Sex: The Devil's Instrument That Leads To Dancing

I come from Mennonite ancestry on both sides of my family, and it's definitely not a culture known for its fun factor. When I was growing up within a church community, we ate a lot and we sang a lot — I could pick out my alto line in a four-part harmony by the time I was seven — but we had very little in the way of physical expression. Outside of the staunch ethic of hard work — be strong like bull! — physical expression was largely frowned upon.

Sex was fine as a concept within the bond of marriage, but it was so bound up with intellectual issues of morality and social unacceptability that understanding it as an expression of anything other than slutty or parental and, therefore, kind of disgusting, was beyond me until my twenties.

Sports were an acceptable outlet, if you were interested. I was not. The all-capsed rule with three exclamation marks that was posted in the gym at my Mennonite boarding school was AND NO DANCING!!! Want to pick up a quick game of basketball? Fine. Want to wiggle your butt to Pour Some Sugar On Me? You'll hear about the pressure from school donors and the fate of the school.

Dancing was definitely verboten. I was allowed to go to school dances, although I know my mother struggled with letting me go, if only out of angst over tradition rather than concern about the corruption of my soul, but it was not considered generally acceptable among everyone in my church community. I learned not to mention dancing in polite company.

My physically conservative background is why I love this video, and it is why it makes me tear up when I watch it.

I never got to see physical joy from my older relatives when I was growing up. They were all trained into relatively physically sedate lives. We ate heavy food, and we sang Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow, and we would go so far as to whoop at a curling bonspiel or a hockey game, but no one ever danced aside from stamping out the rhythm to keep the choir in line.

To this day, when I am at a show or some other kind of music-related event, I feel like the aging aunt with the thin lips that you catch wiggling her elbow to a tune when she thinks no one's looking, because you know why Mennonites don't have sex standing up, don't you? IT MIGHT LEAD TO DANCING.

Wind Chimes

Grace in Small Things: Sunday Edition #53