Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


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You can not dance if you want to

This is a sign from the metro in Barcelona. It drew my attention because this guy looks like he’s having fun or recreating the Vitruvian Man in a minimalist, Helvetica-y way. Regardless, I really like him and am sad that what I get from him is basically the opposite of the intended message.

Have a happy and safe New Year and dance if you want to.

“It is not permitted to go down to the track.”

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Daft Charleston

From ages three to thirteen, every Thursday of the school year, I went to dance class. The only time I didn’t object was the very first day, since I didn’t yet know that it would be the single most loathsome part of my youth. All these years later, I still get all stiff-jawed and sweary when I think about the goddamn nightmare that was ballet classes.

At the end of each season, there’d be a recital at the big performance center in my town. Huge. Almost 3,000 seats. Annually, I endured THE WORST three days of my life as we had to perform four times over the course of a weekend. It was unadulterated misery for me. Honestly, I could go on for the rest of the day enumerating the many and varied ways in which I hated dance class, the recital weekend, all the girls in my class, the stage makeup, the bright lights and the preposterous costumes. Basically, it embodied everything that I am not about, most notably being girly and an attention whore.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. We’re here to talk about how, even now, all these years later, I still remember some of the choreography. One year, there was a dance medley (if you can name anything worse than a medley you win a prize) and the Charleston was among them. For one brief moment, I had fun in class because we learned it to Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” which is just such a great song. We got to freestyle a bit during the really jumpy part and dance class was the opposite of horrible for five minutes.

The Internet put the Charleston dance together with Daft Punk, which, being a French group, I think qualifies as appropriate subject matter for this blog. The two guys are really jiving in a way that makes me so happy, I almost forget about how much I hated dance class for a few moments. They’re that good.

According to the Interwebs, the guys are Al Minns & Leon James from the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.


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Tightening it up in Paris

This is the album art we tighten it up with

The iPod is the single greatest thing I’ve even gotten myself. By far. It’s improved my general quality of life immensely every day.

This isn’t a love letter to the iPod, just a statement of fact. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to tighten it up down Avenue de l’Opéra on a bright winter day, seeing my breath cloud slightly in front of my face. ‘What?’ you say. ‘You did what down the street?”

I was tightening it up, man. You can do it, too. I don’t think the French boogie down sidewalks judging by the looks I got, but that’s how I roll. Get behind it, man.


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How to fox pass

Forget the Dougie and Gangham Style! The latest dance craze is the Fox Pass. What? You haven’t heard of it? Why, it’s positively sweeping l’Hexagone. It’s easy, let me show you how to do it.

Start with your basic fox trot:

And then totally disregard the fox trot. The fox pass isn’t a dance at all. It’s a stupid thing I started saying when I was a kid that I continued to say all my life but that is way less funny now that I’m in France. A fox pass is a faux pas.

The real faux deal!

I started pronouncing it the other way after seeing a commercial on TV for “genuine faux pearls!” emphasis on the “faux.” It was clear that the ad was selling the whole Frenchness of the pearls, knowing full well that most people in the broadcast area had no idea that “faux” means “fake,” rendering a “genuine” version of anything described as such to be essentially worthless.

Of course, now when I say “fox pass” the joke falls on deaf ears or ears which are attached to people who think I’m an idiot. Sad panda.

Bonus!

French people doing a live version of the Beyoncé video…which was created as part of the Let’s Move! campaign to get American kids off their fat asses. I feel pretty weird about them “waving the American flag,” but I’m not sure they know what they’re miming.