Do You Want a Shake With That?

I love the bright yellow of the Lady Banks Rose against the gray sky.

Words written in my novel so far: 46,650

Miles run in Saturday’s 5K: 3.1

Place in my age group: 1 (I told all of the other people to stay home.)

Two takeaways from today’s post:

1. Try not to shake your booty to “Now That We Found Love” by HeavyD & The Boyz. Crank it up and just try to stand still.

2. To inspire trust in others, shake your booty.

So my BFF and I were standing at the edge of the Tobacco Trail on Saturday morning, at a time when normal people are sleeping or watching the Today show or drinking their first cups of coffee.

It was a return to the scene of the crime: March 2011, our first (and only) marathon to date. The sun was coming up, the air was crisp, people were standing around with bib numbers pinned to their chests, and I was struggling with PTSD.

But then we walked over to the Start line, and HeavyD & The Boyz were telling me that we’d found love. What were we gonna do with it?

“Seriously. You can stop dancing now,” my BFF said under her breath.

But I couldn’t. Because they played every dance song from every club night I’d had during my college years: “100% Pure Love,” “What Is Love?,” “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” “Groove Is In The Heart”…

How could I stand there and be cool, indifferent to the mind-bending lyrics: “Gonna make you sweat til you bleed/Is that dope enough? Indeed.”

So I shook it.

And I’m telling you: people trust someone who is shaking it.

People kept walking up, asking sheepishly, “Would you?,” handing me their iPhones and asking me to take their pictures. I mean, handing me their prized iPhones was akin to them letting me hold their ears or their extra appendages or something.

My mind might have been screaming “gormless,” (photo subjects kept explaining with very specific gestures, “THIS IS THE BUTTON YOU PRESS TO TAKE A PICTURE.” It was a camera. Who knew?)

But my body was screaming “trustworthy.”

Obviously, my dancing makes people want me to… stop.

Back in middle school, we had units of learning in P.E.: archery, softball, soccer, aerobics, square dancing… yes, square dancing.

You may get a complete picture of my super-cool middle school career by my telling you that I was on the winning square dancing team for all three years. Yep. It’s true.

The couple of weeks of square dancing usually took place in the winter, and we huddled in the gym in our shorts and t-shirts, anxiously anticipating the prospect of hand-holding with the opposite sex and acting goofy in front of half of the sixth grade class.

In sixth grade, I went into the square dancing set-up with a “stay cool” attitude, much like that of my peers. No cute boys ended up in my square dancing circle, but maybe that was for the best. I could concentrate on the cute boys in other groups as I spun and twirled with a nonchalant, sophisticated demeanor.

But it was a competition. And there was music.

So when “Red River Gal” incited us to get country-wild, our group decided to attack the competition with ironic abandon. Boys with sweaty hands swung and do-si-doed and twirled with me. They were definitely cuter when they were dancing. All that was missing was the cowboy boots.

At least, that was the idea.

It was nice to win, even something as uncool as square dancing. And honestly, I was uncool in so many other ways, I don’t think the square dancing counted against me in any significant way.

(Except that it was years before a boy wanted to hold my hand outside of square dancing. Years, people.)

In both running and dancing, I have learned:

1. You can love to do something, but it doesn’t always translate into insane ability.

2. A good beat goes a long way.

3. If you shake your booty, people will trust you, even with their valued appendage-extensions.

I am wondering how all of this will translate into a job interview situation. Thoughts?

Is there a song that implores you to shake your booty? Do people around you beg you to stop? Or do they ask you to demonstrate the latest dance moves?

38 thoughts on “Do You Want a Shake With That?

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Some of those songs would definitely get me shaking it–just not in public. 😉 But for me, a Michael Jackson song will get me dancing, even if the song isn’t really one my favorites of his.

    Square dancing, huh? Always good to have a little ammunition on you for later use…

    Congrats on first place in the run, by the way!

  2. Daryl says:

    “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer. Bring on the Full Monty.

  3. David Gentry says:


    OK, I can’t resist pointing out in the strongest terms that it was NOT years after middle school before boys wanted to hold your hand. Trust me. I’m your father, remember? Sometimes parents do know what they are talking about.

    Love, Dad

  4. Bernie Brown says:

    Congratulations on your first place, Anne! For me, it has to be either Waterloo by ABBA or Hot Legs by Rod Stewart. Am I showing my age? Well, good music is ageless. 🙂

  5. Holly says:

    It must run in the family…I was a middle school square dancing champ, too! Queen of the uncool! I loved square dancing.

    Just heard “Groove Is in the Heart” a couple of hours ago and was jamming in my car! And for the record, you do give out the trustworthy vibe, dancing or not.

  6. E says:

    I now know how my kids feel when I start dancing in public places! You were definitely in dance mode. That is why you won your age group. You were all warmed up! Not only did I not win A THING, not even Jump Zone tickets, but no one asked ME to take their pic! Felt like I was running with a rock star! 🙂 I’m very lucky that I have you as my running partner!

