Guys, has this ever happened to you?
You and your best friend are out on the town with your dates. You have a nice dinner. You drink a few drinks. You hit the dance floor. This is your night.
Then it happens.
In mid-song, for reasons that are never fully explained to you later, your dates turn and say, “Stay here. We’ll be right back.”
Like that, they’re gone.
Caught in the momentum of your joyous evening, you keep dancing. You gaze up into the disco ball, hands out, palms up as you twirl in circles. Your best friend does the same.
And in mid-twirl, just as you’re about to bend into a ballerina curtsy, it dawns on you.
You’re dancing with a guy. To a Justin Timberlake song. And there are people watching. Not just any people. These are cool people who look like they just stepped out of a Maxim magazine ad after beating up the people in an Esquire magazine ad.
All eyes are on you.
What do you do?
What DO you do?
As a frequent victim of Awkward Female Dance Floor Desertion Syndrome, I think it’s high time we opened a national dialogue regarding what I have designated as “Straight Male-Male Dance Protocol.”
I will open the dialogue by reviewing conventional options.
One obvious solution is to just keep dancing. That’s a good lad, pretend the girls are still there. No one will notice two men dancing to a Justin Timberlake song. Right. Keep believing that as the dance floor parts in a crop circle around you.
Clearly this is an unacceptable option. The only thing most straight men fear more than appearing gay is becoming gay. And we all know that nothing turns you gayer quicker than dancing with another man in public.
It’s not unlike that moment when you’re walking next to your friend and your hands bump and there’s a silence and you know that if one of you doesn’t violently stick-punch the other in the clavicle in the next three seconds you’ll never be friends again.
It happens more often than you’d think.
If you don’t want to keep dancing, you always have the option of fleeing immediately. By doing this, however, you run the risk of appearing homophobic. And as conventional wisdom goes, most homophobes are not comfortable with their own sexual identity.
Bottom line: Both options turn you instantly gay.
If you don’t want to dance with your buddy, yet you don’t want to confront your confused sexuality either, you do have the option of finding other girls to dance with.
The upside: You appear more manly than ever. The downside: Most women do not like returning to find their date grinding on another woman’s badonkadonk. Date over.
If none of those options appeals to you, I do have a secret ace up my sleeve that never fails.
Do this exactly: Stand and sway, half-dancing, half-acting like you’re talking to your friend, half-looking around, half-bobbing your head to the beat, half-nodding hello to imaginary people who in imagination-world are nodding back at you.
It doesn’t look pretty, but it gets the job done.
Where are the women during all this? I think they’re sitting at the bar laughing at us, watching, waiting and praying for the DJ to play a slow song.
I open the floor to you, America. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments. Only together can we eradicate the nationwide dance floor scourge that is the Awkward Female Dance Floor Desertion Syndrome.
(Originally published 12/3/03.)
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