Tyrades! You Had Me At "Hey! My Knee Popped"

Friday, September 17, 2010

My son can do a mean "end zone" type of dance when taunting someone. When told to "get up" out of bed, he will instead mischievously "get down (and funky)," but otherwise my family is not a dancing family. I did not dance with my first girlfriend. My wife and I did not dance at our wedding. And the latest news makes me more self-conscious than ever about treating dance as anything more than a spectator sport.

According to LiveScience.com, psychologists at Northumbria University in England have unlocked the dance moves that will unlock a woman's heart.

The researchers used computer-generated 3-D avatars (featureless figures, to avoid prejudice caused by hair style, nose shape, etc.) to recreate the motions of 19 male volunteers. Thirty-five heterosexual women rated 15-second clips of the avatars gyrating to German dance music.

Throughout the animal kingdom, examples abound of males performing courtship dances to display their health and skill. Unfortunately, some of the lower animals are more discriminating than humans. ("I may be just a female dung beetle, but I draw the line at hairy chests and gold medallions. I'll sit this one out. Boot-scootin' always makes me nervous, anyway.")

The guys whose swagger included larger and more variable movements of the neck and torso were considered most attractive by the ladies. (Thus, the British "Keep a stiff upper lip" is replaced by "Keep a chiropractor on retainer.")

The research also showed that -- promise not to hyperventilate -- faster bending and twisting movements of the right knee seem to catch the eye of women! Well, duh. I guess this explains all those awkward encounters in medical offices. ("Nurse, I'd like to see the doctor about restless leg syndrome and...would you please stop stuffing dollar bills down my waistband???")

It's understandable that a woman will subconsciously seek out a potential mate who will pass on superior characteristics to her hypothetical offspring. But she sets herself up for disaster by concentrating so much on PHYSICAL health. "I could just feast on your moves, Derrick." "And I would like to eat your liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti..."

If you're wondering about the practical applications of this research, some of the scientists insinuate that if a man can identify the key moves, he can get training and improve his chances of attracting a female. This shows the progression of medical knowledge. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine so people could stand, and these Northumbria jokers are seeing to it that losers can get a one-night stand.

On the other hand, one of the scientists cautioned that the movements could be signs of male health, vigor, or strength that men would find hard to fake. "Stayin' Alive" might be more than just a Bee Gees song. ("I swear, this coughing-up-a-lung maneuver is all the rage in German dance clubs!")

The Northumbria team hopes to study the issue more extensively, but males are traditionally reluctant to sign up for studies that involve dancing. Some are hopeless couch potatoes. Others see dancing as too sissified. Men are intrigued by the possibilities of the avatar studies, however, and encourage the scientists to determine the most appealing parts of other male activities. ("What's women's favorite part of 'pull my finger'? Is it the angle of the finger? The stifled snicker? The echo? The...")

Note: Danny Tyree welcomes e-mail at tyreetyrades@aol.com.