You Can Dance if You Want To

You Can Dance if You Want To

By Rachel Birdsell

All those many years ago when I was in high school I never went to a prom, or any other dance for that matter. Christian schools didn’t allow dancing, because it was sinful and would lead to lustful thoughts which led to making babies in the back seat of the bus on the way home from a basketball game. Then you’d find yourself 15, pregnant and ruing the day you ever let your hips sway to a great beat. It never was a logical progression of events for me. When I danced to music at my friend’s house, I didn’t have lustful thoughts. I could manage to make it through Crocodile Rock without wanting to hump anything that held still.

But dancing was sinful. Sinful. Just the word was enough to strike, if not terror, then certainly guilt in the minds of impressionable youths. Supposedly, we couldn’t be sinful lest we find ourselves cut off from god, but mostly I think we couldn’t be sinful because we knew the people around us would be judging us for it. I don’t like the word sin, probably because of those feelings it evoked all those years ago. It was dirty. It was taboo. It was deviant and shameful. Sin. Sin. Sin.

But, what is sin? If we’re to believe the Merriam-Webster dictionary, (and why shouldn’t we?), sin is defined as: an offense against religious or moral law. b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible. c : an often serious shortcoming

Since I don’t recognize any religious law, the first definition is almost moot. But, there is the moral part. Can’t morality be subjective, though? Sure, there are some hard fast rules, but I think the general rule of getting through life without being an asshole is to not harm anyone, whether that harm is physical, emotional or mental. Don’t hurt people. Be nice. That doesn’t sound quite as dirty as “don’t sin.” It’s not as difficult to keep up with as a list of don’ts. Don’t fornicate. Don’t lust. Don’t drink. Don’t lie. Don’t listen to that music. Don’t listen to that music, either. Don’t be friends with that person. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.

Be nice.

It’s two simple words that take the place of so many don’ts.

So, I say go ahead and dance. Dance even if you don’t think you’re very good at it and your feet and arms don’t match what your backside is doing. Dance until you can’t dance anymore. If on the off chance your dancing leads to having sex, then lucky you. Because having sex isn’t any more of a sin than dancing is. Have a little bit of a drink and turn on some music that makes you want to sway your hips. Laugh a lot. Live a lot. Kick up your heels and dance a lot.

Just be nice.

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can reach her at


Categories: Commentary