Sunday, January 30, 2011

Got swagger?

So I've been taking a hip hop class. It's part of my 'Have some YOU fun this year' campaign. Get outside your comfort zone. Learn something new.

I'm 40ish, and there I am with a bunch of kids half my age. Thank goodness my 12 year old decided to join me-moral support! (she's the youngest).

I'm trying to do this thing-I like the moves, the energy, the beat that go with hip hop style. I listen to the words of some of the the tunes the instructor is playing and when I get home and watch the videos that accompany the music I realize what makes hip hop what it is.

In one word-swagger.

At least, that's what they talk about and act out in all the songs.

But what exactly is this swagger thing about? I wonder.

The word was first recorded in 1590, used by Puck in Shakespeare ("Midsummer Night's Dream," III.i.79):
What hempen homespuns have we swagg'ring here,
So near the cradle of the Fairy Queen?
What, a play toward! I'll be the auditor;
An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.

To walk or behave in an arrogant manner. To brag loudly. To force, influence etc, by blustering, arrogant gait, conduct, or manner.

How can a 40 something like me get swagger if I've never had it in the first place? I mean, I don't boast. I am not arrogant. I am not 'the one,' 'the best.' I don't think of myself as too-hot- to-handle.

But to do this dance right you have to put yourself in that mental state. And I just...don't.

My kid says to me, "Hold yourself like this," (sticks out her chest). "Stiffen your fingers, so. Jut out your chin, thus."

Why bother? I should just give up.

But something keeps me going back for more. Swagger compels me. I'm sensing that I've missed out on something here-something really important and somehow I think a dose of 'I'm the best' to my attitude would do me some good.

Something to do with a confidence boast-might rub off in other areas of my life. There really is something intriguing about people who are really good at something and know it and aren't afraid to show it. Okay loose the arrogance but bring on these (another angle that swagger entails and that I think I could go with):

Poised, sassiness that can't be touched. It may be in the walk or it may be in the talk, but there is no doubt it means you own the room and you have that natural charisma.
I could do with poised; and I'm getting the feeling that hip hop could help liberate my inner sassy.

Now look at this:
To move with confidence, sophistication and to be cool.
Swagger is to conduct your self in a way that would automatically earn respect

And finally, I fell on a site that gave a true definition of swagger that I can live with-ironically advertising mens suits.
1. How one presents himself to the world, the ability to handle a situation with a sense of calm and uncanny grace. The ability to maintain a healthy level of self-confidence without appearing arrogant.
2. The seeming effortlessness to a person's admired style, the way they walk, talk and dress.
3. The inability to be easily shaken by anyone or anything. -
 I like it.

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