The Luv Doc: He Doesn’t Dance
Otherwise known as reactive immobility
Dear Luv Doc,
I just recently found out something disturbing about my new boyfriend: He doesn't dance. I can't believe this issue never came up until now, but with the pandemic, etc., we just haven't been out a lot. Last weekend we attended a wedding for one of my work friends and at the reception everyone started dancing (you know, like people do at receptions) but my boyfriend wouldn't budge. He just looked at me blankly and said, "I don't dance." When I asked him why he said, "It's just not my thing." I was shocked. He is an otherwise fun, sometimes even goofy guy, but I guess dancing is where he draws the line? I'm not sure what to do with this information. I have always loved to dance and I don't think I can be with someone who literally won't even try. Any advice on how I can get him to bust a move?
– Dancing With Myself
I would start by getting him alone in a room with no one watching – someplace where he is totally comfortable and relaxed. Then maybe make him a strong cocktail and give him a shoulder massage. Once he seems completely relaxed, walk over to the stereo (because in my advice scenarios, everyone lives in 1985) turn the volume up to 9, and put on Rick James' "Super Freak." If he doesn't immediately pop up and start dancing, his soul is dead.
At that point you should whittle up some wooden stakes or at the very least start eating a lot of garlic. I just did an Amazon search for silver bullets and the .45 caliber ones are going for $45 a pop, which is a bargain if you're a one-percenter, but I realize that not everybody in Texas is an obscenely rich gun nut. It just seems that way sometimes. Anyway, the point is, you don't want to wake up in the middle of the night only to realize you've donated all your blood to some soulless mothersucker who can't even vibe to "Super Freak." You know, ounce of prevention and whatnot – which, by the way, is exactly what that .45-caliber silver bullet weighs. Coincidence?
Then again, maybe he will unconsciously start pumping his knee up and down to the irresistible beat, even though the rest of his body is mostly inanimate. Well, then you've got something to work with. Maybe he grew up Lutheran in someplace like Iowa, where a backbeat is the work of the devil ... or maybe his parents were big Rush fans. You don't know. How could you? After all, you were unknowingly smashing with a guy who doesn't dance at weddings. If you see his knee bobbing though, there's a chance he can eventually dance the Lutheran out of himself. It will just take time and a lot of sick beats.
There is one other possibility, I suppose: Your boyfriend could be one of those dudes who is jacked up on so much testosterone that they can't even hear rhythm. They are so incredibly manly that the mere thought of exposing themselves to ridicule paralyzes them with fear. The result is something akin to fight-flight freezing, otherwise known as reactive immobility, which some soldiers experience under the duress of combat. That's some serious shit, so if your boyfriend is suffering similarly from an acute fear of embarrassment, you need to get him in a safe space where he knows he can absolutely dork the fuck out without fear of judgment. If he wants to thrash around in the closet to Slipknot, just put in some earplugs and let him go. The important thing is that he feels comfortable expressing himself through movement. Maybe after a few years he might agree to take a hip-hop dance class with you, but you have to build trust first. Probably the best way to do that is to explain to him why dancing is so important to you – better yet, show him through an interpretive dance. That will put him on notice that it's about to get way awkward up in this bitch, so awkward in fact that a little wedding reception dancing will come as a huge relief.