Who among us has not caught it in the arse at some point. Who among us has not carefully orchestrated a house party during the exact hours our parents were due to be out, only for them to return home early to find a hole burned through their garden table and a crust punk sat on the roof? Who among us has not downloaded a complex virus to the family computer while watching porn, vehemently denied it, and then sat innocuously in front their dad – who's turning increasingly purple – as BT reel off a very specific list of recently visited addresses to him over the phone? Who among us has not had their mum walk in on them having sex, asking to borrow their copy of Pirates of the Caribbean?
I'm not saying any of those things happened to me, but if they did they would have happened when I was a teenager living under the dual knackered thumbs of my parents, who really, desperately, just wanted me to grow up so they could go to the pub. Nothing similar has happened, so far, in adulthood. And yet it is the same dynamic we see before us here, in this video of a man preparing to grind on a dancer before getting slapped down by his wife:
We recognise this, don't we? Fear, excitement, fear again, and then an unidentified emotion somewhere between shame and the concept of "legend". We understand it deeply, for it has, one way or another, happened to us all many, many times. This is pubescent disobedience in action, a specific cycle of transgression and punishment that only happens to under-16s and resignedly married men who refer to their wives exclusively as "the Mrs".
In short: it is a subordinate getting a bollocking, which is the highest order of comedy next to pointing at things and saying "you", or someone dropping a pint glass. In the grand lineage of Wives Sorting Out Their Husbands, this is one of the greatest and most pure examples. It is the super-boss of the genre – just one level short of its final form, which is Barbara Windsor staring at you condescendingly in silence.
I can't explain from whence or where this video came, because British Baby Boomers have looked the same since the 80s, so realistically this could have happened on a cruise ship on Tuesday or in Merthyr in 1998. I don’t even know if they’re British, to be honest with you, but I’m going to assume they are because look at their jeans:
The only thing I can say with certainty is that the husband is full of joy and the wife has glittery eyeshadow on, which must mean they are on holiday. Some further points of enquiry, though:
WHAT IS HE DOING
Not, like, in a general sense. I wouldn’t ask that question of anybody. Do you know what you’re doing? Because I fucking don’t. What I mean is: his body. What is he doing with his body? He's plodding forward, left foot right foot, like he’s trying to balance a beach ball between his knees, but at the same time bobbing up and down and getting progressively lower? He is also, regrettably, thrusting, which I think he could pull off if he was also doing a "COME ON THEN" motion with his arms, like footballers do when they score, but he’s uncertain about the situation. "Do you… can you touch the— no, best not." So instead, he lets his arms dangle down by his sides, flapping back and forth like two trouser legs in the wind. This is a form of dad dancing that I have never seen before. It’s like watching a slowly deflating bouncy castle learn how to walk. You know how middle-aged Brits find sex really amusing because they're half-scared of it, and that’s why they all like watching Mrs Brown's Boys and making crass jokes about their boobs on Come Dine With Me? This is the dancing version of that.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING
This woman, the wife, is quite terrifying. I have great respect for it. Like many EastEnders heroines before her, she carries herself with the fortitude of someone who has sparked out more than one bouncer for asking her to drink up because the pub is closing. The fact that she merely smacks at him repeatedly with the full force of her entire palm, like he's a near-empty ketchup bottle, is actually an act of kindness. She clearly could have strangled him in seconds.
All things considered, would you really go in for a public striptease at a function you are attending with your wife – just assuming you can get away with a cheeky thrust or two while she’s popped to the toilet? Come on, pal. You know better than that. Remember all those times you joked to your mates about how you "can’t fart in the bath without her knowing about it", but also fearfully meant it? She knows your every move. She is inside your head, familiar with your hopes, dreams and thoughts about what you fancy for lunch more intimately than you could ever know. She figured out you lied about having meat for lunch so you'd be allowed to have it again for dinner from the smell of a fart. The temerity of you, to think you could pull this one off. Which leads me to:
HOW HORNY IS THIS MAN
On the scale of general horniness, most of us operate somewhere around "mildly" at all times. Occasionally, an irresponsible photo of Cate Blanchett in a power suit will elevate us to "moderately", and "severely" is reserved for very long dry patches or that video of Antoni from Queer Eye speaking French. What we are seeing here, I think, is a "moderately" of the teenage boy variety. It is stumbling upon an episode of Sex and the City on TV and getting aroused by an unexpected boob. It is seeing a photoshoot of Cheryl Cole in The Mirror and going "phwoar". It's not out of control horny, but allowing yourself to be drawn magnetically into the orbit of a dancer just because she's wearing a bra and some sort of sexy chicken pants is garden variety stuff, I'm afraid. A classic schoolboy error.
WHAT HAPPENED BEFOREHAND
Equally, nobody gets this fuming without a laundry list of grievances already weighing upon their last nerve. If Dad Rage is defined by yelling "shit, piss, BOLLOCKS" at a piece of technology that has wronged him, Mum Rage is defined by stalking around the house actively looking for things that are different to when she left the house, delivering a 14-minute lecture detailing exactly why it was wrong of your dad to use the scourer to wash the frying pan, and filing it away in a brain folder full of domestic micro-frustrations and forgotten anniversaries. What I'm saying is: this man is a man, and therefore a nightmare to live with. I'd wager he had it coming.
WHAT IS THE OTHER GUY DOING
There is a man dressed in "wedding casual" hovering near Man #1 and the dancer, whose relationship to the situation I do not understand. He is doing a strange, snaky sort of dance of his own, which suggests the two of them approached the dance floor together – but do they know each other? Are they friends? They’re not dressed like they’re from the same party of people, but he does make an effort to intervene when he spots Man #1’s wife hurtling through the crowd to duff him up. For a while, though, he just stands there pushing his hair back and… observing. What's that about?
WHAT ABOUT THE BIT WHERE SHE GRABS HIM BY THE SCRUFF OF HIS SHIRT LIKE HE’S A BIN BAG BEING TAKEN OUT FROM THE BIN IN THE HOUSE TO THE MAIN BIN OUTSIDE
Nothing much to add here. I just think it’s a nice touch.