Why do all males have two left feet?

Katy Guest appeals to men to dance better. But not to overdo it ...

Share
Related Topics

The writer who said that dancing was a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire would have been pretty embarrassed by the sight of Strictly Come Dancing. The celebrity line-up has just been announced, and already there is a sad dichotomy: the ladies shimmy onstage, with sequins, glamour and degrees in jumping about in death-defying heels; the men, with one or two notable exceptions, refuse even to walk elegantly. If theirs were the expression of a horizontal desire, it would be a dark and perverse one, illegal in most states.

Where is it written that heterosexual males must always be curmudgeons on a dance floor? When they take girls aside at school to tell us about sex, drugs and periods, are the boys kept in the sports hall to have both their legs stapled together? Is it considered frivolous to understand the purpose of rhythm? Or is it something to do with multitasking? Perhaps men's preference for prioritising jobs means that they just choose not to listen to music and move all at the same time.

Just like washing, working and learning to read, boys should be encouraged to do dancing because ultimately it will help them to pull girls. George Bernard Shaw, for it was he, got it slightly wrong about the nature of dancing. For many, it is the perpendicular expression of a horizontal ability; an arena in which even misplaced enthusiasm will be better received than an outright refusal to take part.

Men are judged according to their skill in shaking it, but also by the style they choose to shake it in. The steps to the classic Uncle at a Wedding (pointy fingers, eccentric twist, centre of gravity somewhere in your cleavage) are marginally preferable to the Public School Boy (fixed stare, dance class shuffle, tendency to pair off with a dorm mate). The Small Boy on Cherryade (punching, sliding down the church hall on the knees) is a close younger relative of the Student Bop (pogoing to The Proclaimers without spilling a beer). The Brixton Grind is impressive when expertly handled but can be interpreted as a form of assault. The Ersatz Ceilidh is always a good fall-back position, particularly for anyone who can lift a woman twice his weight right off her feet in a Flying Basket without looking like an extra in a Right Guard commercial. But the most important thing is a willingness to try.

That said, there are men who try too hard, and this is where Brendan Cole fits in. Smooth and swish and achingly metrosexual, these are the men who sweep women off their feet for a living and practise in their spare time too. The sort of straight men who turn up at gay bars to hoover up all the spare girls at closing time. The sort who would give themselves 10 out of 10 for sex.

Shaw also wrote: "Do you think that the things people make fools of themselves about are any less real and true than the things they behave sensibly about? They are more true: they are the only things that are true." So here's to the Strictly men with the nerve to make fools of themselves. And let's hope they all avoid the Brixton Grind.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Arts Editor: The Great Character Actors of Football

David Lister
 

All at sea on the night my world turned upside down

Rebecca Armstrong
Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players