IF PEOPLE WHO DANCE in public are seen as narcissistic assholes or mentally challenged freaks, then I'm a narcissistic asshole or a mentally challenged freak. I dance in my bedroom, I dance in line at the grocery store, and I even dance at rock shows.

So there I am at the Crocodile, not the city's most dance-unfriendly venue, but not Studio 54, either. Built to Spill is bustin' out the indie rock jams, and I can't control myself. It starts with those tingles at the back of the neck (if you've ever been moved by a really good song, you know what I'm talking about). My ass starts shaking, and before I know it, my entire body is in on the game. Judging by the looks of people around me, I can tell I've made a public spectacle of myself. Fabulous. Did I mention that I'm a narcissistic asshole or a mentally challenged freak?

Then I remember that I'm having a much better time than those people who never let their guard down. At all times, these sad folks are aware of the need to keep up appearances. They're too chicken to do more than passively nod to a live set by their supposed favorite band. And how do you think it makes those poor kids onstage feel? (Ask Quasi. They'll tell you.) I've seen more passion in the crowd waiting to renew their licenses at the DMV.

Then I find myself at a certain secret after-hours club. Nasir's really throwin' down the cuts. And yes, I'm dancing. Only this time, I'm not a narcissistic asshole or a mentally challenged freak. I feel great. For a few blissful moments, all is right in the world. No one even blinks as I'm flailing about, letting the music have its way with me. On the packed dance floor, I'm among peers.

I long for a day when dancing isn't seen as a social aberration, but as something to be applauded. Friends offer the excuse that they don't dance because they don't know how. Bullshit. You're scared. It's all about letting go. Believe me, you've got it in you.