On the weekend I’m dancing (hopefully not Elaine style from Seinfeld) with three other people to the Village People’s “You Can’t Stop the Music” for a friend’s birthday. If you don’t know who the Village People are, don’t worry, they’re unexplained, like Liberace, La Toya Jackson and Max Headroom – seriously, who was that g…g…g…guy? You need to fully engage the optic nerve warp drive to appreciate the unrestrained fashion of the late 70’s early 80’s. They’re ABBAisk but without that nordic forest, car deodorizer feel…Youtube them – The Village People, not ABBA, everyone knows ABBA. As a kid, I vaguely remember the Milkshake song. I think they use it at Guantanamo Bay when prisoners act up. Wouldn’t sooth anyone, but the threat should pacify. That song might explain a generation of lactose intolerant people and Vanilla Ice (I said explain, not excuse).
As long as I don’t see myself from the cold stare of a lens, the only image I will have is in my head, and up there amongst the unexplained and undiscovered are tricks to make that image look a lot better than it will. Yep. A built-in filter of many shades of non-reality. Not that the image will be the guy in the photo – my self-delusion might be strong, but it has boundaries. No, you reach a stage in your life where the only person that has to be comfortable with you is you. I know it sounds a bit lovey-dovey wishy-washy hipsterish, but it’s true.
At the start of the year we (for simplicity I should name our dancing troop) surprised people (and ourselves) at another birthday party by performing that Risky Business manoeuvre (remember Tom Cruise? He’s the Scientologist actor who controls time, his hairline from receding, and never ages.) wearing nothing but white boxers (doubled up), white shirt, white socks and sunglasses. The reception we got was as expected. We were social pariahs. Ignored and shunned. It wasn’t until the next few days after the initial shock wore off that people appreciated the effort (our wives took longer) – we had another routine worked out but alcohol got a hold so decided not to push our luck. Silly really, my logic was if you’re dressed for the occasion…
We’ve been practising our moves. So if we hit our cues it should go smoothly. Funny thing is, if we completely stuff it up, fall flat on our faces, I don’t think I’ll mind. I don’t care what other people think. However, I do a kind of self-check against what I think are social norms every so often to see if I should care. I don’t. But I know a lot of people suffer from social anxiety and depression. And it’s all-consuming. I read a Facebook post recently from someone who is doing it tough. They suffer from depression, like many people. So my take on life is while you can do whatever puts a smile on your face, and don’t take photos.
Also published on Medium.