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  #1  
Old 11-18-2010, 06:21 PM
Pierrot Le Fou Pierrot Le Fou is offline
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Did Ginger Rogers really do everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels?

"Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels."

I am not a dance expert, but the saying does not appear to be true to me. Maybe some dance experts can chime in.

Looking at famous saying in parts:

Quote:
did everything Fred Astaire did
I do not think this part in true. Fred Astaire did many dance moves that Ginger Rogers never did. He was a better dancer. (She was a better actor.)

Quote:
backwards
Why is left forward and right backwards? As to moving towards each other, they seems towards each other at a pretty even rate.

Quote:
in high heels
A Google image search does not show Ginger Rogers wearing high heels. Even when she wears heels, they do appear to be high heels:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...w=1116&bih=480

Any truth to this saying?
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  #2  
Old 11-18-2010, 06:22 PM
Pierrot Le Fou Pierrot Le Fou is offline
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Is there a way to move this to Cafe Society?
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:29 PM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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Yeah a mod can move it. I reported the post so they'll see it faster.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:30 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Done.
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  #5  
Old 11-18-2010, 07:08 PM
MovieMogul MovieMogul is offline
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It was just a pro-feminist saying, not to be taken literally.

She didn't choreograph either (and in her movies w/Fred, they usually gave her all the worst songs, too)
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  #6  
Old 11-18-2010, 07:40 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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Fred also danced with Cyd Charisse and Eleanor Powell, both of whom were as good at dancing as Fred, which Ginger was not.
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:44 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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It hyperbole. One telling point was that Astaire danced with many other partners in films, including those who made a name for themselves as dancers before dancing with him (e.g., Powell, Charisse, Vera Ellen, etc.). And Fred was leading Ginger and guiding her way.

Ginger was a better than average dancer, but probably the best actress Fred danced with (well, perhaps with Judy Garland).
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:05 PM
j666 j666 is offline
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Those heels may not have been six inch spikes, but they were high enough to put more pressure on the front of the foot and to compromise balance.

"Backwards" does not refer to right and left; in basic 'ballroom' dancing, the man steps forward and the woman, backwards.

Most people believe Rogers was not of the same caliber as Astaire, but then, few were.
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:09 PM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierrot Le Fou View Post
He was a better dancer. (She was a better actor.)
Slightly off topic, but I gotta disagree with this part. My memory says that she was a generic actress at best, while he was - if not a great actor - at least a charming and comfortable one.
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:04 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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And of course, sometimes he danced without any partner at all.
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  #11  
Old 11-18-2010, 09:35 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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It's not meant to be literal. It's meant to highlight the fact that the achievements of women aren't always recognized as such if the women are in a traditional female role.

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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Linked to that--Gene Kelly tap dancing on roller skates.

Last edited by twickster; 11-18-2010 at 10:01 PM.. Reason: fixed coding
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  #12  
Old 11-18-2010, 09:45 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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OK, First I have to ask why people think that sayings (or adages or slogans or whatever) have to be absolutely literally true or accurate for each and every possible case. That's a general question, because we get a lot of threads like this.

If you abandon the need for a saying to be absolutely literally true or accurate for each and every possible case, then how do you not get what the intent is? That's also a general question, because it seems to be true for a lot of these threads.

Grumble.

Anyway, the obvious meaning and intent is that many things that are taken for granted about women are in fact difficult, restrictive, and not required for men. Men did not - and do not - have to wear high heels.

First Google Image hit for Ginger Rogers dancing

Whenever men wear high heels, to dress in drag, e.g., they loudly complain about how difficult it is to even move in them, let alone dance in them. (Men never have to run in high heels. Joanna Lumley used to run at top speed in four-inch heels for The New Avengers and it is probably the most awesome physical feat that never gets mentioned.) Men also don't have to wear girdles, or corsets, or spanks. Men don't have to spend hours on hair and makeup. Men don't have to shave or wax their entire bodies. Men don't have to never age over 30.

Men, in short, get a wildly disproportionate percentage of the credit a wildly disproportionate percentage of the time, even when women are doing an equal share or performing more difficult acts. Please don't try to dispute this. Western culture has this as a core principle and has since forever, and it has not changed except for the barest amount to this day.

