We’ve been dancing. Our wedding is happening next month, so we’ve been polishing up our moves in the living room. We’ve coined it the Tuesday Night Dance Party, when we push the coffee table back against the wall, kick off our shoes and crank up the stereo.
Here’s our dancing situations: the girlfriend can kind of dance. And I can kind of not. The girlfriend took years of dance lessons in childhood. Her parents believed in personal enrichment or some such, so she wasn’t allowed to just sit around and watch gobs of television. I mean, my parents believed in enriching experiences, too. We went out to Chi Chi’s for dinner at least once a week, and we practiced the Spanish words we learned off the menu. Yo quiero chimichangas.
Meanwhile, the girlfriend was put through crap like piano classes and Girl Scouts, and of course, dance lessons—and not the cool kind of dance lessons kids envision where you learn to spin on your head and moonwalk. Not even the kind of dance lessons they purport to be doing on the cover of the workout videos, even though it turns out to be a boring work-out with sit-ups set to disco music. She took the kind of jazz, tap and ballet dance lessons. The kind where the teacher has a sharp-sounding Hungarian name. The kind that demands focus, children!
It’s sort of cool, though. The girlfriend doesn’t always get pop culture references, but what is a fleeting ALF joke when you can tap along to a Joplin piano rag? However, there are not more terrifying words strung together in the English language than, “do you want to watch my old dance recital videos?”
THANK GOD WE DON’T HAVE A VHS PLAYER.
Except, here’s the second-most terrifying string of words, “My parents do! We can go over there!”
My dancing situation is one move. I have one move, which doesn’t involve actual moving, since I don’t move my feet. I just kind of groove in place and stay clear of her jazz flailing. I mean, I have to be cognizant here. We’re practicing these dance moves for our wedding. We’re going to be photographed extensively from every possible angle. I’m terrified of being captured in some seizure-riffic disco glory moment or something—a something that must not ever, ever be photographed.
My main problem is that I’m a singer. I just love singing along, and not even the words most of the time. I sing with all the instruments, too. So when I’m inevitably photographed in all of my seizure-riffic disco glory, it will be certain that my mouth will also be wide open.
We always start off the evening with a handful of early Beatles, because naturally everything begins and ends the Beatles. Oh man, those raw John Lennon vocals on stuff like Twist and Shout. The guy was one of the best rock and roll singers ever. The girlfriend twists, and wonders how she’ll pull it off in a wedding dress. I sing along, and we both agree I must not attempt to recreate the wild, head-shaking part culminating after the build-up. In fact, I must not ever, ever attempt to recreate anything that occurs in my mind.
We move into the Beach Boys Hawaii where we break out our surf moves. The girlfriend does this exaggerated hula thing, and I do my one move, only with what I imagine to be a surfer attitude. Well, and then I extend that into a sort of surfing motion move, but then the girlfriend says, “um, don’t do that,” and then I stop.
Where there’s a wedding, there must be the Village People lurking somewhere in the midst. The YMCA is too obvious for me, played at every event where there’s more than ten people and weak mixed drinks. Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE IT—and I say that in a completely sincere and un-ironic, music-loving sort of way. It’s fucking great. But I’m thinking In The Navy because military butch is more fun, and I have a fun saluting-type dance for that one.
Another obvious one is The Hustle by Van McCoy, but I’m not even going to override that one.
DO THE HUSTLE.
Then it’s time for Michael Jackson. It’s PYT. Uh oh. Now I get really into it, and it involves jumping and spins, and there is no stopping me. But then the girlfriend takes video with her cell phone camera, and it does not end well.
So that’s our situations. The girlfriend is all jazz hands and I’m possessed by God-knows-what, and I haven’t even added alcohol to the equation yet. We are like this SOBER. And this is precisely why I must not ever, ever have a single drink during our reception.
But you know what? This is too many rules. I’ve gotta be me, complete with that little surf move and all.
“Whatever, just make sure your mouth is closed in the pictures,” the girlfriend says.