I am a modern man and no mistake. I believe the term is ‘metro-sexual’ or at least it was the last time I cared. I am in touch with my inner-woman and increasingly hang my hat on the ‘To thine own self be true’ peg. Therefore, I have no issue what-so-ever with my three year-old son donning leggings and dance shoes once a week to attend dance class. Initially I may have been heard to say:
Does he HAVE to wear leggings? Can’t he wear tracksuit bottoms?
However I am over this now (or so my wife tells me) and have learned to internalise a sigh, as I help him slink his tight buns into some tight fitting lady wear. I do however record each instance as an aide memoir for his therapy sessions in twenty years time. Or as evidence for the judge.
SO. It was with mixed emotions that I attended my boy’s very first dance recital two Saturday nights ago. Now please don’t misunderstand, I sat on the front row a proud father, eagerly anticipating the evening’s events, which consisted of 10 dance routines, two of which my son was taking part in. He wasn’t performing a solo or anything like that, it was an ensemble piece. Or at least that was the plan…..
Before my son took to the stage however there were several dance routines performed by a variety of children ageing from 5 to 10-ish and they were good.
With my baby girl sat on my knee and surrounded by my friends I watched cute little boys and girls ‘dance’. I use air-quotes and say ‘dance’ as some of the children had more ability than others, but none-the-less, whether dancing or swaying with a look of terror etched into their young faces, it was a glorious feast of cuteness. And I was comfortable.
Then I looked down to wipe snot from my elbow and when I looked back up I was in a scene from Cabaret. WTF? Gone were the bumbling tiddlers replaced, without warning by a brigade of unabashed older girls. Ladies? Young Women? I don’t know what the PC term is, all I know is I WAS NOT COMFORTABLE ANY MORE.
Holy heck in a hand basket. I sat cradling my 1 year-old daughter trying desperately to shield her innocent eyes from the high-kicking, back-arching, chair straddling smorgasbord that was now taking place two feet away from my outstretched injured leg. I WAS VIRTUALLY PART OF THE SCENERY. At one point a particularly enthusiastic ‘girl’ leaped over my braced leg and landed in the box splits on the other side without breaking eye contact with me. I was ******terrified. I had not signed up to this.
I did not know where to look? I frantically tried to search for things to look at that weren’t wobbling, but they were EVERYWHERE. It was as if the dance were being choreographed by a higher force intent solely on maintaining my gaze, wherever that may be. Where ever I tried to look in the room, a body part was quickly thrust there. And jiggled.
I just came to watch my son for ***** **** get your batty out of my face! And by-the-by, leggings are see-through when they are stretched that tight, so please put on some dark coloured underpants. GAWD. AREN’T YOUR PARENTS WATCHING THIS?!
After what seemed like an eternity of thrusting, the pole-dancers-in-training bounded off. And I started to breathe again. Then, thankfully, the mood changed, the music changed and out pranced my boy, resplendent in his cross-dressing and surrounded by a troop, of which he was the youngest. Gone were the terrors of teenage lap-dancing, replaced by the moistening of mine eye, as my little boy waved his arms around in unison with everyone else. All was well with the world. With my wife videoing over my shoulder and my baby on my knee, I sat misty eyed. A dancer dances, dance my boy. DANCE.
No don’t…..What are……Why …..Er…Wife……what’s he ……oh God….oh please God…..oh…….GOD
In the mind of a three year old, when twenty-five people are dancing in unison behind you and your family and close friends are watching, there is only one course of action. There is no other way. Ditch the rehearsed work and free-style. Check THIS out suckers….
What followed were TWO SEPARATE dance routines where my son wandered around the stage, finding different places to turn his back to the audience, bend over onto all fours and wiggle his bum-bum in the air, much the same as he does at home when he requires his bottom wiping. But in this instance his boiled egg of a bottom was sheathed in girl’s leggings.
Admittedly he did develop his work and as the good natured giggling and pointing ensued, he enhanced his dance by holding aloft opposing hands and feet creating an upside down two point balance. This was actually quite impressive in terms of his physical development. Less so in terms of the laws of upstaging.
He held these static balances, staring at the audience upside down from between his legs, for just enough time to render my fixed grin burned into my psyche, before relocating his one man ass show to another part of the stage. Unflinching confidence. I have never fake-smiled so much in my life. The thought of ever fake-smiling again makes my ears want to fall off.
The second time around (the Grand Finale dance) I prayed for him to develop some sense of ‘there is no I in team’, however as ‘Gangham Stlye’ boomed out and sixty plus dancers did their unison thing, my boy went back to ass-waving without a care in the world. Even when some of the older girls tried to direct him, he proffered them a ‘Good day’, moved stage left and bent once more, unwavering in his resolve. I in turn went back to hoisting the sides of my mouth up to my ears and nodding insanely when the people sat around me told me how cute he was.
During and after, people were very nice to me and talked about my son’s confidence, his individuality and how young he was to be on stage, but I know what they were really thinking…… Thank God it wasn’t my kid.
My wife assures me that my son should continue with his dance classes and indeed is currently ordering him a new pair of leggings, as the arse has worn out in the current pair. She also assures me that all of this is doing the boy good, but none-the-less refuses to tell me how much I am paying per term for someone to teach my boy how to shimmy himself into ladies garments and offer himself to a room full of strangers.
The evening ended with an award ceremony and low and behold my boy was awarded an ‘Honours’ certificate and trophy. Not for that performance I should add, for an earlier bona fide dance exam, so I guess there’s hope for him yet. Keep your video recorders on stand-by, I’ll let you know.
N.B. Joking aside, you should know, had I not been injured and on crutches, I would have belonged on that stage, bent side-by-side and waving my arse in the air with my son and heir, because whatever the weather, he is me and I am him. With unwavering certainty, for time never-ending, from across the boundaries of space and decency, in this world and all of the rest, I will love that boy and be proud of him with all my heart. Because ALL of his weird, ALL OF HIS WEIRD, he gets from me. And his mum, she’s weird too.
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