As the father of two young daughters, I want both to be enormously successful when they grow up. Both of my girls also like to dance. I should say they LOVE to dance, and that's an understatement. Playing pin the tail on the donkey after a six-pack of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is easier than feeding a child who loves to dance. There's nothing wrong with dancing, though once one becomes an adult it only provides a steady living for a select few. So, if my daughters are thinking about dance as a career, I am seriously thinking about finding a few places for them to observe, perhaps serve an apprenticeship in a few years, places where they will see women earning good money while dancing. I'm thinking the Pink Pony in Atlanta, Thee Southern Belle in Raleigh, Uncle Harry's right here at home, or next time we're in Alabama the Platinum Club (if it is still around).
Or, I could just enroll the girls in what appears to be your typical dance school, as there are times when they and the aforementioned strip joints...errr, "classy" nightclubs are indistinguishable.
To be sure, I love dancing about as much as a straight man can. While there is certainly nothing wrong with watching 12 consecutive hours of college football, my family would tell you with a sigh the size of Hurricane Hugo that I would be just as happy watching a marathon of Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire movies. I even stop everything I'm doing when I come across "Breakin" or especially "Breakin' 2, Electric Bugaloo" on the tube. However, when I first saw those movies first in my youth, I never imagined that one of the reasons I would continue to enjoy them many years later was that Shabba-Doo and Shrimp didn't engage in a nekkid breakdance-off with Popin' Pete and Popin' Taco.
My sister, eight years my junior, was an avid clogger and baton twirler in her youth. I am pretty sure she had to wear some makeup during her performances, even though she was between seven and nine years old at the time. I am also absolutely positive that she was never made to dance in apparel you are more likely to see on Spring Break at Tybee with makeup caked on so thick that it would take Rodin three weeks to chisel it off. Lil' sister also never was asked to "perform" some of the "dance moves" that apprarently are so popular among local dance troups today.
A few months ago, driving to my Summer gig as Public Address Announcer for the Savannah Sand Gnats, my car was stopped at a red light on 37th Street in front of a dance school. On the sidewalk in front of the school, an instructor was showing a group of girls who couldn't have been older than eight how to properly, hmmm...how to say this, shake their doodlies. The practice of this maneuver continued the entire time I was stopped at the traffic signal, a good 30 seconds or so, and perhaps continued after I moved on. Aside from the obvious question of the purpose of eight-year-old girls shakin' their thangs when they don't have thangs to shake, even if you are older and are doodly-endowed, would it not require lots of chiropractic care (not to mention a cast iron brassiere) to shake them for such a long period of time?
This past weekend, the family was "treated" to performances by another dance team at a local festival, complete with dancers sporting two coats of makeup applied by a van load of Mexican painters and showing more skin than the docs at the Georgia Institute of Plastic Surgery typically see. The dancers, and especially their proud mommies, beamed through their Tammy Faye pancake, rouge, and lipstick as they performed 20 routines involving the only two songs apparently allowed at this particular dance school, the "Cha Cha Slide" and "Soulja Boy." "Ain't they so purty?", one momma observed.
So is it too harsh to compare our petite, purty doodly-shakers to strippers? The only differences I see are their ages and their wallets. The older gals seem to bring in a lot of coin, as I imagine they get a certain number of dollars per doodly-quiver. A few years ago, when my brother-in-law got married, the best friend of the bride paid for the entire reception out of her pocket....from the money she made spinning around on a pole. This was astonishing to me considering that, if the girl had 30 dollars in her wallet, she would have about 16 more dollars than she had teeth. Since I have never been to a strip joint in my life (yes, really!), perhaps that is the norm.
I know. I have grown up to be an intolerant prude, but if that's the case, so be it. If my daughters want to learn to dance, for the sake of decency I will learn to dance and teach them myself. Since I don't plan on growing doodlies, my instruction will probably be limited to Gene Kelly-style ballet-influenced tap. If I had ever had five-grand to burn, I would bet you that the girls and I replicating a number from "Singin' In The Rain" would tear down the house. But by the time that happens, there will probably be a full-fledged and barely-thonged mini-whoooooooore spinning on a portable pole on the fall festival program. I can already hear the girl's proud momma and momma's sixth husband both exclaiming "Ain't she so purty?"