Sunday, March 16, 2008

Get Up Offa That Thing, Mr. Fry

Stephen Fry has a new podcast, or blogcast, if you will (and if you won't, hey, no big thang). The second installment is partly about his revulsion towards dancing, which, even for non-dancers, borders on the pathological.

I know, I will listen to almost anything spoken in a Scottish, Irish, Welsh, or, as a last resort, English accent. It's part of my own pathology. But Mr. Fry almost always tells me something I didn't know, or haven't heard, in the most ever-so-correct King's English. It's quite stimulating, yet soothing at the same time.

His troubles abiding the dance remind me of Drew's issues. Drew, of course, is not so messed up that the very fact that he does not excel at it make him unable to appreciate it, or in Mr. Fry's case, even witness it (did you follow that? I may have gotten lost there in the middle, but I think I left a trail of bread crumbs). But it does give me a small appreciation of what it is like to lack the dance gene.

And I call it a gene, because in those possessing it, it can possess us. Can you listen to Madonna's Vogue without doing a little, um, voguing? Can you listen to Haddaway's What Is Love without bobbing your head like Jim Carrey on SNL?

If music makes you twitch, and get up, and flop around like a flounder out of water, you've got the gene. You don't have to be a good dancer, you just have to need to dance.

Those who do not have it can sit quietly and happily listen to James Brown's Get Up Offa That Thing, and those who do are absolutely powerless to sit still.

I am really happy for Dean's generation, as they are so much more free to dance with or without a partner of whatever gender. When Drew and I were in high school, we either had to troll for a dance partner, or sit and wait for someone to settle for us. Luckily, I did not grow up in the generation of girls forced to wait for an invitation, and I went trolling when I needed to.

As I believe the dance gene resides on the X chromosome, I'm pretty sure that I have a double dose, which can be a blessing and a curse.

I am completely at sea in social situations, and can be shy to the point of muteness. But when put in a situation that includes dancing, I lose all my inhibitions, and become the picture beside the definition of "dancing fool." This can be helpful, allowing some people to realize that I'm not the arrogant prig I seemed at first, but am actually quite jolly and possibly mildly retarded.

That is okay with me, as "retarded and jolly" beats "arrogant prig" in my book. With the exception of presidents. But it's hard to get used to the amused looks.

Where was I? I was going to mention the fact that dancing, although you can do a pretty good job of avoiding it, will normally be thrust upon you once a year or so, which is unusual for any other activity. Say you hate bowling and you don't like standing up in front of a bunch of people, throwing gutter balls. In this case, it is easy to avoid ever having to bowl. But dancing is different. Weddings, holiday parties, bars, dancing can jump out at you, and you can not always gracefully decline.

I suppose someone like Stephen Fry, who has excelled at so many things (acting, writing, film production, knowledge vacuuming), would find it most unpleasant to be forced to do something he does not understand and finds completely, Britishly ridiculous. Luckily Drew is of sturdier stuff and can abide a little dancing every once in a while.

More luckily, these days I'm free to grab anyone else with the dancing gene to join me, and do not necessarily have to force Drew out on the floor. Although he is my favorite partner.


cpt a said...

I am such a goob...

piglet said...

If you don't look like a goob when you dance, you're not doing it right.