A treatise on grinding equality


Lindy Hop Social Dancing (Photo Courtesy of Eric Esquivel via Flickr).

I’m sure that you can find, if you wanted, more than a few internet essays devoted to condemning modern dance, that wax nostalgia for swing styles and complicated steps, but I can’t write that sort of article.  I’d be utterly out of my league in the big band era, so I can’t say I mind grinding much – it’s not hard to master. I can sway back and forth, hold on tight, and I’m practically a professional. However, I think it needs to be said that grinding is inherently unfair to the person dancing in front.

There are a lot of people who dance joined at the hips, but I’m  specifically speaking about the couples who have a girl in front of a boy, not facing him (if that’s not you, I apologize). It’s not a huge leap to say that of the two, the boy has a better chance of being, well, aroused while they dance. When I grind with someone, he has a girl rubbing against a (I’m trying to keep this professional and PG) sensitive area, and all I have is a boy stuck to my butt. It isn’t considered strange that dancing back to front clearly leaves one partner out, but I think it should be.

There is a big glaring unfairness right in front of us, every time a crowd of people begins to dance. So I’m challenging all the partners who dance in front to do one thing – turn around! Why not? It’s not quite a taboo, but for whatever reason, dancing face to face seems…raunchier than dancing back to front. But does turning around really make grinding any more sexual than it already is? And if not, then why are we so afraid to do it?


Day 133: ” Prom Night” (Photo Courtesy of Sean Freese via Flickr).

I think that as a society (pardon my feminism) we aren’t quite comfortable with the idea of women having the same desires as men. It’s normal to see a guy, to quote one of my high school teachers, having ‘sex with his clothes on’ in the middle of a dance floor, but it just isn’t something we’d expect his partner to attempt. But if it’s okay for men to rub themselves against their dance partners – as long as the right song is playing – shouldn’t it be just as okay for women?


I’ll admit, I’m being a bit hypocritical; the idea of bolding turning around and pretending to be a character in Dirty Dancing is a little intimidating. Even though I know I shouldn’t, I expect to dance the way my peers do, and only when I’m writing a faux-treatise do I start considering that the way we dance isn’t something set in stone. Popular dances evolve; if I was alive 70 years ago I would’ve had to figure out how to fake my way around a swingin’ dance hall. Grinding isn’t intrinsic, we can dance however we want to. So there’s no reason that, if enough people decided to take the plunge, we couldn’t all turn around and make the dance floor into an even playing field.


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