1. Actual Dancing. Look, I get it, dancing is hard. You have to learn actual steps that are performed to some kind of discernible rhythm, and you must lead or follow with respect and consideration for your partner. It takes a while to learn, it requires some concentration, and you run the risk of making a false move and throwing the dance off. It’s much easier to just flop around like dying fish, rubbing crotches together to a vague beat while you make out between swigs of Vodka Red Bulls. The ostensible purpose of dancing, even when it was at its most chaste, has been a sort of mating ritual, albeit cached in intricate music and complex turn-outs. Perhaps it’s more honest to just cut the bullshit and grind against each other until you exchange fluids.
But even if it gets the job done faster, there is something nice about real partner dancing. No matter your personal style, there’s something for you–salsa is sexy and passionate, swing is fun and lighthearted, blues is incredibly suave–hell, even polka is a good workout. It’s fun and innocent, asking someone for a dance, leading them gently onto the dance floor, and maybe even asking a few light questions as you make a little work of art together. Some of my favorite dances have been with men my grandfather’s age–they were light, open, and unpretentious as only someone who’s seen it all can really be.
And the goal of the music at these dances is not to drown out every other sense and render the listener temporarily deaf, it’s to add to the atmosphere, facilitate conversation, and keep the dancing going. It’s the kind of music that fills the room warmly without reducing every verbal exchange to:
- Person 1: WHAT DID YOU SAY?
- Person 2: WHAT?
- Person 1: I DIDN’T HEAR YOU!
- Person 1: I’m in love with you–always have been, always will be. I will one day get the courage to tell you how I’ve always felt, I promise.
- Person 2: I CAN’T HEAR YOU!
- Person 1: WHAT?
A good workout, a fun skill you can build on, and you get to interact with your partner! Imagine that. And if all that’s not convincing enough–just remember, if you spend your whole dancing life anonymously dry humping in the sweaty corner of a nightclub, you will look absolutely absurd and out of place at any event that actually requires some dancing–think formals, weddings, awards ceremonies, or parties where your grandmother can see you in all your shame. Don’t be that person awkwardly swaying back and forth to Louis Prima–that person is lame.
2. Hats. Although women wearing hats isn’t seen often, with the exception of perhaps horse racing–in which they are just a novelty to giggle about as you day drink–it’s men’s relationship with hats that has so sadly deteriorated. The crisp, put-together fedora used to be the staple of the professional male’s ensemble. At some point, though, the only men who actually wore fedoras out and about became socially inept anime nerds. Come on, we’ve all seen the guy at prom wearing the white-pinstriped zoot suit with the Dick Tracy fedora cocked jauntily to the side. Fedoras have become something guys can’t really wear without looking like an utter imbecile. And what are the other options?
- Beret – You’ll look like Johnny Depp–not European, but trying so painfully hard to look the part.
- Pageboy Cap – Dance, Christian Bale, dance!
- Top Hat – As long as you have your monocle and your inherited fortune in the railroads, I suppose it’s appropriate.
- Rasta Tamm- Eyyy, I don’t put a high premium on basic hygeine, mon!
You could also wear a baseball cap, but despite what the hip-hop industry would have you believe, those are purely active wear. No one’s going to wear one to a job interview or their daughter’s wedding, so we’ll still need another option. I say bring the fedora back without even a touch of irony–it’s professional, understated, and gives men something to take off to show a bit of respect or deference.
3. Buying Things With Actual Money You Actually Have. Remember when, if you wanted something, you saved up for a really long time and sometimes denied yourself little immediate pleasures to fulfill your long-term financial goals? Remember when you would prioritize your budget and decide some things were just out of the question? Remember when you would work throughout your reasonably-priced schooling to pay for your living expenses so you could graduate debt-less and start your life in freedom?
Why, yes, I would love your $1000 dollar-limit student credit card! Why, no, I don’t have anything to be spending it on other than Starbucks and novelty books about pooping from Urban Outfitters! A thousand dollars is nothing in the face of my crushing 80,000 dollars of student loan debt, throw it on the pile! This liberal arts degree is going to land me exactly the kind of job that will pay off my debt immediately while I continue to coast on a happy little cloud of imaginary funds, I’m sure of it. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay, filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is going to be the new Botox in twenty years.
4. Smoking. Okay, this needs to be clarified. I don’t advocate that everyone go out and start smoking, that would be ridiculous. But I do long for a time when we weren’t (at least in America) so absurdly uptight about it. No smoking in public parks? You have to stand 20 feet away from a building? You can’t smoke on the open-air terrace of a restaurant?
Okay, sure, that’s appropriate. Stuffing yourself and your children with burgers and french fries, binge drinking until blackout on a regular basis, slathering yourself in lotion and roasting your skin in a tanning booth–that’s all fine. Those are all perfectly acceptable, healthy things. But the second you light up, even in the middle of an open park, you are going to be met with the kind of looks usually reserved for pedophiles you have seen on your local news.
We’re all going to die, and we’re all going to do things along the way that speed that process along. Everyone’s got their vice, and everyone is entitled to it. And nothing is more irritating than suburban moms working themselves into a reactionary tizzy about the idea of their child’s air being 1 part per million tobacco smoke when their diet of half white sugar, half trans fats poses no problem.
Everyone just take a Xanax and calm down.
5. Family Dinners. I know some of you guys still do/did this; I know it still exists in pockets of our culture. For those of you who were raised by families that took the time to put the food together themselves and then sit down to eat it as a little community and enjoy each others’ company, give yourself a smug little pat on the back. You’ve earned it.
In all seriousness, though, there have been numerous studies that prove the virtues and benefits to a child’s psychological health of eating as a family unit. The actual cooking of the food part is mostly desirable for the ability it gives you to see what is going into your food (not to mention it being significantly lighter on your wallet).
The family unit seems to be more and more drifting in this sad, strange little universe where relatives are merely walking, talking impediments to our over-full schedules. The idea of taking a moment out of the day to dedicate our attention and interest to each other is becoming more and more foreign. It’s so much easier to just swing by the Boston Market, load up on some overpriced, fattening facsimiles of “home-style” food (is there any more ironic a label?), and throw it in front of the respective family members as they sit with their respective electronic distractions.
I think we all know the true sign of being in the “future.” Dinner comes in pill-form, reaching the apex of not having to deal with each other whatsoever. No muss, no fuss, no interaction–just the way we want it.