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« An Anti-Theist’s Rant | Main | ’Hello, my name is Allen . . .’ »

May 23, 2007

Oh-no ... I Watched "Dancing with the Stars"

Dancing ...and I feel sick about it.

To be clear, I was simply doing work on my laptop while in the same room as my wife, who was watching the show. And I barely watched any of it. And, when it was unavoidable not to watch, I only did so with one eye. And I mocked the dancing stars early and often. And I pledged to boycott every company that advertised during the show.

My problem is that I've taken great pride in the fact that I have never watched American Idol for three reasons: 

1. It's simply goofy. If we could define "goofiness" in absolute terms, American Idol would surely fit the bill.

2. I have an admittedly obnoxious popularity bias, such that anytime something becomes largely popular, I have a contrarian need to scoffingly dislike it (U2, The Simpsons and iPods as notable exceptions).

3. American Idol just isn't ... well ... manly. I'm sorry, it just isn't.

Now, given that I watched sat in front of Dancing with the Stars for the sole purpose of being in the same room with my wife, I could stay consistent with my aforementioned trifold convictions in the name of maximizing time with one's spouse, but for four words: "Wow, they're pretty good." Yep, I said it. I hate it, but I did say it. Right after Olympic short-track gold medalist Apolo Anton Ohno and his partner took their winning turn on the dance floor.

Yep ... "Wow, they're pretty good."

Darn.

With those four words, I violated my near-sacred American Idol convictions, because -- for a moment -- I actually appreciated the Idol-esque dancing show.  I mean, come on, let's be honest:

1. Dancing with the Stars is at least as goofy as American Idol, if not far more.  If for no other reason than the fact that unabashed mullet king Billy Ray Cyrus was not only a participant, but that he made it to the final five.

2. Dancing with the Stars actually beat American Idol last night, according to Drudge, so it's just as popular.

3. In terms of the manliness factor, Dancing with the Stars is surely far worse than American Idol. Any show, after all, that could reduce record-setting studly running back Emmitt Smith to a Michael Flatley lookalike is just plain wrong.

So I'm completely befuddled. What to do? How to recover my manliness? A shower didn't help, because I still have the memories. The twirling men ... with their sequins ... and their high-heeled dance shoes. I need some evil ninjas to fight. Or maybe I could go whittle a spear or something. Anyone got a car I can work on? Help a brother out! 

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Comments

Leann

Just go watch Spike TV for awhile. I'm sure they'll have a 007 marathon this weekend...haha. I agree with your #2 statement at the beginning. I tend to stay away from the popular shows too much to the dismay of my cousin and best friend (they're the American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and Grey's Anatomy kind of viewers); except for Heroes. I'm addicted to that show.

Faith

Allen,

Your post made me laugh out loud. I was amused not only because I agree with you, but because I, too, recently happened to catch the show and found myself actually intrigued by the performances. Apart from the cheeziness, there is some actual talent!

But allow me to offer you one viewpoint that might help pull you out of your funk. I certainly give enormous kudos to my dear husband who likewise sat next to me that fateful night when we saw the show. His initial reactions were quite like yours (what in the world am I doing?!), but he came away from it actually inspired! Granted he (thankfully) did not begin to solely twirl around the room, but he saw in the dances something greater: men being men (filling a leadership role, despite the frilly costumes) and women being women.

Dancing has come and gone through the ages, but there is sophistication in dancing that has always remained. Costumes aside (boy, some of them are just awful!), dancing portrays men and women in the way they were meant to be: leading and following, moving in harmony and unison. There's nothing to be ashamed of in that regard. My husband actually found a sense of manliness in that, and was inspired to randomly sweep me up into a Waltz the next day. I loved it!

Dancing might be old fashioned, or it might be cheesy, but there are elements of beauty that reflect part of God's design. So for what it's worth, that's something we took away from our experience.

Allen

Leann,

007 marathon, you say?? I sense an illness coming on... better stay home...

