everyday life? With the first few beats of a favourite song, their hips start swaying and any inhibitions are dumped. It’s like some dance chemical in the biological makeup of these men is suddenly released, (often aided by that lethal grape and grain combination), and it unleashes their inner Travolta. Communicative and co-ordinated are not the two C words that I would ordinarily choose to describe the old man, but put him on a dance floor under strobe lights and (he thinks) he makes Psy look like an amateur.
His discovery of Gangnam Style has taken his dad-dancing to a new level. But unfortunately, there are some things that a marriage cannot survive, no matter how solid the emotional foundations, and the sight of the old man breaking out unexpectedly Gangnam style in the kitchen is creating an awkward tension in the house. The teens have been privy to his developing Gangnam moves all week, and are frankly appalled. A secret family crisis meeting was held on Wednesday night. XFactor has a lot to answer for.
I do want to be a supportive wife and celebrate this new form of stress release and self-expression but if I’m honest, the sight of a middle-aged man in a suit, thrusting his hips provocatively and jumping like a Duracell bunny around the kitchen is embarrassing and hardly endearing.
The kids are terrified that he might decide to bring his Gangnam style to the family Christmas in Europe, and whilst all our middle-aged male relations are discussing football and the state of the world economy and dragging on Cuban cigars, he might suddenly break out in the kitchen.
Dancing is an innate talent, rather like sporting talent; not something you can learn. In my opinion, it is something that should be left to the professionals and black people. The rest of us have a duty not to disclose.