On dance: Another satire (but not really)

St. Paul used the runner as a metaphor in his epistles. I wish he had done the same for dance.

There are two reasons why I suggested that churches hold swing dance socials. The first is that I enjoy getting my way and need people to dance with; the second is that dance can subtly catechize people who have rejected gender roles for a long time.

In a partner dance, there is a lead and a follow. Typically the lead is a man, and the follow is a woman. The lead guides the follow across the floor, and suggests new moves by gesture and weight transfer. The follow goes where she is led, and decides whether she trusts the lead enough to try new things. He must respect her choices.

The lead typically looks forward over the follow’s shoulder, and is responsible for making sure that she stays safe and looks good doing it. The follow looks backward over the lead’s shoulder, and makes sure he doesn’t make a fool of himself. They take care of each other. The idea is that they get good enough to move as if they were one unit.

Two follows would just stand stand around and do nothing, waiting for a cue; two leads isn’t dancing, but fighting. When a follow tries to control a dance, it’s called “back-leading.” Nobody respects leads who permit it; nobody like follows who try it. The biggest issue for dance instructors nowadays is that men are hesitant leads.

It’s now one of society’s biggest problems as well. Get the hint yet?

Dance can rub off some emotional and spiritual rough edges. The funny part is that even diehard liberals figured it out, and used to love making sexist jokes during classes. It was good, clean, equal-opportunity bigotry!

A Women’s Studies major might joke about how follows always get told what to do, or a gay guy who could both lead and follow (there’s a lot of those) would make some wisecrack about he’s “proud to go both ways.” Even straight white guys got away with this stuff!

Since the last round of transgender and safe space controversies, it all changed. We’ve started reassuring beginners that nobody is more suited to one role than another. After all, it’s not like dance was originally about courtship, or men and women or something.

And now that you’ve read this, I beg you not to sue me!


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