L comes from one of those African countries with a reputation for deadly booty-shakin, feet-groovin funky tunes, whose music and dance culture is rapidly growing in global popularity, particularly via South America. Whenever we’re out and people realise where he’s from – and that he refuses, point blank, to dance – I never fail to elicit sympathy and surprise from friends. “A [Insert African country here]-ican you doesn’t dance?!”
Yes it turns out tv lied to us: not all Africans groove and shake the night away.
Now I’m the first person to admit that people from foreign cultures are in no way obliged to fulfil our misguided stereotypes of them…
But geez I wish L would dance! Even just a little.
I’m no party animal in any definition of the term. I prefer to spend my time reading, writing, camping, hiking or any other activity that’ll set me down at the end of the day with either a good book or a good feed. But I love dancing and loved clubbing in my late teens and early twenties: The buzz of the music, the pulsating beats, the thrill of busting it out with randoms who I was too shy to actually speak to. Dancing is human bodily communication par excellence – you can be anonymous yet connected. And as a withdrawn and socially awkward 20 year old in a club at 3 am, it’s hardly surprising that I got such a high out of it, completely unassisted by alcohol or drugs. In fact, I can still dance non-stop til sunrise on water alone.
Which is why I’m a bit bummed that L refuses to dance, or even go out most of the time. We’ve been in a new city for a while now but I still haven’t made too many friends to go out with, and I was hoping L would morph into my partner in crime. Unfortunately, things haven’t quite gone to plan. The only time I’ve seen him on the dance floor is when a friend asked him to look after her mum, who was visiting over the weekend and had joined us at the pub.
(Which makes me think…maybe I should drag him out clubbing with my mum when she visits….and then they’d both get dancing…and maybe my mum would actually give him a chance…but that’s a story for another post!).
When I recently complained about his lack of enthusiasm for a good night out, L gave his usual Oscar-the-grouch-reply – “Bah, I hate dancing. Go without me”. He mentioned that his ex-girlfriend, before he moved to Australia, would also always complain about his refusal to dance. “I used to go up to other guys at the club and ask them to dance with her.” He twinkles remembering. “Nobody ever said no, they’d have big grins on their faces”.
Then confusion slights his eyes.
“But I don’t know, she would always just get annoyed with me anyway”.
Sounds like she doesn’t know how luck she was. At least he took the girl out!