Bob made a huge mistake when he was a teenager. He sized up the situation and came to the conclusion that a boy could only get the hottest girls in one of two ways (until he told me this, I’d never known teen aged boys were so calculating): 1. learn to dance or 2. join a band. He’d been subjected by his parents to miserable ballroom dancing lessons, so he chose to pick up a guitar. In fairness to him, he had no idea he would one day marry a woman who thinks nothing is sexier than a man who can dance, but still. I’m sure he gets very annoyed every time I express the sentiment that I wish he’d chosen dancing, but he's too sweet to tell me how much it annoys him.
Now, I do have to admit that I’m not immune to the sexiness of members of the band (especially when they can dance), but I never even benefited from his being a band member. Sometime long before I met him, he read Nikos Kazantzakis and fed into the author’s notion that a human being can only be “great” at one thing. Bob liked to play the guitar, and he liked to write. One would have to go. He chose to put away his guitar (good thing really, since a pastor who writes and delivers a sermon every week is probably going to fair a little better than one who plays a song on his guitar every week). The only time he’s played it since I’ve known him was at his bachelor’s party (a night on which I was absent, but we do have some rather incriminating photos as proof, since he doesn’t remember that evening too well).
I don’t at all subscribe to Bob’s either/or approach to life. If the guy can get the gal by either dancing or being a band member, reason would lead one to believe he’d double his chances if he could do both. And what nonsense that people can only be great at one thing. Look at George Bush, the great liar and the great moron.
But I’m digressing. What I really want to talk about is my fanaticism over dancing men. I first realized how bad it was when attending a happy hour one evening in which the following question was posed, “Which celebrity are you most embarrassed to admit you find physically attractive?” and I found myself (let’s blame some of it on the fact that this was happy hour, and we’d all been there for more than an hour by this time), no hesitation, blurting out, “Drew Carey.” Drew Carey! He’s not my physical type at all and not the least because he wears those awful sorts of glasses that I know are supposed to be so stylish, but that still make me think, “Ewww. 1955 ended 52 years ago.” Besides, he’s a Republican. But have you seen him dance? Maybe those glasses aren’t so bad after all, and you know, some Republicans are actually very nice, charming people.
And it’s not just Drew Carey. There’s Fred Astaire, for instance. I will drop everything to watch Fred Astaire dance. Oh, to have been Ginger Rogers! (Or anyone who showed up on a movie set with him, actually, even the person who brought him his water.) If he’d had no moves, though, I probably would’ve pronounced him the perfect man to play The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz – with no makeup. Instead, I happen to think he was one of the sexiest men who ever lived.
When I was a kid and watching Welcome Back Kotter was demanded of me by my peers the way wearing powder blue Levi’s corduroys was, I was the only girl who preferred the cutely gap-toothed and sweetly tough Epstein. All my friends were gaga over Barbarino. I didn’t see Barbarino and his feather-winged hair’s appeal at all when there was Epstein with his afro. But then I saw Grease (my parents having declared I was too young to see "that awful" Saturday Night Fever), and I began to understand. Centuries later, I saw Pulp Fiction. So John Travolta’s gotten a little pudgy-faced, and he’s a Scientologist, those things don’t matter in life, really, right? What matters is that his dance scene with Uma Thurmond still sends chills up my spine. I could sit and watch that one scene for hours. The only thing better is watching Patrick Swayze (a man I used to think I wouldn’t look twice at if I passed him on the street, my preference being for the thin, bookish types not the rugged, overly-muscular types) giving lessons to Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. Actually, there is one thing better. He could come give me some lessons.
Music video was the death of me when it first became all the rage in this country. Listening to Van Halen on the radio, I was able to maintain my music snob’s attitude that this was one of the most highly mediocre bands out there. Then I saw Eddie Van Halen “jump.” Can that boy jump, or what? I suddenly became addicted to Friday Night Videos (we couldn’t afford cable with MTV when I was in college) in the hopes of catching that one each week. Meanwhile, David Bowie, who’d always had a piece of my heart paired up with Mick Jagger (who never had) for that “Dancing in the Streets” video. All my life I’ve been so disdainful of screaming young women grasping at Elvis’s leather jacket or at John Lennon’s hair, but if Bowie and Jagger came dancing down my street, dressed like that, I think I just might begin to understand.
I am, naturally, completely unfair, because “Two Left Feet” might as well be my middle name. Why should I expect men to be able to win Dancing with the Stars, when I can barely do a simple twist? It’s common knowledge that women are the ones who are supposed to be the dancers in our society, the ones dragging reluctant men out onto the dance floor. But then I realize I’ve known an awful lot of not-very-attractive guys who expect women to be drop-dead gorgeous, or they won’t go out with them. I’m not so bad after all. I’ll go out with you if you can’t dance. I’ll even marry you (although Bob can dance better than he thinks he can. He just doesn’t really like to do it). I just hope you don’t mind if I spend a little time watching the guys who do dance.
Note: my blog posts will be a bit sporadic for the next ten days or so, as today we're headed down to Pennsylvania where Bob will run his "candidating" service, and we'll be officially accepted into the church by the members of our future congregation, and next week I'm off to San Antonio, TX for a math conference. If you're not already doing so, spend some time with all the great writers on my blog roll. You won't even miss me (but promise not to desert me in favor of them).