Monday, April 23, 2007

Make My Body Move

It’s hard for me to listen to my new flamenco guitar music
without fantasizing about dancing. I’m doing the tango with Edward James Olmos. Or the rhumba with Sawyer. (To his Phil Collins mix tape? Okay, that doesn’t work too well.) I’m resurrecting past fantasies with John O’Hurley. You get the general drift.

In the collage of my thoughts is material from recent viewings of the Discovery Channel’s fantastic “Planet Earth” series. We’ve seen a lot of “mating dances.” Apparently countless creatures on our planet do not mate without the male first proving his sex-worthiness through some exotic show.

So I ask myself, how do these fantasy dances of mine work as “mating shows”? If doing the mambo with Sawyer is a turn-on, and you bet your sweet bippy it is, why is that? Why is any romantic book or movie, from “Dirty Dancing” to “Beauty and the Beast,” enhanced by including some dancing? Why does a guy’s ability to dance so greatly increase his sex appeal?

I fell back on my recollections of real dancing experiences and how they made me feel. One in particular came to mind, so I will focus on that one. I wish I could say the guy in question was my husband, but alas, for all David’s fine qualities, grace is not one of them! It was actually a friend of mine. So I recalled this occasion, and tried to remember what was the reason it felt so good and this fellow seemed so attractive on the dance floor.

Here’s your answer: he led.

That’s the thrill of dancing, to a female. The guy moves you, literally. The key to slow dancing from the female point of view is surrender, letting the man lead. You turn your body and its motion over to him and let him rock you and spin you and propel you, in pleasant accord to the melody and rhythm at hand. Your motions and his coordinate in a lovely way, all because you have let yourself go and given him control over you.

And as I’ve often said before, nothing is so sexual to a woman than surrender.

I hadn’t slow danced with a guy in a long time when I went out on the floor with this friend of mine, with the exception of my beloved husband, who alas cannot lead. (Well, he can, but the consequences are disastrous.) Therefore I was somewhat stunned to feel the sense that I could put myself in the hands of this man and he would control my body in this gently graceful act. It was all particularly potent as there are few social or vocational activities left in which a woman figuratively says to a man, “control me.” But dancing remains one, and even in a chaste slow dance where there is no breast-to-chest contact, if the man leads it is most definitely sexual.

The sexualitometer reading goes up when the music/dance is something particularly dramatic and/or rhythmic, like so many Latin dances are. Throw in some elements that mimic the sex act--maybe dipping, or movements where the private parts are in proximity--and you’re dealing with something a lot more potent than the crazy mating dances those birds of paradise do on the Discovery Channel. (Although I suppose a b.o.p. would beg to differ.) I guess we should have had more respect for John Lithgow’s character in “Footloose”...this dancing stuff really IS dangerous!

A corollary to this dancing phenomenon is the effect a guy can work on a woman by making music. It’s possible of course to listen to music without surrendering your body to it, but if you do, there is a similar thing happening. The musician is controlling your body, you are turning yourself over to him. The movement is one step removed, I’ll grant you: he is touching his instrument, not you. Nevertheless it can have a similar sexual effect. And this is why I get kind of crazy watching videos of my flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook perform. Would that I were those guitar strings.

But in lieu of that, I am content to imagine myself at Kate and Sawyer’s wedding (sorry, you Kate and Jack fans). For the occasion a truce has been declared and the Others invited as well. A few of those extras who rarely talk have worked up a little tropical band (there’s a coconut mandolin, cool!), and they’re playing Santana’s “Smooth.” And wow, can you believe it? The evil but strangely compelling Ben has asked me to dance!

Man, he’s good.

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