In defense of The Electric Slide

May 3, 2012

By Pat Detmer

By the time you read this, I will have married my daughter.

Please do not call the Vice Squad! What I should say instead is that I will have been the officiant at her wedding. This will be my first gig, although The Sainted One has been in high demand ever since he married Newcastle Niece last year.

We can be sure of several things: Someone will cry, the bride and/or groom will get tongue-tied while repeating their vows, one of the groomsmen will have too much to drink, small children will prance and spin on the dance floor, and my two sisters and I will do The Electric Slide.


Some people hate The Electric Slide. I have a girlfriend who so detested it that she declared a ban at her reception, but it broke out anyway. (Note to wedding planners: If you don’t want attendees doing The Electric Slide, it might be a good idea to ask your disc jockey to refrain from playing the song “The Electric Slide.”)

There was no line dancing in my Illinois youth, although there was plenty of high-stepping at big oompah-pah family weddings where if you weren’t careful, you might be suffocated by the soft beer bellies of great uncles as they held tight during a polka turn. You could also end up dancing with a broom, but I don’t remember the criteria for being so chosen. I always assumed that this was a German custom, but everything that I’ve read about brooms and dancing at weddings defines it as either African-American or Cajun in tradition, making me wonder once again at the true nature of my heritage, something I’ve pondered before while gazing at childhood pictures of me that appear to have been lifted from a National Geographic article about the lost tribes of the Amazon.

Nothing can clear a dance floor faster than the three Detmer sisters claiming the center of it for The Electric Slide, and there’s not a family function (save funerals) where we haven’t done so. Innocent wedding attendees will scatter and take their respective corners as we — like the carefree children before us — will prance and spin and show everyone that we’ve got what it takes.

And then the day after, we’ll takes what we’ve got, which will be whatever pain-reliever is most handy.

You can reach the Right Reverend Pat Detmer at

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