Soccer Dad Shuffle - Psy and NormEvery generation brings with it a new dance craze. In the ‘60s young people were doing the Twist. In the ‘70s everyone was wearing green leisure suits (and by everyone, I mean my late Uncle Sid from Scranton) and disco dancing was the rage. In the ‘80s line dancing was the latest craze, featuring the Electric Slide, a favorite among attractive women who were way out of my league.

Recently, Korean pop star Psy created a dance sensation with an annoyingly infectious horsey dance to the tune of Gangnam Style. And just a few months ago, millions of people the world over made their best attempt to demonstrate what uncontrollable group epileptic seizures must look like, in a bizarre dance craze called the Harlem Shake.

As our nation’s population grays, it was just a matter of time before another dance craze would sweep the nation – aimed at us slightly older high-steppers. And I’m just the person to launch it. It’s called the Soccer Dad Shuffle. What does a middle-aged family man know about dance moves, you ask? Plenty. I have tripped the light fantastic countless times (and by countless times, I mean more than five but less than nine), including almost three wedding receptions, last year’s company Christmas party, and my neighbor’s son’s bar mitzvah in 1989. (Again, my apologies to Mrs. Bernstein for the damage to her toes.)

The Soccer Dad Shuffle requires a fair amount of coordination to master. But if you know how to use a weed whacker or how to turn on the pilot light in your gas furnace, you just might be a prime candidate for the Soccer Dad Shuffle.

To master the moves of this hip new dance, it helps to be at least 40 years old, at least 15 pounds overweight, and a candidate for eventual hip replacement. If you’re slightly balding, Caucasian, and have the grace of Gerald Ford, you are primed to test your Fred Astaire moves with my new dance. But this dance is not for everybody. DO NOT attempt this dance if you are non-white, live in San Francisco, are under age 25, possess any sense of rhythm, prefer the taste of an organic arugula salad to a cheeseburger, can understand the lyrics from any Snoop Dogg song, or are my wife.

Soccer Dad Shuffle - Dancing GuyThe Soccer Dad Shuffle is taking the nation by storm. Okay, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration. But I showed my new dance to three poker buddies of mine, and they all thought it was mind-blowingly awesome, although come to think of it, they were fairly blitzed at the time, and they also thought my niece’s Etch-A-Sketch drawing of a frog was mind-blowingly awesome too.

Start with just a couple moves and add to them as your confidence grows. Before you know it, your wife will wonder what the f*ck you’re doing. But don’t worry. You’re just working on your groove.

Move 1: Clap your hands slightly out of time to the beat of the music.

Move 2: Point to other people on the dance floor, smile and wink like you know them. [Note: Avoid winking at your insurance agent over there, unless you’re prepared to buy some more term insurance.]

Move 3: Rock back and forth from your left foot to your right. Repeat 200 times. Be sure your feet never lose contact with the floor. Avoid accidentally migrating from the two-square foot perimeter you started in.

Move 4: Impress your dance partner with a raucous air guitar move like Eddie Van Halen. To your dance partner, it may seem more like a George Costanza air guitar move, but you know you’re channeling your inner Eddie.

Move 5: Start ogling a bit too obviously a cute blond in a tight, low-cut sweater. Explain to your wife that you were just ogling the incredible guitar work by the band’s bass player. (Nice try.)

Move 6: Notice that you’re starting to perspire profusely. Pull out your shirttails. Roll up your sleeves. Nobody will notice that your underarm stains are the size of grapefruits. They’ll be too distracted by the waterfall of sweat pouring down your face.

Move 7: Work in a Funky Chicken dance move. Suddenly become awkwardly aware of the fact that you’ve no idea what possessed you to work in a Funky Chicken move.

Move 8: Try a cool spin move. Slip on a pool of your own sweat and accidentally bump headlong into the chest of the cute blond in the tight, low-cut sweater. Smile sheepishly as you watch her magically spin as far away from you as possible.

Move 9: Bite your lower lip. Don’t ask why. If you’re a white guy over forty, it’s something you must do. Just ask Billy Crystal.

Move 10: Watch the cute blond in the tight, low-cut sweater arching her back provocatively. Attempt to mimic her move. Experience a sharp painful twinge in your lower back. Limp off the dance floor and make a note to have that checked out.

Soccer Dad Shuffle - Black and White GuysWhen attempting the Soccer Dad Shuffle, avoid these embarrassing first timer mistakes:

  • Thinking you’re Tom Cruise from Risky Business, and deciding to dance the Soccer Dad Shuffle in your tighty whities in your living room. This move can get you arrested in Utah. 
  • Attempting to spell out Y-M-C-A while dancing, unless you’re absolutely certain you know you can pull it off. It can be deeply humiliating when you accidentally spell out Y-M-A-C on a first (and last) date (not that I would have any personal experience with this, mind you). 

So try doing the Soccer Dad Shuffle the next time you’re boogying at your nephew’s wedding reception or whenever you’re in the mood. I do the Soccer Dad Shuffle every chance I get – in the grocery store checkout, pumping gas, while conducting one-on-one performance reviews at work, and once when I was rewiring a light fixture, but that ended badly. I’d rather not talk about it.

I haven’t been able to convince my daughters to join me in this dance yet. But I’m pretty sure it’s just that they are worried they won’t look as cool as their dad. What can I say? I’m a dancing machine. Party on, everybody.

Y-M-A-C!! Oh shit.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Jones - Profile at Safeco - TinyPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it athumbs up  or sharing this post on Facebook. Better yet, why not post a YouTube video of yourself doing this dance. Just don’t try it in Utah. They might arrest you. The cops in Utah apparently have no sense of humor – or rhythm. 

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2013

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