Jim's Polka

The life of a former software engineer, now a law student

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Two Men Dancing

I've mentioned a number of times before that I've been ballroom dancing for a long time. Ballroom is a funny activity, in a number of ways. There's a significant split in ages, for one thing. As you would expect, a large number of dancers fall into the senior citizen category. But, in recent years, ballroom's been growing in popularity in the younger crowd, especially college age. (I started almost 10 years ago as a college sophomore.)

As you might imagine, these groups don't have a ton in common. The older crowd is socially very conservative. They see ballroom dancing as a formal, structured, rule-bound activity. The younger crowd, like most college students, is much more easy-going. We just want to have a good time. Basically, "Shut up and dance!" When it comes to homosexuality, the older generation is, at best, uncomfortable. The younger generation has an almost complete acceptance. Ballroom men have justifiably been described as "the gayest straight men you'll ever meet."

All of this background leads to this article. Two men danced together at a dance competition at MIT. As a member of the younger generation, I don't think this is a big deal. Guys dance together at college events all the time. Sometimes you get tired of leading all the time and want to try following. Older dancers hate that. So, this is the latest manifestation of an old controversy.

I was involved in the Youth and College Network (mentioned in the article) for several years after I graduated, so I've already made my own contribution to this argument. I thought it was silly then, and I think so now. The only acceptable reason I've ever heard to oppose allowing men to dance together is that there are way more women then men, so men dancing together takes away the option for the women. But, that hardly seems worth making such a huge fuss about.

I know a number of people quoted in the article. Gary Morris is a friend of mine. I'm glad to see him out there working for the sensible choice.

(Luckily for the conservative side, I hear the president is proposing a constitutional amendment to prevent this sort of incident from ever happening again.)

(Link via Unfogged who describes this as proof that there is "something too gay for ballroom dancing. Hopefully, I've disabused him of that notion.)