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! I’m Warrior Princess No. 2, my friend. ; )

      Didn’t mean to get all uncool mom on you. Just had to shake it.

      I’m very lucky to have you to make me get out of bed and hit the mean streets!

  7. Amy Mak says:

    I love that when I come here I always learn something new about you 🙂 It’s good to take lessons from all these experiences…I keep thinking I need to do a post entitled “The Long Run is Your Life.” Good work on the manuscript! And yes, I want a shake with that.

  8. jmmcdowell says:

    There’ a host of ’80s songs that would do it for me—in the privacy of my own home. 🙂 Hubs isn’t a dancer, so I don’t do much of it these days. Which is not necessarily a bad thing for those around me, since I’m not particularly good at it. 🙂

    But even without shakin’ it, people often ask us to take their photos. We must look really approachable. 🙂

  9. Anne, you’re such a striking and beautiful woman, and yet you often seem to say negative things about your appearance, albeit in a retrospective way – are you more comfortable with yourself now? You should be!

    Dancing was always my thing, mostly ballet, which was never particularly cool, but I loved it! My partner is never keen on dancing. He went to boarding school and the boys there were allowed to choose between boxing or Scottish country dancing for an extra-curricular activity, his parents made him choose the Scottish country dancing and he’s been bitter about that ever since!

    • annewoodman says:

      Vanessa, I think middle school was the rock bottom for most of us, looks-wise. And that’s OK. We all came out of it. No worries.

      Wow–sounds like torture to make an English lad do Scottish country dancing! But many of the men I know who didn’t have to do that still don’t dance as adults. ; )

  10. David Gentry says:

    Guess you get the public dancing thing from me! I have been known to embarrass my kids when disco music comes on, right? Toot, toot, yeaaah, beep, beep!! (Again, Donna Summer, D.)


    • annewoodman says:

      Nope, you never embarrassed me! (I guess I was usually dancing right along with you.) Donna Summer is who I remember you played back when you were driving me to daycare. That and “Upside Down, boy, you turn me, Inside Out and Round and Round…”

  11. Melissa says:

    It’s not the butt shaking, it’s the willingness to be silly/fun and not worry about what others think. It shows confidence…that’s how it translates to job interviews…just be confident! The dancing doesn’t bother the boys. Singing on the other hand is a major faux pas….since I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Seriously, animals cry. And I still insist on doing it.

  12. I love your post and congrats! My dancing is horrible…even my dance teacher quit….but I don’t care….if I hear the beat….an attempt must be made! lol! and there’s always some song going in my head. (it no longer embarrasses my sons….just their brides 🙂 ) paula

  13. 4amWriter says:

    Sometimes I’ll dance in public–but I am super self-conscious, so I’ll dance if others are dancing, or if I’m standing with a friend and I want to embarrass her. If it’s just me, alone, all by my lonesome. Ah, no.

    80s tunes are really great for making one forget about oneself in public. This could be good or dangerous, depending on the circumstances.

    • annewoodman says:

      Probably dangerous, but in a good way. ; ) I never claim to be a good dancer, but even bad dancers moving around make me smile, so I figure if I make someone laugh, my work is done.

  14. thepoelog says:

    I am very much a public dancer. I dance in the car (anything by Rihanna will start some seat shaking), I dance in the store (they play some righteous 80s jams at Giant), I dance at Home Depot, I dance in booths at restaurants. All of this to XFE’s absolute horror. I also insist on singing along loudly. Good job on your run. All that dancing really pays off.

    • annewoodman says:

      I think we’d get along famously, then. (Either that, or be a particularly annoying duo.) It’s very hard for me to tune out music in stores, so I end up dancing up and down the aisles. When it’s bad music, life is difficult. ; )

  15. Jay Helms says:

    The Irish group, “The Chieftains,” had an album titled “Water from the Well,” which came out in 1999. They did a live recording for the album. The song is listed on the album as “Live From Matt Malloy’s Pub”. The song sound like it could have been from any year in the last 500 years. Our family dances to this song and we dance to a song called “Birth of Love” by TobyMac as the very first thing we do on Christmas morning…our thinking is, if there is ever a day in all the world that should cause us to dance, it is in celebration of the day our great hope, Jesus, came to earth to lead the way home…

    • annewoodman says:

      I just listened to The Chieftains… very happy music! When we were in New Orleans one time, we went to an Irish pub, and the singer there was so engaging, we didn’t want to leave.

  16. haha that Heavy D song is awesome! Hmm…there are so many songs to shake it to so that’s a tricky question. My favorite song right now to dance to is “Scream” by Usher. I love dancing and singing to the top of my lunges during the chorus. 🙂

  17. So when can we expect to see a vlog of you “workin’ it”?

    For me, “Mean Woman Blues” by Roy Orbison gets me moving every time.

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