Cellophane… Mr. Cellophane

dancing, personal

[ As usual, personally identifying info is often obscured to protect the privacy of my friends ]

A dance acquaintance of mine just came back from a Lindy Hop exchange and publicly posted a gushing note with shout-outs to all the guys she fell in Lindy-Love with.

This is not uncommon. On swing boards all over the country, you can read, “Oh man, [so-and-so], I can’t wait to dance with you again! And [another person], you can Blues[dance with] me any time, day or night…” and so on and so on ad nauseum.

It really wouldn’t be ‘nauseum’ except for the sour grapes that my name is — barring exceptional circumstances with odds approximating those of winning the lotto twice in a row — never going to appear in this context.

It’s made all the more frustrating because I have a friend who has at least half-a-dozen women falling in love with him wherever he dances. His list of women who have Lindy Crushes is bigger than my current to-do list. And that’s large. Really large. “Oh, Bryant, I am framing that pic of us! You’re so hot!” “Bryant, mmm… you’re so amazing, four dances in a row with you isn’t enough!” “Bryant, when are you coming back to Portland?” And Bryant — bless his heart — excitedly tells me about each and every new girl that he has unwittingly under his spell, as if I should be surprised. Maybe Bryant was once dorky and fat and awkward and still can’t get over his current success(es). I know he’s not rubbing all of this fame and love in out of spite… he’s actually a nice fella. But it doesn’t make it go down any easier.

In contrast, I’m simply the nice-guy dancer that doesn’t pull your arm, doesn’t grab your boobs, and, well, doesn’t leave much of an impression at all.

I’m not bad. I’m not great. I’m, well, not very memorable on the dance floor.

I’m Mr. Cellophane*. And it’s damn depressing.

I’m surrounded by Lindy Rock Stars and I’ve even had the good fortune to dance with many of them. At a recent dance competition Finals round with 20 of the best dancers in the Bay Area, I noticed with amusement that I had danced with at least half of the women featured.

But that doesn’t mean they remember my name. Or ask me to dance. More often, they look right through me, walk right by me.

I admit, this whining entry is in direct contradiction to my earlier entry in which I noted that I had made blissful peace with my dancing mediocrity. So sue me. I’m sick, I’m cranky, and I’m in a DanceSlump as of late.

It happens to the best of us, I know. Plateaus and all. But is it really that common to feel as if you’re getting WORSE? Blah.

Right now, I’d even settle for being a controversial figure in dance… you know, one of those guys that people hate to love and love to hate and so on. At least I’d be known for SOMETHING.

*A human bein’s made of more than air
With all that bulk, you’re bound to see him there
Unless that human bein’ next to you
Is unimpressive, undistinguished
You know who…

Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there!

– Lyrics from the musical Chicago

So until I either drop someone on her head or cuss someone out or win a competition or do a quadruple spin without falling on my ass, I’m going to just be known for… not being known. Lindy Hop’s Mr. Cellophane.

3 comments… add one
  • Anita Rowland Dec 3, 2002 Link Reply

    This was one to think about! I’m sure I’ve felt like this, but not in such a general way—more like feeling that some guy didn’t enjoy dancing with me if he *never* asked me (so I stopped asking him). I did blog this post in my own weblog.

  • Kim Y Dec 20, 2002 Link Reply

    Mmmm… controversial?  infamous?  Maybe not so good.  Probably around 1991 I danced with someone named Faustino and I remember his name even now because he was known for the trip dip – without warning he would trip the follow so that she would dip (sometimes with a frantic yelp).

  • h0ly Feb 21, 2008 Link Reply

    I’m Mr. Cellophane*. And it’s damn depressing.

    😀 lol

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