30-Day Song Challenge, Day 9: A song you can dance to

Yeah, right about there. But Cal doesn't wear that shade of lipstick.

It’s not that I can‘t dance — it’s that I’m not a dancer.

I’m also not a kiss-you-hello-or-goodbye person (much to the chagrin of our friend Cal, who goes in for the smooch, only to inevitably end up bussing somewhere near my temporomandibular joint when I flinch at the last moment and proffer a cheek instead). And no hugs when I first meet you, people — a nice handshake will do. Maybe it’s from growing up Lutheran?

That doesn’t explain the no-dancing thing, though: Even my own mom was stunned to realize, at one of my sister’s weddings, that I did indeed know how to, as she put it, “move.”

It’s hard to convey to people who ask you to dance in clubs why exactly you’re not taking them up on the offer. They take it personally. For a while I tried saying things like “I’m here watching everyone else’s drinks” but that’s only a temporary fix, and if I end up agreeing to dance after that I’m too self-conscious to really have fun.

NPH demonstrating the "Hot/Crazy" Scale

Enter, graphing and liquor. Not at the same time, of course — that would be dangerous! — but rather, I fall back on a demonstrated line graph to explain why I don’t dance. (For reference, please watch this  clip from “How I Met Your Mother,” where at 0:48 Barney demonstrates the “Hot/Crazy” scale.)

My graph, meanwhile, starts with a zero point of “dead sober / highly unlikely to dance.” And as the number of drinks increases, so does the possibility of dancing.  proportionately with the number of drinks.

However, there is a danger point, where the level of intoxication required for me to think dancing is a great idea is usually perilously close to the level of intoxication where I am making a fool of myself, and/or getting ready to throw up. (Click on image at right to see rudimentary version.)

There are a few exceptions, of course: “Out of town where nobody knows me” always loosens inhibitions … which is how I ended up on the dance floor on a recent trip to New York City. It turns out that my friend Rich was visiting family in New Jersey at the same time, so we ended up going out with friends of his for a pub crawl. We started at The Monster, where upstairs is a piano bar and downstairs is a dance club, and after a few hours, by the time “Drop It Low” by Ester Dean came on, I deserted the drinks and joined the others on the floor. (Rich, disbelievingly: “Really?!”)

Blessedly, there was no throwing up to be had that night. We continued on to Eastern Bloc in hopes of running into Anderson Cooper’s alleged boyfriend (we did not, although we did meet a very friendly go-go boy), and even The Eagle, which is the sort of place that usually kicks in my Thin Arms Self-Loathing but — thanks, vodka! — I was beyond it by that point.

Richie is a good “bad chaperone,” or a bad “good chaperone,” or possibly just fun to hang out with. I need someone like that to egg me on, to be a little more relaxed and crazy and get out of my brain. So it was the best weekend in the city ever, even if in subzero temperatures Richie absconded with my knit cap. I’m going back to NYC in May for work, and I’m hoping to tack on a few personal days so I can see what other sorts of trouble I can get into. Wish me luck, and have a good weekend!

WHAT SAM WORE: 2-18-11
The shirts: McMurry-branded short-sleeve jersey shirt by American Apparel,
over a waffle-weave henley from Old Navy .
The pants: Dark-wash jeans by William Rast for Target.
The shoes: Custom All-Stars from converse.com, a gift from Funny Michael.

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