That's why.
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  #13  
Old 11-18-2010, 10:30 PM
Pierrot Le Fou Pierrot Le Fou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j66 View Post
in basic 'ballroom' dancing, the man steps forward and the woman, backwards.
Do Rogers and Astaire do a lot of basic ballroom dancing? She sees stepping forward about the same as him.
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  #14  
Old 11-18-2010, 11:19 PM
appleciders appleciders is offline
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Originally Posted by Pierrot Le Fou View Post
Do Rogers and Astaire do a lot of basic ballroom dancing? She sees stepping forward about the same as him.
In most ballroom dances, the dance begins with the man stepping forward and the woman stepping backward. Later in the dance, usually, they'll reverse it.

She probably averages slightly more backwards that he does; that's the way things break down in ballroom, because sometimes the man steps forward, then executes a turn or other trick, so she never gets to catch up. But she certainly has many forward steps, too. It's also difficult to tell what's going on, exactly, because the turns mask the forward-or-backward qualities of the steps; something that starts as a forward step may end as a sideways step. Very difficult to quantify.
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  #15  
Old 11-18-2010, 11:51 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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First, as to why people think these sayings have to be literally true or accurate. They don't. But what this particular saying is trying to put across is the idea that Ginger Rogers did the same thing as Astaire, and more, and with less effort, or something like that, which is false all the way along.

Ginger was a great dancer, a good actress, a better singer than Fred IMO, and yet, she did not (a) do everything he did (b) backwards or even (c) in high heels. She was in high heels part of the time. Ballroom dancing being what it is, she was backwards about as much of the time as he was. In Rogers/Astaire movies, he always did an extra couple of dances, and they were pretty flash. So this saying fails in every premise.

The intent here was to say "women are equal," or something like that. There are much better examples that actually work, if you need to say it. Try Eleanor Powell instead of Ginger Rogers, take out the backwards part, and mention that she taught a dog to dance in one of her movies.
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:00 AM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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Also, dancing in high heels is no big deal, as you're on the balls of your feet anyway, most of the time, or else you're doing it wrong. All those ladies probably did ballet at one point, and compared to pointe shoes, heels are much, much easier.
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  #17  
Old 11-19-2010, 12:28 AM
Koxinga Koxinga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Bean View Post
It's not meant to be literal. It's meant to highlight the fact that the achievements of women aren't always recognized as such if the women are in a traditional female role.
Next item of discussion: Are there really no potential uses a fish might have for a bicycle?
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  #18  
Old 11-19-2010, 02:08 AM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Western culture has this as a core principle and has since forever, and it has not changed except for the barest amount to this day.
I pretty much agree except for the idea that this is a special problem of Western culture. The problems you outlined are at least as prevalent in Asia and Africa.
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  #19  
Old 11-19-2010, 02:09 AM
Sam A. Robrin Sam A. Robrin is offline
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It was another of those "Grrrl POW!-er" slogans that no male dared challenge if he ever wanted to "get any." It has as much truth as the "rule of thumb" canard or the Super Bowl Sunday / domestic violence connection.
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  #20  
Old 11-19-2010, 07:34 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodgers01 View Post
Slightly off topic, but I gotta disagree with this part. My memory says that she was a generic actress at best, while he was - if not a great actor - at least a charming and comfortable one.
Well, as most commentators say, her reactions and responses to him made Fred seem sexy, which is great acting (Astaire is hardly conventionally handsome).

While it's not an infallible guide (Luise Rainer won two), it's interesting that Rogers won an Oscar for acting at the peak of her career. Astaire never won one (though he got an honorary one).
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:09 AM
Aeris Aeris is offline
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I believe that tapping in the more lyrical form is easier to do in heels. If we're talking about more modern tapping like the kind that Gregory Hinds did (which I realize we're not) then heels are a hinderance.

Anyway all I wanted to actually say is...heels don't have to be high to hurt.
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:10 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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Also: I always have heard this statement ". . . backwards and in heels," not "in high heels." Maybe not a big difference.

And I like Rogers as an actress. I think she had excellent comic timing. Catch The Major and the Minor sometime.
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  #23  
Old 11-19-2010, 10:15 AM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigmagirl View Post
Also: I always have heard this statement ". . . backwards and in heels," not "in high heels." Maybe not a big difference.
"Heels" always means "high heels" when used in this type of context.
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  #24  
Old 11-19-2010, 11:47 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appleciders View Post
In most ballroom dances, the dance begins with the man stepping forward and the woman stepping backward. Later in the dance, usually, they'll reverse it.

