Grown men who should know better hog the dance-floor at wedding receptions and indulge in cringe-worthy, awful antics that make other adults shrink away, and children wish they had eloped.
It is worse than those school pick-up moments when some spotty, gangling teenage child you have rushed to collect asks you to wait in the car because your very existence embarrasses them.
Dad Dancing is our revenge.
Explanation? Evolution But now an academic in the U.K. has come up with another explanation. Evolution.
It seems that middle-aged wannabe “John Travolta dancing” is nature’s way of warning lovely and nubile young women to look elsewhere. Who knew?
It is, according to Dr. Peter Lovatt, the psychologist behind the study, a way of sending out a message: “Stay Away. I’m not fertile.” They then hurry off to look for a young man who is at his sexual peak, so they can have babies and save the species.
Why you would need an academic study to tell you that I don’t know. I have yet to hear of any lovely 18-year-olds who long to dally with middle-aged, balding, boring men who are several years older than their dad.
Lovatt has apparently compared the dancing styles and confidence levels of nearly 14,000 people – more even than the judges on Dancing with the Stars. (Where did he find the time?) It seems that men between 35 and their 60s typically attempt complex dance moves with limited co-ordination. Women gauge the males’ testosterone levels by assessing the style and energy of their moves.
Then, according to this theory, they apparently make a dash for the nearest Boy Scout camp.
In a somewhat unflattering comparison, Lovatt explains: “It’s like an apple that’s going brown – you want a fresh green one instead.”
If I DID want to make friends, though, apparently learning magic tricks is just as effective as taking sociability courses, and sounds much more entertaining. It helped kids in the U.K., and that’s even with their parents being scaredy-parents and not trusting their kids (okay, the article is U.S. parents, but you get the idea).
If I wanted to cheer myself up, I would react differently to happy events depending on how old I am. Or I could just go dig in the dirt; they say it’s like prozac. In fact, I think I’ll go do that right now.
I honestly had never heard of this guy until a few months ago (apparently he’s been a viral internet celebrity for almost two years now), but watching this interview of Matt made some really good points. Having been trained as an anthropologist, I find the connection of people from completely different cultures through the Internet and through (silly) dance fascinating and wonderful. There are many reasons, such as:
1. There are definitely downsides to globalization, but when I see things like this it reminds me that there are some good parts to it too. People are connected in very different ways than they used to be, and community is no longer determined exclusively by geography.
2. The fact that dance is being used so successfully to bring everyone out is great, and it shows just how universal dancing really is.
3. There is also the point that the dance is silly, and lots of people (granted mostly young adults and kids) are willing to go on film, and all over the world, dancing and being silly and playing. Play is something that has been totally disregarded as important in the last 60 years my humble opinion (or IMHO for those of you who knew about this guy before now), when in fact play and creativity have been shown to be so important for brain development and just coming up with new solutions to problems. It is time that “play” returned to everyone’s positive vernacular, and just as everyone knows they need to brush their teeth and exercise, they also need to play. And watching Dancing Matt doesn’t count; dancing like Dancing Matt does.