Friday, June 27, 2008

Everybody Can* Dance

My best friend is getting married tomorrow. There will be a ceremony. There will be a reception. There will be alcohol. There will be dancing. I have a crazy hangover this morning and I'm going to try to get out of work early to go play a little golf with the poor bastard; so I'm going to put up the post my sister wrote for me a month or so back. I'm happy I waited because it unintentionally relates to tomorrow's festivities. This is probably the most well-written post that will ever appear on this blog, so don't get used to it. (Although I think my Super Bowl "article" is pretty damn good)

Stamps, rocks, assorted “miraculous” food items containing the face of Jesus; people collect all sorts of crap. As for my personal items of covet, they include Happy Holidays Barbie (don’t knock it, the original is worth quite a pretty penny), and Hard Rock Café pilsner glasses. HRC pilsners are a great way to show off where you have been as you enjoy a nice frosty beverage. (Although in retrospect, shot glasses would have been a better choice, as they are much easier to transport). Sometimes I just go to the gift shop and buy the glass, but other times, an “all American meal” (yes, I know the original HRC was in London) with a side of “Rock” music is the perfect comfort when abroad.

After a stressful search for our hotel in Lisbon (Dear Residencial Florescente, it would have been nice if you told us that you are located on a pedestrian only street and therefore we wouldn’t be able to find you in a car! Nice hotel though, highly recommended if in Lisbon.), we were tired, hungry and cranky. Therefore, we decided to eat at the Hard Rock Café as we had already passed it 10 times while en route to our lodging.

With each sip of my delicious chocolate milkshake from the latest addition to my collection, I became more at ease. With every crispy onion ring, and Aerosmith song, our crankiness was melting away. As if to call an official end to the tension between us, the Queen Mother of all bonding songs lit up the TV in front of us. Oh yeah, calling all ladies to the dance floor. It’s time to get down. Now presenting Sister Sledge, “We Are Family.”

Just hearing the songs title evokes a mental image. We’ve all seen it a thousand times. You don’t really need me to give the play-by-play, but I am going to anyway.

You‘re at some function; it doesn’t matter if it’s a wedding, birthday, bar mitzvah, Easter parade, earth day celebration, etc. thrown by your family, friends, or even distant acquaintances.

The first few beats come on and all the ladies stop whatever they are doing. There is some hooting, some clapping and a stampede to the dance floor. Let’s not forget the ladies that try to drag their husbands, boyfriends and children to the dance floor with them.

Knowing the spectacle that is about to unfold, these innocent bystanders protest, and the lucky ones are able to escape to the refuge of the bathroom or the bar. The weak willed and weak armed are thrown to the lions, but after about 30 seconds of dodging arm waving, right-on-sister pointing, and you-go-girl claps, their captors are too busy boogieing to notice their escape. If it is noticed, they simply get a “you are no fun!” before the lady gets her groove back.

Once all of the forced participants have escaped or given in to the phenomenon, the fancy footwork can begin. The aforementioned claps, waves, points and hoots are the backbone for the dance, but now the jazzier elements can be added. Did I just see a twirl? Shout out to Mom! What about a side step with a scoop and clap? Way to represent, Aunt Mildred! Where’s the shimmy/twisting action? Go grandma, go grandma!

But let’s not forget, the message of this song is not about showing off our individual skillz, it is about celebrating our shared bond, be it by blood, marriage, or similar tastes in party jams. The ladies have not forgotten this either, as they have been working up to their signature move.

You know it, you love it. It’s time for the ladies to get in a line or circle, the arms to go around each other’s shoulders, and the sway begins. Sure, it will take a few sways to get everyone going the right direction, but no family is perfect. Now depending on the amount of alcohol consumed/Broadway aspirations of the participants, the sway might turn into the Holy Grail of the ladies dance: the kick line. Even the famous Sister Sledge can only pull it off for a mere few seconds at the end of the video.

It may not be perfect, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Rockettes auditions aren’t nearly as full of love.

So as party season gets into full swing, I know you will encounter this display, and I ask that you remember that although it is cheesy, it is a message of love and celebration that can always be counted on. But if you can’t help but cringe the next time you hear this song, just be happy you aren’t watching this:

(Although that puppy in the cotton candy machine is the cutest f’in thing I have ever seen!) I think even Sister Sledge would get over their love fest and hang their head in embarrassment. But then again, what’s more family than that?

*Meaning everybody has the physical ability to move to music, not necessarily that everybody has rhythm. The prior statement excludes quadriplegics, coma victims, and other assorted vegetables.

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