So. You think you can dance? Huh, big guy? You really think so? Oh, sure. I bet you can pull off a sad version of the Robot and maybe three-quarters of a Box Step. Maybe even a little Cha Cha Cha and the Y.M.C.A. And, of course, anyone with two left feet can bumble their way through the Electric Slide and the Macarena. But can you Salsa and Samba? Can you Mambo and Rumba? Can you Hora and Hornpipe? Can you T-A-N-G-O?
Well, then. How about the Lindy Hop? The Charleston? The Mashed Potato? The Carolina Shag? I bet you…
I retract that wager.
Hmmmm. Let me think. Aha! I’ve got it! What about the East Coast Swing? The West Coast Swing? The Schottische? The…
Wait a second.
Did you just do a pirouette while I was talking to you?
Now, looky here, Mr. Bojangles. Let me tell you a thing or two. You might entertain with your fancy dancing, but I’d like to see your version of the Cabbage Patch Kid or the Urkel. Or the Sprinkler or the Bartman. And you better believe it, no one — and I mean NO ONE — can do the Stanky Leg like me.
Except, apparently, you:
The Dancing Asshole.
All I can say is, is that it looks a lot like somebody just happened to come from a very affluent background. Maybe someone used a lot of Daddy’s money and a lot of Mommy’s time and was fortunate enough to take years and years of private dance lessons while the rest of us kids spent our after-school hours trying to hit an acorn with a stick while our mother drank drugstore Chianti in bed and our father was off screwing the secretary of the bankrupt family wallpaper business.
Sound familiar, Fred Astaire? Sound like anybody you know? I bet this same somebody probably got white-patent-alligator-skin tap shoes for Christmas while the rest of us watched our father beat the crap out of a second-hand Atari with a steel meat tenderizer because he couldn’t figure out how to put the batteries in. Never mind that an Atari doesn’t even take batteries, or that the secretary showed up in her negligee for a plate of Christmas goose — the same goose my mother ended up throwing out, pan and all, onto the frozen driveway, but not before calling my father a royal bastard-ass for all of Maple Street to hear. Never mind that, Gene Kelly. While you were tripping the light fantastic in your new pair of exorbitant tap shoes, I was drinking maraschino cherry juice and smoking inch-long menthol cigarette butts that I’d fished out of my father’s ashtray. Oh, and duct-taping a joystick back together. Merry effing Christmas.
So, listen up, Baryshnikov. You might impress the masses with your prep-school versions of “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” but just because you think you can dance doesn’t mean you’re a better person than me. Just because you can take the Nordic Polska, segue from the Cotton-Eyed Joe into the Worm, mix in a little Boot Scoot Boogie and Flamenco, and top it all off with a downpour-inducing Native American Rain Dance/Pop ‘N’ Lock doesn’t mean you’re happier or wealthier or will never need a hair transplant or are 67 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack than those of us who’ve been rendered impotent by a poorly executed Moonwalk attempt.
Oh, who am I kidding?
Of course it does.
Compared to your Algorithm March, my sophomoric Hand Jive looks like a distress signal.
So, before you go — off to wow the women with a Headspin and the Bolero — if it’s not too much of an imposition, can I ask you one final thing?
May I have this dance?