Dancing Boots by Charlie O'Shields

Get ready to grab a partner and do-si-do for Square Dancing Day! English, Irish, and Scottish settlers brought square dancing to the United States. Our contribution was adding a caller to tell people exactly what to do and when because apparently this new land also caused memory loss. It’s not something you’ll find in any of the hot dance clubs, as any sustained popularity is entirely due to senior citizens.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to doodlewash for this day, so I opted for a pair of boots. These were called dancer boots for some reason, so I figured they would work. The were actually trucker dancer boots, because I didn’t have time to search thoroughly for references. On the sole of each boot is a silhouette of a naked woman like one might find on mud flaps, but the description assured me these are definitely meant for dancing. I used only Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue for this one over a base of Quinacridone Gold, positioning them upright to hide the artful, yet thoroughly tacky motif lurking underneath.

There was a time, years ago, when I actually tried something close to square dancing. It was in my early teens and I was part of a group called the Missouri Town Dancers, which actually performed contra-dancing, the great grandparent of square dancing. I don’t remember a single thing I learned and honestly think I was just in it for the hot apple cider they served at the end. That stuff was amazing! I know it wasn’t to meet girls as I didn’t suffer from that predilection, and most of the girls were over six times my age.

Later, while I was in college, I worked as an assistant to a real estate agent who wanted to learn ballroom dancing. She couldn’t get her husband to join her and asked if I would be her partner for the classes. I, of course, said yes as it was better than filing papers. The fact that I was getting paid to be someone’s private dancer didn’t strike me as odd until much later. At the time, I was perfectly content fox trotting between art classes, which was actually quite fun, while hoping she never asked me to join her in public.

There’s something to be said for knowing exactly what the steps are when it comes to dancing. As I got older and people wanted to “go out dancing” I was terrified as I’ve never been good at the free form stuff. In my defense, very few white men are and, like me, end up looking like a drunk yeti consumed with involuntary muscle spasms. Add the prospect of a crowd of people and I’d rather stay home, safe from yetis, with a civilized glass of wine.

I think i would have liked dancing back in the days when people did it as a way to come together as a community. This seems more attractive to me than the wild mating dances found in clubs today. Just people of all ages joining hands, smiling, and having fun. A friendly group of folks, waiting to hear the next move to be called while actually connecting with each other… one perfectly synchronized step at a time.

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

40 replies on “Square Dancing Day

  1. I would love to buy a pair of red cowgirl boots. ❤️ I’m not exactly sure why but they look like fun. Lol! I briefly took square dance lesson when I was a teen but I was taller than all the boys so I didn’t stick with it. 😉 My husband and I took several years of ballroom dancing about 10 years ago. It was quite fun and good exercise. But for some reason or another, we did not keep it up. Now our poor memories would not help us much. Enjoyed your post today, Charlie! Your boots look FAB! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This: artful, yet thoroughly tacky motif — has to be THE best thing I’ve read on the internet today! 😀 And drunk Yeti…hahahaha! Love your doodlewash; love your story. But, damn, cowboy boots (I don’t care if you call them dancing boots) give me the creeps. Sorry to anyone who likes them…LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah…I was getting a little creeped out thinking about the person who would respond to the ad for these! Haha! 😳 But glad you liked the doodlewash anyway! Lol And thanks on the story! I never know what the heck to write for these some days so things just pop out. Super glad I made you smile! 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love those boots! They look quite characterful from this angle – awesome colours. I’ve always had a soft spot for cowboy boots, for some reason. I’ve a friend who owns a pair – bright pink, they are. *Definitely* dancing boots! 😉

    How I regret that Square Dance Day has passed here, and I’m now too late to celebrate. I’ll have to wait until next year, or hope that a Morris Dancing Day comes up soon! Indeed, I share your views on public dancing (at least since going teetotal). I feel so out of place on a dancefloor and get flustered trying to decide which type of seizure to mime next.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hehe! Thanks Jacob! 😃Hmmm…these posts reveal so much in everyone! Bright pink cowboy boots sound like they are ONLY made for dancing! 😉 lol I don’t think it’s too late if you still want to try a few steps at home just to let your square dance flag fly a bit. I tried a few steps I remembered just to see if I could do it and Phineas growled at me …most likely because he no longer recognized me and thought I was a deranged intruder. This is why you’ll never find me dancing in public. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow… there’s judgment for you! 😮 I’m sure it wasn’t that bad – Phineas is clearly an expert (another revelation), and thus, a harsh critic. He’d probably yodel for help if I started lumbering about before him!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate to admit it, but I lived in Texas most of my life and I don’t own a pair of boots! I always meant to but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on something I would rarely wear. But dancing, I love! And because I lived in Texas, I learned lots of line dancing. I’ve even tried some square dancing but it’s just not my thing. But if you were my partner.. Hehe..

    Your boots are so good! I love that you got a bit of green out of the gold and ultramarine.. It is my favorite color.. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe…thanks Kari! 💕😃 Green is my favorite color too! And what?! You were allowed to continue living in Texas without ever owning a pair of boots?! 😳 I thought they kicked you out for stuff like that! lol I’ve line danced as well, anything where I know what the steps are works for me! Philippe and I are actually heading to Texas on Friday to visit my family. Should be a fun time! (But doubt they’ll be dancing! Hehe)


  5. Your boots are super cool! The only square dancing I’ve done was back in high school-one semester a year the boys and girls gym class would learn them. The boys hated it, the girls loved it! Personally I wasn’t very good and I still can’t do any dances that have actual steps.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Emmylou Harris regularly dances in shows in her cowboy boots…so I think it was a good choice of motif.
    Back in the dark ages, when I was in elementary school, we had dancing in our gym classes…square dancing included. Don’t remember a bit of it. They also taught us to foxtrot! Now who does that these days? (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had a pair of gorgeous camel-tan carved cowboy boots once, but I never danced in them. I wore them when specifically visiting dusty/muddy farms, with my jeans tucked in the top of them, my leather and solid cowboy buckled belt, checked shirt (what else…!) and a leather hat made by my late brother, a leathergoods maker. I was slim then! Did I look ‘good’…not sure…lol, but I had fun wearing these items. As for square dancing, I did some of that in primary school years, and enjoyed very much. I think I’d like line dancing. Love those boots, Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Charlie, Love the boots. I lived in Kansas City for a couple of years and played Irish fiddle at dances. There was a place called the Foolkiller, but I imagine that has been defunct for 30+ years. It was a great time. The boots really fit!
    thanks for the post!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Love the boots. Square dancing is not just for old people and it’s not always traditional. I belong to a gay square dance club (open to all) and we’re all ages and we mix it up with the music and have fun. Gay square dance is popular across the country–it’s usually faster, has more variety, and no dress code. Here’s a promo video my club put out for some modern examples https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PZyqyNudHY

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh Charlie you never fail to make me smile 🙂 I went to my first barn dance last year and it was great fun (admittedly a great deal of alcohol had been consumed!). The best part was seeing my son and his teen friends giving it a go, very funny!

    Liked by 1 person

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