Friday was Daniel’s first dance. I was caught off-guard that it came up so quickly. Thursday night, he brought the permission slip. He was very excited. I was very nervous.
I was nervous because I didn’t know what Daniel’s expectations were for this dance. Was he expecting fun, romance? What would he be confronted with at a 6th grade dance? For advice, I turned to the expert – my 8th grade step-daughter via Facebook chat.
“It’s only a 6th grade dance,” she assured me,”they will hang out and have pizza and drinks. He will be fine.”
Later that evening, Daniel poked his head around the corner of the kitchen doorway.
“What will I do at this dance?” he asked hesitantly. I could tell he was starting to wonder what he had gotten himself into and second guess this whole “dance” idea.
“Oh, hang out, eat pizza and have drinks,” I replied.
“But what about dancing?” he asked.
“I don’t think there will be a lot of dancing,” I confided.
“But what if there is dancing? I don’t know how,” his nervousness showed through.
“I have a secret to tell you,” I replied, “neither does anyone else. It is 6th grade. Everyone is nervous and new at this. In the movies you see dances where everyone dances well, but that is because someone taught them that one dance and they all practiced together for months before they filmed. In real life, it isn’t like that. Just have fun.”
Daniel did not look convinced. My reassurances were not helping. I immediately thought of Daniel, a year ago, dancing as he put away the dishes.
Then, I thought of this study on attractive male dance moves that I saw reported on in the news. Jennifer Walsh and Eliza Strickland describe the study well on their Discovery blog but the basics are summed up in this quote:“The complete findings appear in the journal Biology Letters, but Neave told the BBC that variety is the real secret for avoiding low-rated “dad dancing.”
“It was not just the speed of the movements, it was also the variability of the movement . . . someone who is twisting, bending, moving, nodding.””
“I saw this scientific study where they discussed the most attractive dance moves for guys. The guys rated as the best dancers were not the ones who kept their arms close to there body and took small steps in a circle. Instead, it was the guys that exuded confidence by using large arm movements and lots of variety in their movement,” I explained. I figure if he is going to go for it, he should give it his all.
Daniel brightened visibly. He spent the rest of the evening practicing his moves through the living room into the kitchen and back down the hall to his room. Given this preview, I hope I gave him the right advice. What do you think? 🙂