Imagine you are an alien from another galaxy. You've just landed on Earth, but not just anywhere on Earth.
You've been graced with the pleasure of landing in a parking lot off of College Road, in the suburbs of Richmond, Va.
As you exit the spacecraft, your senses are immediately bombarded. "What is that smell?" you ask. "And that noise?"
That smell, you ask ... oh, don't worry, it's just Natty Light, vomit and piss. And the noise, no worries there either, it's just a few guys out front of a house telling ugly girls that their lodge is mysteriously full after having just let in two football players.
You begin to wonder why everyone wants to get inside this so-called "lodge"? What does this lodge actually lodge anyway?
You decide to investigate by sneaking inside via army-crawling through the woods, climbing over a fence and entering the back door.
As you successfully make it inside the lodge, your heart stops as your body is penetrated by the beat of a speaker box. You find yourself surrounded by a curiously large number of CEOs and secretary hoes. Perplexed, you wonder why all of the CEOs are men?
Furthermore, you wonder why a majority of the secretaries are bent over. Did they all drop their pencils? Did they all coincidentally lose a contact lens?
Silly, silly alien, didn't you hear? That's how we humans dance in America these days. You know, first, there were the waltz and the foxtrot. Then came the jive and the jitterbug. Oh, and let's not forget about disco (e.g., John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever," sigh). The hip-hop and soul movement was soon to follow and fortunately, for entertainment's sake, stuck on the scene.
Unfortunately, as it were, hip-hop is not a style of dance that comes naturally to most people. Thus, we find ourselves searching for another, slightly easier form of dancing. This type of "dance" is most commonly referred to as grinding.
Grinders (those who practice the art of grinding) are often spotted at clubs and parties all over the United States. The Richmond lodges are a breeding ground for said grinders on any given weekend.
If I had to describe grinding to a person with a visual impairment, I'd probably say something along the lines of: "Imagine watching two people have vertical, rabbit-like sex with their clothes on. That is what grinding looks like."
If I had to guess who thought up the concept of grinding (excluding rabbits), I'd probably say "Family Guy's" most lovable pervert, Quagmire.
According to Dictionary.com, the verb "to grind" (when used as a verb), can mean the following:
1. The act of smoothing or sharpening by friction.
2. To reduce an object to fine particles, as by pounding or crushing.
3. To oppress or torment.
4. To rub harshly and, my personal favorite,
5. To pulverize.
All I can say to that is thank you, online dictionary, for clarifying a few key points for me. I had no idea that people were grinding to reduce each other to fine particles. I, for one, was also unaware of the ecstasy that encompasses being pulverized by your dance partner. Who would have thought a harsh rubdown was just what the doctor ordered?
Grinding, also known as freak dancing (a term used and abused by concerned school boards and "cool moms" across the nation) never ceases to confound me.
I find myself the most perplexed when considering the idea of sexual frustration versus grinding. I often wonder which experience results in the other. Does sexual frustration cause grinding or does grinding cause sexual frustration?
I am by no means trying to insinuate that all grinders are sexually frustrated. If that were the case, a majority of this school would need serious sex therapy. I just find it hard to believe that sane people, with no sexual frustrations whatsoever, would choose to grind rather than properly dance.
Or is it not a matter of sexual frustration, but rather that Americans have simply become lazy dancers? Is it because we could care less how other cultures are dancing in today's world?
I certainly hope not. Especially since our reputation abroad is often that Americans are culturally closed-minded as it is.
A few years ago, a dear Italian friend of mine asked me about the American style of dancing. After explaining to him, in explicit detail, the fine art of grinding, he turned to me and said (with a seriousness that I will never forget as long as I live), "In Italy, if you dance like this, you are a bitch." Fact.
Sorry, dog-lovers, but I think acting like a female dog is insulting to humans. On the other hand, I think saying goodbye to grinding forever is virtually impossible at this point in pop culture.
With that said, I think it's not too difficult to make a personal effort not to turn into a rabbit-in-heat on the dance floor.
For instance, the Richmond fraternity Kappa Alpha is known to prefer having live bands at their lodge as opposed to DJs or set playlists. Live bands such as these provide a more or less hump-free environment for people who legitimately want to dance.
And, from what I hear, KA member Mark Minich is a great dancer.
Giggity giggity goo.