Friday: Dance Like No One’s Watching

It’s Friday. Time to cheer up. Wake up from your weeklong coma. Pull a Whitney Houston and dance with somebody. You don’t have to go out and find a stranger if that’s not your thing. You can take Billy Idol’s advice and dance with yourself.

Imagine this in my Rav4. Keep your clothes on, ladies.

Imagine this in my Rav4. Keep your clothes on, ladies.

Whether I’m having a good or bad week, I try to dance at some point on Friday. Most of the time, this takes the form of me blasting music in my soccer mom-ish Rav4 on my way to work and doing that white boy dance that some people mistake for an epileptic seizure. Let’s just say I get a lot of googly eyes from ladies as I cruise down the PCH on my way to El Segundo. And by googly, I mean concerned.

I know why I use awkward dancing as therapy. I watched a lot of John Hughes movies growing up. Johnny H. taught me that sometimes the only way to free yourself from your frustrations is to hop on the good foot and do the bad thing. For you less cool cats, I mean dance.

Remember this scene from The Breakfast Club?

There’s no better way to throw your worries into the infinite ether and say, “Fuck it, I’m going to just be right now.” I agree that it’s healthy to talk your problems out with close friends, families, professionals, a bum on your corner, or whoever your therapist of choice is. But sometimes we just need to boogie. I’m not talking the weird dancing your bum therapist does when he or she is high on a lot more than life. I’m talking that I’m-so-frustrated-and-bummed-I-just need-to-cut-a-rug-before-I-bug-out dance.

That’s why there are so many famous movie scenes where a protagonist lets loose and goes on a dancing spree. Kevin Bacon in Footloose is a prime example. He’s frustrated about being the out-of-towner who just wants to break it down in a buttoned-up conservative farm city. Naturally, the only way to alleviate this frustration is to take part in a shameless 80s-dancing scene. It’s ridiculous. But I bet Bacon’s character feels ten times better after doing it.

Tom Cruise breaks it down in Risky Business. Matthew Broderick leads all of Chicago in a sing and dance along of “Twist and Shout” in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The Dude, Jeff Bridges, gets jiggy with it in The Big Lebowski. Christopher Walken even boogies his brains out Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” music video. I could go on forever.

I know real life isn’t like the movies, but maybe it should be once in a while. The weight of life can drag you to deep, dark depths if you let it. There are a lot of ways to combat sadness, frustration, and fatigue, but taking some time out to cut a rug is one of the most human ways to feel alive and remember what this whole thing is about.

Also – don’t forget to dance when you’re happy, too. I’m talking to both girls AND guys. Fellas, NFL players start dancing after they score a touchdown, get a sack, interception, or make any play of any kind these days. I’d say they’re pretty manly and they dance about every other play. They can’t help themselves.

This Friday, and every Friday from now on, I challenge you to break it down at least once. It can be in your car, in the vacated hallway at your office, as you get ready to go out, after your therapy session with your bum, at a club, or wherever the hell you want. Sometimes talking can only mean so much.

No one gives a crap if you dance like a combination of Mick Jagger and a chicken with a broken leg (like me). Sometimes you just have to dance like no one is watching. You’d be surprised at how good it feels.

Right, JGL?


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