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The Lake News Online
  • My view: The best white boy flamenco dancer

  • Note: Everything in this column is true. Looking back, a little embarrassing, but true.
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  • Note: Everything in this column is true. Looking back, a little embarrassing, but true.
    As we age, you can’t deny humans lose the carefree attitude of childhood. Most people abandon a bit of their inhibition because we have to take care of responsible things like feeding children, paying bills and maintaining a household. All too often, we forget to let our hair down and make decisions at the spur of the moment because we have to do such important things like, say, dust the bookcase.
    Responsibility is one thing. Vanity is another. Adults are vain people. We care about how we appear to others — sometimes we care far too much. Children don’t seem to care as much.
    And they often have more fun because of it.
    Here’s an example from my childhood:
    Mother’s Day. I was about 11 years old. Like a bad son, I wasn’t with my mother. Instead, I had spent the night at a friend’s house and was with his family.
    My friend came from a predominantly Hispanic family and the day I spent with them was the day of a large festival celebrating the Hispanic culture in the St. Louis area.
    Between sopapillas, quesadillas and anything else ending in -illa, I was stuffed to the gills with authentic Hispanic food.
    Then came the parade. Then the music.
    Then, the dancing.
    Over a loud speaker in the area, an announcer called for entrants into a flamenco dancing contest on a dancefloor set up in the center of the festival area.
    Here’s where my inhibition kicked in.
    I grabbed my friend and his brother and dragged them to the dancefloor. We were going to flamenco, if we know how to or not.
    The music started to play and my legs started to kick, stomp, and flail about as if not attached to my body.
    What I was doing probably looked a little less like flamenco and a little more like riverdance.
    Once the music stopped, four Hispanic “celebrities” — I had never heard of them, as they were regulars on Telemundo — selected four semifinalists to advance in the competition.
    The final “celebrity” selected the white boy with the blonde hair in the sea of Hispanic flamenco dancers to move on, even though it was more out of respect for my gumption than my actual dancing skills.
    I tried again in the semifinal round, moving around the suddenly sparse dancefloor while the crowd guffawed at my attempt. To advance to the finals, you had to get a rousing applause from the audience. Once again, I pleased the masses.
    Page 2 of 2 - I eventually lost in the finals (I maintain it’s because my competitior had a cowboy hat and I did not), but that’s OK because part of the reward was for the winner to present a bouquet of flowers to his mother.
    Despite coming in second, I left the dancefloor with a big smile and bursting with pride.
    Sometimes losing adolescent inhibition can be a good thing. It develops maturity and sense of respect and responsibility.
    But sometimes losing inhibition means the losing the appetite to try something new.
    I probably wouldn’t try flamenco dancing now, and that makes me a little sad that I’ve lost that curiosity.
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