Pop-Culture | Posted by Alec A on 10/13/2010

Being A Gay Teen at Homecoming

when raves arent always appropriate...

because raves aren't always appropriate...

I was at homecoming this past weekend and, given my miraculously heightened sense of male gender roles, I made a few interesting observations that I would like to share with the wild internet west. Alright, I have taken a sip of coffee, so here we go.

There is no such thing as a male dance move. I noticed this as I was trying to dance to various rap and pop songs. I would sort of try and get into it and then I would grudgingly realize that I really had no dance repertoire to draw on for that selection. I had two options: either dance like a heterosexual douchebag or dance like a flaming homosexual.

Let us look at the dance routine of the douchebag. Put yourself in the scene. The lights are flashing, there are smoke machines coughing up some questionable substance that you are not entirely willing to inhale. The douchebag places his concealed penis strategically in the small of a girls back. They begin to grind. The douchebag sways back and forth as though he has a serious inner ear condition. The girl does her thing, and she tries to arouse the boy by rubbing up and down and all around. Chances are they are not even going to have sex; it’s a fruitless ritual. But the guy looks around with a sense of superiority and he raises a hand and wags a finger back and forth in the air as though he’s signaling to the men wearing sunglasses that he has made contact with the hit.

I, of course, did not feel very comfortable because I don’t have any desire to grind with a girl. What is a guy supposed to do if he wants to dance to rap music but doesn’t want to grind? Can’t a guy enjoy himself without having to display his sexual prowess?

Now, a few minutes later, Lady Gaga bursts out of the speakers. I was able to identify more with this music because I’m gay. Don’t start screaming about how I’m setting back the gay rights movement by a thousand years. Frankly, Lady Gaga is a gay icon and her music is great to dance to, especially when Bad Romance is being played at like a million decibels. I grabbed my glow-sticks and I began to rave. I stomped and I aggressively thrust my hands in the air and it was so great. But this was the dance of the homosexual who was clearly enjoying Gaga a little too much. I think the room may have caught on to this fact when I started screaming the lyrics at my friends. It was just one of those moments.

I think in retrospect, however, that dancing to this song would have been about forty times more appropriate if I had been dancing with other gay men, instead of straight girls. Conversely, if I had had a girl to grind with during the straight music, then I would have been much less out of place as well. Men need a happy medium when they are dancing, and they need to be able to dance for their own enjoyment without having to display machismo.

Is there some sort of neutral, masculine dance move? I was trying to figure this out, and the conclusion I reached was as such: just spaz out and then no one can even identify you as anything other than crazy. Admittedly, I tried to do some sort of fist pump jumping combo at first, but then I felt as though I was making a guest appearance on Jersey Shore. Fortunately for me there were no grenades to throw myself on, and Snookie was not in the building messing around with her poof. I tried to sway back and forth, but then I felt like a tool as well for not coming up with a better dance move. But if you try a legitimate dance move as a guy, then you come off as gay and that does not really help you either. So my options are to be a buzz-kill, a flamer, or a guido.

I’m really hoping that someone out there as found a nice in between dance aesthetic because I want to be able to feel comfortable dancing to all different types of music instead of feeling shafted when something comes on and I don’t want to grind. I think that Americans have a highly inflexible dancing tradition that requires men to dance as a symbol of sexual bravado rather than for personal fulfillment.

Alec also writes for B.A.M. Be A Man

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  • Katherine C. @ at 11:48 am, October 13th, 2010

    I always love your posts :) I just went to my school’s homecoming and it was horrendous, especially what with the grinding component that you so hilariously (and aptly) desribed.
    In terms of dance moves for guys, as a bisexual female, I think that dancing is hot, period. So I end up dancing with the girls at homecoming. I know exactly what you mean by there being no socially acceptable *actual* dance moves for guys, hetero or homo.

  • Alex F. @ at 1:17 pm, October 13th, 2010

    at my homecoming some guy who i didn’t even know came up to me and sort of started grinding with me. It was my first homecoming, so i was embarrassed and just stood there and then he moved on. The next time he tried it, i stepped away from him and said “This is sexual harrassment. Please leave.” My friends were horrified, but I felt better and went on to have a great rest the dance.

  • O'Phylia @ at 3:01 pm, October 13th, 2010

    As a girl who is sick of guys not doing anything, may I first say, THANK YOU.

    Also, raves may not always be appropriate, but they’re always fun. ;D

  • Julia @ at 3:27 pm, October 13th, 2010

    Try the “jump-up-and-down-and-yell-something-not-understandable”, very common among teenagers where in Germany. :D

    Dancing is always a problem, especially when you have enough space to actually move. That’s why I ‘invented’ my personal dance move, the ‘point-into-the-air-shake-your-head-and-do-the-hussle’.
    The behaviour you described sounds more like a mating-ceremony of eels than a dance-move. Oo

  • Steph @ at 6:37 pm, October 13th, 2010

    Yeah, the only real alternative is to learn some sort of organized dance move, like popping and locking – there always seems to be a dance-off whenever I’m at one of those things, and it’s probably a comfortable balance between ‘imma sexually harass you right now kay’ and ‘oh my god, I love Lady Gaga SO MUCH YOU GUYS’.

    I got out of it during high school by pulling double shifts working the student council water/pop table.

  • A @ at 7:25 pm, October 13th, 2010

    @ Alex– your friends had no right to do that and you had no reason to be embarrassed by them. Hooray for doing te right thing!!

  • firefly @ at 8:25 pm, October 13th, 2010

    At our school, grinding is called “freaking”, and at the first dance of the year, the seniors try to “freak” with as many freshmen as possible…it’s disgusting.

