Twerking

I embarrass my family. I know I do. Especially and in particular my children.You know what? I do not care. I would say that this is one of those parental revenge things, but that’s not it at all. You could also argue that embarrassing your child is one of the weird privileges that comes with parenting. But, no. Not that either. Then what is it that causes their profound chagrin?

Yes, I am guilty of that thing moms do where they say, “Hang on a minute, you have dirt on your face.” Mom then proceeds–in a throwback to our more mammal and less human past—to lick her finger and scrub the offending schmutz off her progeny. In similar fashion, my son would probably rather be dead than get caught hugging me in public, though my daughter still doesn’t mind. She’s not quite ten, so I’ll give that some time. These are the least common denominators of embarrassing parental behavior. There’s probably not a parent, and in particular a mom, anywhere on earth who hasn’t perpetrated offenses such as these on her children.

No. What really embarrasses them is that I dance. Well, kind of. I personally think it’s highly likely that I appear to be in the throes of being electrocuted by my dishwasher. In fact, this is not the case. I recently discovered that I may not actually look quite that bad, and that my wild gyrations in the kitchen have a very hip and cool name. To be precise, it seems I do not merely dance. I twerk. Generally, this is not in quite so public a venue as MTV. (I only wish I had that kind of public forum, or at least the paycheck that goes with it.) No, I promise, I will not be found in the aisles of my local supermarket twerking to the muzak.

Alright, if you wish to really press me on that: There was that one time at about ten o’clock at night when I was in my twenties, on a late-night grocery run with the guy I was dating at the time. However, there was absolutely no twerking going on. Actually, it was a less splashy version of “Dancing With the Stars”. I believe it may have been to the Big Band tune “In The Mood”. In case you aren’t immediately familiar, here’s a link. Trust me. You will probably recognize it if only from a thirty-second commercial clip. I know there are a few women out there swooning at the very idea of some dashing young thing sweeping them off their feet in the produce aisle. Clearly it was memorable. But no, sorry. I did not end up married to him. Neither was he anyone’s idea of a Casanova. He was actually a fairly nerdy looking Opie Taylor sort, red hair and all. His joie de vivre was infectious, so I laughed and played along. To be fair, I probably started the whole thing by commenting that “In The Mood” is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music. The charmer in question just took it and ran with it.

I do recall one other time when I came close to public twerking. It definitely was in the great outdoors, and both my children witnessed the event. What can I say? I was dropping stuff off after a Spring-cleaning bonanza at one of those clothing drop boxes. It was a deserted parking lot. It was, as noted, Spring. The sun was warm, and another of my favorite songs had come across the car radio. This is a cue to just dance. I had thought perhaps my dear children might have inherited my tendency to be exuberant at such times. Had they jumped out of the car and joined in, it would have been nothing less than epic. Alas, they merely covered their faces, shook their heads, and pleaded with me to for-the-love-of-God-and-everything-holy to get back in the car. Kids! What do they know? Perhaps there is hope for them yet. They are still well under thirty.

While these stand out as public expressions of my inner joy in life, all in all they were rather tame. The real hip-dipping, bump-and-grind, Shakira-style gyrating occurs only at home. Love me some Pandora with a side of Lady Gaga while I’m doing dishes or something equally mundane, next thing you know the twerking ensues. I am talking mad-crazy swirling that Miley can’t even get close to. Once I really get going and am up to my elbows in suds, swagger, and belting out of tunes, one or another of those children is bound to show up in the kitchen, stare in horror, and promptly high-tail it out of there. The better to spare themselves the hideous sight.

Now I admit, I originally planned to write (or rather rant) about all the inane silliness of having the entire country in a foment over gratuitously perverse psuedo-gyrations by a barely-out-of-her-teens pop star who has no idea of the sensual significance–dare I say grace–that can be imbued upon the much maligned twerk, by an earthy sort of female of a certain age with a bit more knowledge of the art of seduction.

At the end of the day, I find I am actually relieved. I may be hopped up on the bean, but I am not an embarrassment to myself or others. My kids are are (a) not old enough and (b) not cool enough to appreciate that their mother is fly. I am actually a trendsetter, albeit a closet one. I twerked before it was hip. Now I just know that it has a name.


Kathleen Ronan is a writer and a nurse, specializing in meditation for medical applications. She’s also a harpist, a bookworm, and a renaissance woman.
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