Faith,

Before your comment, I was only feeling like my manliness had been compromised. Now I also feel decidely unsophisticated and un-thoughtful. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Brian

Allen, you noted that Dancing With the Stars isn't "manly." What is manly? And by what standard do we decide what is and isn't manly? I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

Steve

While I have not had the misfortune of stumbling into androgynous perdition myself, I understand that the homeopathic remedy for "Dancing with the Stars" involves multiple consecutive viewings of "Blades of Glory." The cure, though, may be worse than the disease.

Dan Gill

I've seen bits of it, and while it doesn't make me fear for my manhood (I can loan you a chainsaw or other power tool if that helps)it appalls me nonetheless. The costumes the women wear (or almost wear), and the obviously sexual way they dance are not good for my thought life.

Dance done well is inspiring. Dance done in this fashion inspires . . .lust.

Jason Bruce

Brother Allen,

If you recall, I told you about my old job and what they asked to do. I was in worst situation than you. But for cleansing I take a nice warm shower and then treat myself with big manly slice of T-Bone steak while watching an episode of Ultimate Fighter on SpikeTV.

Allen

Brian,

Manliness Defined is me before watching Dancing With The Stars.

Manliness Compromised is me *after* watching Dancing With The Stars.

OK ... if I must be serious ... you hit on an immensely important question. And I have to confess that while I wish I had a quickly accessible concise answer, I don't. I don't even have a quickly accessible long answer! So thanks for the challenge - I want to chew on this a bit and get back to you. That said, if you or others wish to suggest a definition, that'd be a great start to an important conversation.

RadioMan

Alan,

I've never seen either of the shows so I can't comment on the beauty or gag factors thereof. Same for my wife.

How about finding the radio (remember those?) and tune in to "Car Talk" for some guy car humor? (Google 'car talk radio' for program listing info.)

Allen

Steve,

Indeed. Then again, one of my favorite comedies of the last few years is Zoolander. So ... I don't know what that says about me, but I'm certain it's not good. But, to be clear, I do NOT practice "Blue Steel" in the mirror.

...much.


Dan,

A chainsaw!! Yes, that would be perfect, thank you.

As to the problems the show poses ... looks like I need to be serious again ... that's a problem with about 90% of the shows on television (sadly), wouldn't you say? The lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, the pride of life. When TV isn't so tempting us with its shows, it's doing so with its ads. Ditto every other media, eh?


Jason,

You, my friend, DO need to regale us all at The Point with some of the stories from *your* fascinating career background. I mean, surely you witnessed some Zoolander moments!

Todd

Don't try to give this guy an out (then again, he might be "out" already!). He is an embarassment to men nationwide. The fact that he knew Billy Ray Cyrus was on the show and made it to the final five (wait, I thought last night was the finals? Are there five teams in the final? Hmm, might Allen have been "sitting with his wife" for more than just last night?) and that Emmitt Smith was on the show in ANOTHER SEASON makes me question what on earth is going on there at PFM.

One thing he is right about, DwtS is infinitely worse and less manly than AI... and that is saying something...

Diane Singer

Faith has identified one reason why women love men who can dance -- it enhances the connection between a man and a woman as they learn to anticipate and respond to each other's moves. I once heard of a marriage counselor who advised couples having sexual problems to take up ballroom dancing as therapy.

I haven't seen any of the Dancing with the Stars this year, though my husband and I did watch it a bit last year. Is it cheesy? Yes, but who cares. Compared to the blood and gore that passes for 'entertainment' these days, I'll take men and women moving beautifully across a dance floor any day!

Dan Gill

Allen, you said, "As to the problems the show poses ... looks like I need to be serious again ... that's a problem with about 90% of the shows on television (sadly), wouldn't you say? The lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, the pride of life. When TV isn't so tempting us with its shows, it's doing so with its ads. Ditto every other media, eh?"

Certainly some shows, movies, magazines step farther over the line than others. This is one that leaps across the line. So much of it seems designed to tittilate.

Matthew

Dancing is very manly for men, I'm completely with Faith on this. I know it's just a movie, but Take The Lead has a few good lines about the structure and form of classic ballroom dancing being indicative of an idealized lifestyle of courageous and sensitive men and confident and cognizant women.

I got into ballroom over a year ago when some friends took classes and 'dragged' me along to a local ballroom on saturday nights. I highly recommend this activity to all alike.

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