The toilet top tango

Andreas and I love to dance. We dance whenever we get the opportunity – at parties, at weddings, at clubs, during catchy TV ads - you name it, we’ll shake a shuffle at it.

Unfortunately, we don’t dance very well. Together, we have all the natural rhythm of a tone-deaf duck.

Luckily, we are in our 30s so we don’t give a fig… we simply dance on, regardless. We especially love dancing with our sons, who have always been enthusiastic bouncers and who tend to explore their own inner rhythm by running in joyful, yet inexplicable, circles. It makes for a fun lounge, I can tell you.

But as we bounce happily and sweatily about the couches together during a bout of The Killers (our favourite family romp band of the moment), there is often a dark thought that tugs at the back of my mind… how much longer can this last?

I am referring, of course, to the dawning of self-consciousness, which affects no area of one’s adolescent soul like one’s perception of dance.

Is there anything more existentially mortifying than dancing with a parent as a teenager?

I remember dancing with my father at the Mount Nelson’s Grill Room on my 14th birthday. My father is also not a very good dancer, and as he swept me awkwardly and forcefully around the floor of that hoary old dinner-dancing venue – peopled almost exclusively by couples over 90 – I wanted to DIE.

My neck hairs prickle even now, remembering it. The jolting dips, the stilted waltz steps, the squished toes and hissed apologies… and me, a sulky sack of potatoes, radiating scorn. Grief, I was a horrid little person. So much indignation, and all my lovely dad was trying to do was show his little girl a good time.

Luckily, as we all know - in family, what goes around, comes around. And before my boys retreat into sullen, pimply scornfulness and mother disdain, it seems we have a good few years of fearless boogie ahead. Or so their behaviour this weekend at a friend’s birthday picnic would suggest...

At dusk, a lovely, lively band began to play, and of course my family jumped up to bounce along. At first, I danced with Joe while Andreas danced with Ben. Then we swapped, so that the children could dance together… and that’s when the fun really started.

It seems, unbeknownst to us, our sons have learnt a rather controversial dance from Captain Underpants creator Dav Pilkey’s website.

Actually, it is more of a dance sequence. It begins with the Toilet Top Tango and proceeds through the Wedgie Wiggle, the Waistband Watusi and, my personal favourite, the Big Butt Boogie. And believe me, it is a sight to behold.

‘Are those your children?’ a friend asked, gesturing at Joey and Ben, who were frenetically alternating violent pelvic thrusts with caricatured Saturday Night Fever poses. “Where on EARTH did they learn such inappropriate dance moves?”

I smiled warmly.

“On dodgy internet sites, I believe,” I responded.
It didn’t take long for the boys’ enthusiasm to infect others and within minutes, they had a row of adults jerking their butts and thumbs this way and that, with all the seriousness those same adults had probably displayed, many moons ago, when learning the Macarena.

The Captain Underpants Victory Dance moves may involve violent and quite inappropriate hip thrusting movements, eye-wateringly silly 70’s finger-pointing and contortionist waist wiggling… but they also radiate little boy delight. In fact, to watch my sons teach a bunch of adults to perform the Toilet Top Tango, was to remember why we dance in the first place.

Because it’s deliciously fun.

Do you still dance with your children?

Read more by Sam Wilson

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24