This is my response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt — Groove.
As some of you may know, I am a delicate, sensitive flower. I blame it on the boogie. So I want to raise an issue that is dear to my heart, even though this may be an issue mostly in my own head. But it feels real enough. First some background…
When I was growing up in Australia in the ’70s and ’80s, Countdown was the show we all watched on the tele. It was a music show that brought in artists from all over the world to lip sync their music in front of a live crowd. It gave many artists their big break. Countdown was huge and it got pretty wild. There were sequins galore. And because it was the ’70 and ’80s, there was a lot of disco music. I adored it. It was how I learnt to dance. I seemed to have the knack for it.
Have you ever noticed how many people are embarrassed about dancing, especially in public? Maybe there is a general background level of embarrassment about dancing? I dunno. Here’s the thing – I was a fat kid in the days before obesity rates skyrocketed in Australia (excessive insulin and too much chocolate does that to you). The fact that I was a fat dancer only seemed to escalate the embarrassment factor. Dancing with all the twirls and flourishes that accompanies disco dancing, was not for fat kids. Dancing was for firm, young bodies. The tele told me so. If I had thought that dancing as a profession was open to fat people, I might have tried to pursue it as a career. Instead, I studied economics and ate chocolate.
I still love my dancing. I pursue it furtively and not so furtively in the privacy of my own home. While times have changed, I have an inkling that dancing is still not really for fat people, and it is certainly not for fat, old people. Sometimes, on a popular social media site, people share videos of fat dancers (usually wearing tiny, rhinestone undies) or old people (like really old) rocking it. People do seem to have a genuine affection for fat and/or old dancers who do not see their physical attributes as a barrier to dancing and having fun. How
out there, brave cute (my interpretation)! I’m always just a little uncomfortable with such expressions of support, and what they perhaps imply, eg. dancing is an activity for firm, young bodies, and if you are fat and/or old and you are dancing, then you are brave because you are doing something that is kind of shameful. I also note that young men who like to dance also encounter similar stigma (exceptions are made for young gay men though). You get my drift. Am I being too sensitive about this, do you think? Is it any wonder that dance clubs are synonymous with drugs and alcohol?
Frankly, I’m a bit over it. So I’m letting go of that part of the embarrassment factor that is purely in my head. I’m done with it. I’m coming out as a dancer (and an old, fat person) and I’m proud.
I’ve told my kids that I want a 70s/80s dance party for my wake. I’ve trained them up. They can shake their groove thing. I’m really annoyed that I’ll miss the party, so maybe I shouldn’t wait that long to dance with somebody who loves me.
If you encounter any subtle dance-related shaming in future, I invite you to call it out for what it is. Groove is in the heart, not the waistline or dermis. Yep, that’s my new motto (I have so many). Dance with me and make the world a better place.
Looking for writing or photography inspiration? Join us at the Ragtag Daily Prompt – https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/.
Comments welcome. Can’t find the Comments Section? Keep scrolling.
Yours in Boogie Wonderland.