I didn’t need another TV show addiction.
I was already hopelessly hooked on “American Idol,” “24” (when I can figure out what the heck is going on) and HBO’s paean to polygamy, “Big Love.” And, OK, “Real Housewives of New York City.” There, I said it. Give me a break; it’s a recession. I need all the cheap, guilty pleasures I can get.
So, when I was unexpectedly sucked into the season debut of “Dancing with the Stars” this week, I panicked.
“Idiot!” I said to myself. “You never should have started watching this show. It’s one of the highest-rated on television. There’s got to be good reason. Turn off the TV right now or say goodbye to Monday nights for the next 13 weeks!
But, there was something about it. Excitement in the studio was palpable. The stage was illuminated like the Vegas strip. The gowns were the gaudiest I’d seen outside of Branson. And the lineup of “stars” was, well, not what I would call stellar but curious, at least: Belinda Carlisle of Go-Go’s fame; Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s ex-Number One girlfriend; Denise Richards from “Drop Dead Gorgeous”; Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson; Samantha’s handsome naked neighbor from the “Sex and the City” movie ... eight other “stars” I’d never heard of ... and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
“The Woz”? This I HAD to see.
There’s something terribly endearing about a middle-aged, overweight wonk with two left feet trying valiantly to cha-cha to Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” especially as he’s practicing in shorts and black socks. I mean, what’s not to love?
Through half-covered eyes, I watched the zillionaire computer genius — a dead ringer for the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz” (Get it? “The Woz” meets “The Wiz?”) — waddle his way through the rehearsal video, then take his place live on the stage in a black coat, tails and — drum roll, please — a pink feathered boa. (Oh, no you didn’t, Woz!) What followed was a two-minute choreographed routine that was excruciating to watch.
Wozzy gave his best smiley-faced effort, even with some impressive knee drops (ouch!) but, in the end, confirmed a contention I’ve been making for years, which the rest of the show bore out: White men can’t dance.
Most white men know this instinctively. That’s why they wait until they are effectively liquored-up before venturing onto the dance floor at a wedding, usually during the band’s final set, typically dragged by the collar by a wife or girlfriend. Some men — the smart ones — won’t venture at all, forcing their womenfolk to dance with each other, which is fine with us because who wants a partner who is a) reluctant; b) lacking any semblance of rhythm; and c) splashing beer all over his suit?
There are exceptions to the rule, of course. My son is a great soulful dancer, for no apparent genetic reason. So good, you’d wonder if James Brown might have been his sperm donor, and Paula Abdul his surrogate mother. (I’m fairly sure that’s not the case. I remember those two torturous days of hard, induced labor, but that’s another story.)
Sixty percent of gay men are excellent dancers. Why? They’ve had more practice, for one reason. And, while practice may not make perfect, it helps.
It also seems to be a generational thing. Until the late ’50s, most men could look respectable by hanging on to a woman and box-stepping her around the floor (1-2-3, 1-2-3 …). But, as soon as they disengaged to do the twist, monkey, funky chicken or other free style dances of the day, men started flailing around like anchorless ships in a storm. Even with the detour through the disco years, they never got back on course.
In fairness, poor Woz wasn’t the only white guy struggling on DWTS. The rodeo athlete, the country singer and the reality star all struggled with lead feet and arhythmic limbs.
It was a cringe fest. A groan-inducing, agonizing cringe fest.
Will I tune in next week? You bet I will. Why? Because I admire the guys for trying. Because I want to see “The Woz” improve and ultimately triumph for all the geeks in the world.
And because the handsome, naked neighbor from the “Sex and the City” movie is really hot, and he can dance!!
— Cathy Hamilton is a 53-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author, who blogs every day at BoomerGirl.com.