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Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm a Wallflower... I Don't Like to Dance!

So, everyone is different... that's what makes the world go 'round, right? I don't like to dance and that seems to be a problem for some people and I'm not exactly sure why.  I don't get it.

That's not to say that I have never enjoyed dancing. Hey, back in my 20s, I could head-bang with the best of them on punk rock nights at a local bar. My best friend, Suzanne and I and our friends, Marcus and Kevin would highlight and spike our hair, dress in black and frequent a bar every Wednesday night which was punk rock night. It was a popular disco and I think it was called The Cuckoo's Nest (which no longer exists), but one night a week, they played punk music. Back then I could also get blitzed.  I can't do that anymore. Well, I could but I'm not willing to endure the hangovers anymore.

At any rate, I haven't danced in like 25 years and while I'm completely happy to sit there and "people-watch" and enjoy the music, I just don't like or want to dance myself. And for some reason, this is unacceptable to a great many people which has resulted in ruining many otherwise pleasant evenings for me.

Every year, I get incredibly stressed out at the prospect of attending my boyfriend's company holiday party because I know his boss will inevitably ask me to dance. He doesn't take no for an answer. Picture me sitting at the table, eating dinner and catching up with old friends... or should I say TRYING to catch up with old friends because the music is usually blasting so loud that we can't hear each other and within ten minutes, my voice is hoarse from shouting. And I'm on edge because I know (I KNOW) the boss will come over at any time to ask me to dance or to harass my boyfriend into getting both of us on the dance floor. I have tried avoiding eye contact; I have tried to politely say "no thank you" a gazillion times. I've tried gripping my chair for dear life with one hand while my other arm is being pulled out of its socket by this person who is refusing to just let me be. Why does it have to be that way? What compels people to behave that way? Why can't I sit and eat my dinner and chat with friends if that's what I choose to do?? Why can't I just sit there and watch other people dance?  It's rather amusing and I enjoy it, you know?

I feel bad because I'm sure my boyfriend is appalled by my behavior. Heck, I'm appalled by it! Who would want to be in a situation where they have to forcibly wrest their arm free from someone's grasp? Geez!

What people don't realize is that there might also be reasons why a person might not want to dance. Personally, I'm always hot (it's the menopause thing) and it's very uncomfortable for me to sit in an adequately air-conditioned room most of the time (unless it's about 50 degrees), but to add a physical activity such as dancing in close proximity to other hot, sweaty bodies - yeah, that doesn't work for me.

I've also had joint pain and trouble walking and have taken to using a cane when the pain has been excruciating. At 51, using a cane to walk around is humbling. I've had to use it a few times at work recently and it's not fun. You feel old and you have to field approximately 50,000 questions from curious people who mean well and want to know what happened. It gets old. So when I attended a wedding recently, I didn't want to bring the cane not only because I didn't want to alarm family and friends, but I didn't want to answer the 50,000 questions, so I left the cane home. And then came the dreaded dance invitations. Between the loud music, the painful joints and the humid weather... well, you can imagine.

To the enthusiastic social dancers out there...Listen, maybe some people are shy. Maybe they are embarrassed. Maybe they can't/don't drink enough to leave their inhibitions behind. Maybe they have cramps, a headache, they just don't feel well. Maybe their shoes hurt. Maybe they just don't like to dance - not everyone does. Whatever! SO WHAT?! There is nothing wrong with that - just leave them alone. They're not bothering you, so don't impose your will on them! If you like to dance, great. Enjoy yourself, have a fantastic time! But for crying out loud if you ask someone to dance and they politely say "no thank you", please just let it be. I mean, maybe ask a perfunctory "are you sure" if you sense the person is just being demure and has a grateful glimmer in their eye while looking hopefully at the dance floor, but if they say "no thanks" again, are avoiding eye contact or scurrying to the nearest exit, please don't cross-examine them or harass them and for Pete's sake, please don't grab their arm and rip their shoulder sockets out. Come on!

I guess I'm passionate about this because I try to respect everyone's feelings and so it amazes and baffles me when people become so overzealous about dancing. I don't see why I have to put myself in a situation that gives me no pleasure - not everyone likes to be out of their comfort zone. I'll admit it - I'm an introvert. Big time. Whenever I've been subjected to team-building exercises at work to determine the balance between extroverts and introverts, I'm always at the extreme end of Introvert. Being in social situations, family gatherings and even being around people at work everyday is torture for me. If given the choice of going to a party or staying home alone with a good book, I will always choose the book. I don't mean to be mean and I don't mean to offend.  It just is what it is. Am I weird? Perhaps. But at this point in my life, if something doesn't make me happy, I'm not doing it no matter how much I'm bullied. So, yeah, I'm a wallflower, I don't like to dance; it's just not my thing and I'm alright with it. Honest!