Saturday, February 03, 2007

grind vs.line

So the Hamilton Boards of Education (and yes, I said "boards" - there are a couple - one public, one Catholic - some weird reaction to the British North America Act - whatever) are all in a tizzy over grinding. Yes, the upper echelon in all their wisdom has decided that grinding at school dances is forbidden. They've sent letters home to parents asking them to sign these letters to say that they have spoken to their children, and that their kids done promised not to grind at school dances. Students caught grinding will be thrown out of the dance and subsequently suspended. Seriously? Hamilton is going all Footloose on us? Say it ain't so. You can read the article here (well part of it - not sure the whole thing will appear - such is the Hamilton Spectator) Now, let's take a step back, shall we? We've all seen this grinding in action. For those of you who haven't, allow me to illuminate via Wikipedia. This is a dance where:
  • The partners face the same direction so that one partner's buttocks (typically a female) are in contact with the other partner's groin (typically a male). This is the most common technique in the reggaeton scene, otherwise known as perreo. In some parts of the Northeastern United States it is commonly called culiando, which translates as "sticking your butt out".
  • A variation of this technique has the woman supporting her weight with one or two hands on the floor (legs in the air) whilst the man stands directly behind her, holding her by the feet.
  • The partners, facing each other, straddle each other's thighs. In dancing terms, this is body contact closed position. This may facilitate the rubbing of genitals on the partner's thigh through clothing.
  • All forms of grinding may incorporate elements of frottage.
    In grinding, the female may lead the dance with her hips while the male follows, simply moving with her, or the male may guide the female's hips from behind with his hands.
  • Grinding is also performed by male couples and female couples.
  • In middle and high schools, groups of friends or peers may gather together to form a "line". This line, often called a whore line, bumping line, freak train, grinding line, booty line, or pelvis conga involves a chain of like dancers grinding together to the beat of the music. The dancers may be all female, all male, or a male/female mix.
  • Sometimes called a "sandwich" where two(or more) members of the same sex surround a member of the opposite sex.

Clearly, much has been written about this phenomenon. But really, what of it? I find it amazing that principals and teachers are going apeshit over this thing, because isn't this just another dance craze that the adults are all wringing their collective hands over? And do they not realize that once you "forbid" something in high school it just makes all the kids go "sweet, we are SO grinding at the next dance"?? I have to say, as a 40-year old *shudder* woman, I don't actually get it, much less appreciate the aesthetics of it, but then I'm not in high school, so clearly I don't understand much of what goes on anyway, but come on. If you want to grind, go for it. To me, this completely represents the quintessential tempest in the teapot, and it honestly made me laugh that it was a) front page news for chrissakes when there is SO much shit going on in the world and b) tell me these school administrators weren't SO admonished for doing something similar in their youth? Dancing is sexy. It's meant to be sexy. The tango, the twist, the waltz, the jitterbug....they were ALL forbidden at one point, right? Add grinding to the list and call it a day. And frankly, if you really want to know the enemy, please, PLEASE look at linedancing.

Now, let me apologize in advance to those of you of the linedancing persuasion, because what follows is a rage against the line. You've been warned.

Okay, so I have a couple of friends who are country music fans, and great. I can be a little bit country. I can be a little bit rock and roll too, but whatever, last night, we all got country. After some drinks and snacks at Viv's we all got ourselves to 95.3 Country Night at a Burlington bar. Now to me, this is cool, I even busted out my boots from a previous life, to show my enthusiasm for the evening. So we arrived, and there's people dancing! Cool. And it's guys dancing! Cooler. Seriously, these dudes were cutting the proverbial rug up there and I have to say, I am so a sucker for a guy that can dance. So at first? I was all "oh yeah bring on the dancing cowboys!" We grabbed a Bud Light and then shortly after that a shot of Jack Daniel's and were were in the zone. But then? Well, then it got weird.

As we watched the dancers, it seemed to me that this was just so much utilitarian movement. We got a bit closer to watch and then a few of us even tried to get into it. And I'll have you know, e-L can dance. But this? Well sure, it was a bit complicated, and hard to do in spots, but you know what? There's no soul. I continued to watch, and the sheer blankness of the expressions on the faces of the dancers boggled. I mean, there was no passion, no excitement -for the love of god there wasn't even any smiling! Most of these people were just going through the motions and I just did not understand it. Maybe it was just where we were, I don't know. Maybe in other country bars around the world, linedancing brings the sexy. But last night, it just brought the weirdness. School administrators think grinding is bad? Well maybe they ought to have a serious look at linedancing. Sure it's all innocent and there's no touching, but as Vivian said, it was like witnessing a cult in action, and I just want to say there is no way I'm drinking that Kool-Aid.

Me? I'm sticking to the Jack Daniel's. Giddyup.


vivian said...

Hooray for grinding! Down with line dancing!

Pass the JD baby...

Julie said...

Hi there!

Im a linedancer from the UK - and i agree with you! so many linedancers look bored stiff when they are dancing - true, it takes concentration to remember soooo many routines - but WHY cant they smile AND dance!!??

I do ;)

no idea what grinding is - and im probably way too old to do it anyway, but it sounds cool! however dont give up on linedancing completely yet peeps - there ARE plenty of sexy linedancers out there, people who can and DO smile whilst dancing.

In my club only happy smiley people stay - any misery that wanders in through the door - never comes back...i (apparently) dont take it seriously enough!

Julie x

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