Clementine Ford: 19 Horrible Things That Could Happen If You Let Your Boy Dance
You'd think that in 2019 we'd have progressed well past ridiculous stereotypes about gendered activities and who is and isn't allowed to partake in them, but SURPRISE!
We haven't! Forget climate change and humanity's rapidly approaching destruction at the hands of rising sea levels -- the real threat is widespread anxiety over what defines a Real Bloke.
Consider the case of Lara Spencer, a host on Good Morning America. Last week, Spencer discovered that a little chap by the name of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge was taking ballet lessons and she wasted no time in expressing the full extent of her derision. "Prince William says George absolutely loves ballet," she announced to a laughing audience. "I have news for you Prince William, we’ll see how long that lasts!"
LOLZ! Ballet! But that's for girls and whoopsies!
Presumably, Prince George should be out hunting rabbits and shooting cans and beating up other boys because that's what boys do and we should just let them be boys! If we let them dance without any kind of public opposition or mockery, how will they learn how to properly annihilate their emotions and become empty husks stapled together with the twin materials of male fragility and unrelenting rage?
To be fair, she later apologised.
Of course, it's absolutely ridiculous to suggest little boys shouldn't or couldn't sustain an interest in dance. Only completely unreconstructed dingleberries would think otherwise, which makes about three quarters of the world's population.
Then again, dance is a transformative and mysterious power. Should you allow YOUR six-year-old His Highness partake in this ancient form of alchemy? Forewarned is forearmed.
So here, in no particular order, is a list of things that might happen to your son if you allow him to don tights and twirl joyfully around a room with eight-20 other small ratbags.
*The ability to lengthen and extend his body sufficiently enough to reach higher things on the shelves, but to do it gracefully.
*With younger children, excessive twirling can make them dizzy and therefore easier to wrestle into the car seat.
*He is likely to be a superior athlete if he chooses to branch out into other, lesser, sports. Like football or rugby.
*An appreciation of classical music, which is nicer to listen to than most of that GODAWFUL RACKET MADE BY THE YOUTH BANDS.
*Like a goodly proportion of the population, he may at some point discover he is gay. Should this happen, he will be able to communicate this to you via a beautiful pas seul over which you will weep tears because of its celebratory thematics.
*Later, when he's ready for you to meet his boyfriend, he can announce their courtship through a pas de deux. You will cry again here, because it is so wonderful to see him so happy and well loved.
*A simple wardrobe of tights and t-shirts, all in black. Is it a mime or is it dancer? Why not both.
*The establishment of a very precise way of walking. In fact, his poise always reminds you to straighten your back and as a result your sciatica has really improved.
*He may be whisked away to dance in a netherworld run by a Goblin King who himself dons an excellent pair of spandex tights.
*In the course of caring for a body that requires fuel and sustenance in order to dance, he may learn how to do marvellous things with vegetables. As a constant source of support and encouragement to him, you will frequently be invited for dinner. Lucky you!
*During his impetuous adolescence, when all children manage to get themselves into trouble one way or another, he may join a rabble of other hot-headed street urchins. But they will solve their problems in the manner of all young men trained in the art of ballet -- through dance-fighting.
*He may be cast to star in a movie that makes absolutely no sense at all, but that establishes cult status simply because who doesn't love a dance film? See also: gymnastics movies.
*One day, when he is long dead, his formidable spouse may write a scathing takedown of the ignorance still being displayed by tedious conservatives determined to malign a practice that is both beautiful and disciplined. In doing so, they will remind everyone exactly what kind of legend your son was and how he personally worked to change the world and its backwards view of men's capacity for creative expression.
The readers of this excoriating riposte will remember how they felt the first time they watched your son dance, and they'll think hey -- maybe *I* should have taken up dancing as a youngster? Gene Kelly's body may be dust but the memory of his otherworldly legs will live forever. Fact.
*Your son might be happy.
*Your son might be fulfilled.
*Your son might feel free.
*Your son might know you love him enough to support his dreams, and feel secure in the pride you display for his passion.
Here's something that will not happen if you or anyone else allows their son to take up dance lessons.
*The world will not end. Yours might, but it sounds like it probably could do with a shake-up.
Long may His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge twirl!