  • kanadra @ at 1:02 am, October 14th, 2010

    to be fair, a lot of guys could probably grind to any song; it probably doesn’t have to be rap.
    I love dancing, but I don’t feel like I “know” how to dance either… (to contemporary music, that is, since I’ve taken a few ballroom dance lessons) What I usually end up doing is just moving and letting the music “take control”. I wonder if that would be acceptable way to dance as neither a “buzz-kill, a flamer, or a guido”?

  • Kayla @ at 5:12 pm, October 14th, 2010

    I think as long as you don’t go with the “bob up and down not in time with the music” move that most of the guys I know do, you’ll be fine…

  • Sammy @ at 9:43 pm, October 14th, 2010

    Well done.

    I’m in college, and every weekend at parties, I wonder this same question. girls can dance together and move and jump around and sway in a circle with each other, but guys can’t for some reason.

    I think there’s also some serious self-consciousness going on as well (at least in my group of friends). The guys aren’t comfortable unless they’re holding onto some chick’s hips for dear life. They need that security. Something is going on here, for sure.

  • blakerivers @ at 6:44 am, October 15th, 2010

    Is there some sort of neutral, masculine dance move?

    Steph is right here; if you want to dance, learn any of the thousands of dance moves that are already in existence. Maybe try breakdancing? I do not know anyone who does not respect breakdancers.

  • The Raisin Girl @ at 4:23 am, October 16th, 2010

    Hmmm…it seems this mating ritual in the guise of dancing was not limited to my own backwater high school. Only there we called it “The Giant Sex Pretzel of Dance.”

    Luckily, I had classy friends who learned to swing dance and junebug and waltz. And we did that.

  • SarahC @ at 2:27 pm, October 16th, 2010

    Alec, this is such an interesting perspective. I’ve never actually thought about this situation, and it is weird. It certainly is almost a female privilege to be able to dance alone on in casual groups without judgement being passed.

  • typhonatemybaby @ at 5:29 pm, October 16th, 2010

    @blakerivers

    Break dancing is bloody hard to start learning unless you have a lot of clear floor space. ive tried it a couple of times, and always whack my ankles off the couch and fall over.

    personally, as a guy, i favour random improvisation. I base my dancing around a mix of dance moves ripped straight from a couple of MJ vids, footloose, ballroom dancing and A man call Dave Vanian, lead singer of the damned. ( his on stage dancing basically focuses on moving around very quickly with very little effort at all- proper dancing shoes help decrease friction so you can get a reallyt good slide off them)

    Please bear in mind though, that the resulting visual spectacle is so out of the norm that it will be impossible to judge sexuality based on it, so if you are worried about that then it really wont be a problem.

    that said i cant really give instructions ofver the net, and im certainly not qualified to give anything other than friendly advice

  • typhonatemybaby @ at 5:31 pm, October 16th, 2010

    @the raisin girl

    yeah, i have a couple of riedns who can swing dance.

    Waltzing, quickstep jive, etc were always my favourites though.

    that and the inimitable twist.

  • typhonatemybaby @ at 5:33 pm, October 16th, 2010

    having deluged the page with comments can i just add one last suggestion:

    SKANKING

    seriously. simple, fun, doesnt matter what gender you are, aprrpriate for a variety of occasions… pretty awesome really.

  • Emily S. @ at 10:06 pm, October 17th, 2010

    Haha, gotta second the last comment – skanking works. So does the “lawnmower”, “robot”, “MC Hammer”, moonwalk, or any other such similar dance move that maybe was in vogue for 5 minutes in the mid 1990′s. It might make you look like an awkward guy who doesn’t know how to dance, but it might be preferable to all three other options…

  • C @ at 1:48 pm, October 18th, 2010

    A good and enjoyable post, and one I laughed at(as a lesbian, I have a particular horror of boys grinding into me. I mean,eww.)

    But could I ask you not to use the word spaz, as in “just spaz out and then no one can even identify you as anything other than crazy.”

    It doesn’t help anyone, it hurts those with disabilities and those who have friends who are disabled.

    Hope I don’t come across as too patronising and thanks!

  • TheAlbanian @ at 9:58 am, November 21st, 2010

    Haha, when i wanna grind I just take the girl’s position. It’s so much funner that way lmao. Other than that, I dance the way I dance, to have fun. I dont limit myself because some faggots(straight guys) think it’s weird. =)

  • evelien @ at 8:20 am, January 19th, 2011

    Maybe they can do the hustle?

  • Rhiannon @ at 8:20 pm, March 16th, 2011

    Just remember…
    Disco never REALLY went out of style.

  • piano bench @ at 12:28 am, July 5th, 2011

    It is certainly a great website, continue to keep up the good writing!

  • Victoria L @ at 1:08 am, March 7th, 2012

    My twin brother who is a homosexual had a school formal (I was their too) He hadn’t actually come out to anyone except his family at this point. Then a Katy Perry song came on, I’m not saying that all gay guys like Katy Perry (but my brother loved her songs) anyway, he starts bobbing around like a maniac along with most of the girls, and of course some douchebag looks over from where most of the other guys are gathered and goes ‘Woah man! That is gaaaaaaaay! Hey guys, ‘X’ is rocking out to KATY PERRY!!”

    Every eye in the room zooms striaght to my brother, then two of my brothers friends (straight guys) get up, not even batting an eye at the douchbags comment, and start rocking put with him as well. In turn some of THEIR (guy) friends get up too and soon more than half of the year 11 guys are dancing to ‘Teenage Dream’ it was one of the single most beautiful moments of my life, dancing up there and watching my brother’s incredulous but delighted face. Friends are so important.

  • Being a Gay Teen at Homecoming « thefeministblogproject @ at 9:04 pm, October 3rd, 2012

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