The lovely reader eilish asks:
Glinda, what do you think of a covert movement to make all boys take proper ballroom dance courses? I think my son might thank me in the long run, but I’m curious what your thoughts are.
Glinda is of the opinion that Culture, with a capital C, is one of the most valuable things that we as parents can help our children become aware of. Notice the Glinda did not say “like,” but at least some type of exposure is necessary. Lack of exposure may or may not lead to a dedication to NASCAR, the fondness for the bonging of the beer, a penchant for greasy trucker hats, or any number of unfortunate things. Dance, along with art, writing, and music, are some of humanity’s expressions at their finest. It is important that our children grow up to at least appreciate Culture and recognize its place in our society.
Ahhh, the Glinda can see it now, the handsome son dressed in the classic tuxedo, gliding across the mirror-like dance floor, leading his beautiful partner. What mother would not love to see her son exuding such grace and elegance as he executes the perfect foxtrot? “Dancing With the Stars” is the ratings phenomenon for good reason, is it not?
Almost all women are smitten with a man who can comport himself with reasonable aplomb on the dance floor. And while we as mothers may be aware of this, it is a difficult concept to convey to the young men in our lives. It seems that grace and elegance are shockingly low on the list of priorities for most boys. Or perhaps grace and elegance while dodging the linebackers, or running the bases, but nothing that includes wearing shiny shoes with heels seems to count.
The Glinda thinks that firstly, we should remember that dance, while still being Culture, is technically a sport. Even if our sons do not see it that way, it is the truth. Dancers are athletes, who train and practice as much as any person with a ball of varying size and a playing field. One cannot shuffle a few steps of the Electric Slide and call themselves a dancer. Getting the young man to see dance from this point of view may help to ease the resistance, although the Glinda is not betting on it.
That being said, the Glinda thinks that such a thing as ballroom dancing should be treated as a sport. Any more than you would force your child to play basketball, you should not necessarily force them to take the ballroom dancing classes. The Glinda would suggest enrolling your child in a class for one particular style of ballroom dance, for example, the waltz. And for however many courses it takes to master the basics of the waltz, that would be the commitment from the young person. Just as if your child were to join a sport, you would have them finish out the season once the commitment was given.
But after that, base future attendance upon the enthusiasm, or lack thereof, of the participant. The young man may begin by hating his dance lessons with the fire of a thousand white-hot suns. Eventually, he may begin to like it a little, in spite of himself. Or, depending on the young man, he may not. This is where parental wisdom and knowledge of the particular child come into play. At this point, you the parent can congratulate yourself on the exposure, however brief it may have been, to Culture.
However, as well-intentioned as it may be to try and attempt to forestall a lifetime’s worth of awkward chicken-like dances at weddings and parties, the lessons being given will only be as valuable as the one receiving them allows them to be.