She probably averages slightly more backwards that he does; that's the way things break down in ballroom, because sometimes the man steps forward, then executes a turn or other trick, so she never gets to catch up. But she certainly has many forward steps, too. It's also difficult to tell what's going on, exactly, because the turns mask the forward-or-backward qualities of the steps; something that starts as a forward step may end as a sideways step. Very difficult to quantify.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
First, as to why people think these sayings have to be literally true or accurate. They don't. But what this particular saying is trying to put across is the idea that Ginger Rogers did the same thing as Astaire, and more, and with less effort, or something like that, which is false all the way along.

Ginger was a great dancer, a good actress, a better singer than Fred IMO, and yet, she did not (a) do everything he did (b) backwards or even (c) in high heels. She was in high heels part of the time. Ballroom dancing being what it is, she was backwards about as much of the time as he was. In Rogers/Astaire movies, he always did an extra couple of dances, and they were pretty flash. So this saying fails in every premise.

The intent here was to say "women are equal," or something like that. There are much better examples that actually work, if you need to say it. Try Eleanor Powell instead of Ginger Rogers, take out the backwards part, and mention that she taught a dog to dance in one of her movies.
You and the others who are arguing this keep getting hung up in the literalness of the words rather than looking at intent and meaning.

Dance is more than saying "women are equal." It is - ironically - a literal example of men leading and women following. Note what that means. The man, the leader, selects the motion, the direction, the speed, the force, all the aspects that go into a dance step. The women has to respond to these, instantly, perfectly, gracefully, and seemingly effortlessly. Rehearsal helps but there will inevitably in human actions be subtle differences from time to time and take to take. Yet the woman must keep up even when though she has no control over the variations. And yes, she has to do so in heels. Heels force the body forward. It is an extra level of difficulty to do anything backward in heels. Your heels are on the floor for part of the dance, and they shift the central point of gravity forward so that's another area you must compensate for at every moment.

That's what backward and in high heels means. Not that is is merely equal: that it is literally and physically more difficult to approach a seeming equality, and that we consider them equal is actually a slight to the partner who has to do invisible and unappreciated feats to get to equal. And that makes it a metaphor for the way all females were regarded, and still largely are regarded.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman View Post
I pretty much agree except for the idea that this is a special problem of Western culture. The problems you outlined are at least as prevalent in Asia and Africa.
I'm sure they are. But you know that if I had just made a blanket statement, some of the hyperliteral crowd would try to pull out some counterexample of some time and place. I know as much about Asia and Africa as the next guy, but I've studied Western culture. I was confident that I could easily take apart any claim about Western culture, so I limited and qualified that sentence.
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  #25  
Old 11-19-2010, 10:09 PM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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Originally Posted by Green Bean View Post
It's not meant to be literal. It's meant to highlight the fact that the achievements of women aren't always recognized as such if the women are in a traditional female role.)
Which, in this case, appears to rely on a distortion of facts about said achievements - ironic really.
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  #26  
Old 11-20-2010, 12:46 AM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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Originally Posted by Aeris View Post
I believe that tapping in the more lyrical form is easier to do in heels. If we're talking about more modern tapping like the kind that Gregory Hinds did (which I realize we're not) then heels are a hinderance.

Anyway all I wanted to actually say is...heels don't have to be high to hurt.
I've done it in 2-1/2 inch heels, 3-inch heels, and lace-up oxfords. One is not harder or more of a hindrance, but there are differences. I had to adjust the way I did pickups and pullbacks when I switched to the oxfords, for instance--I found them easier in heels, but once I adjusted, no problem.
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  #27  
Old 11-20-2010, 12:54 AM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
You and the others who are arguing this keep getting hung up in the literalness of the words rather than looking at intent and meaning.
...
That's what backward and in high heels means. Not that is is merely equal: that it is literally and physically more difficult to approach a seeming equality, and that we consider them equal is actually a slight to the partner who has to do invisible and unappreciated feats to get to equal. And that makes it a metaphor for the way all females were regarded, and still largely are regarded.
Okay...the intent and meaning is something like the old saw that in order to compete with men in the workplace, women have to be twice as good and work twice as hard, but fortunately, this is not difficult. (Old saw also wrong.)

But it is NOT literally and physically more difficult to dance that way, and Ginger didn't do everything Fred did anyway. In the dances she did with him, she did keep up with him, which is no mean feat. But he almost always did a few extra things.

So, if you're going to look at the relative equality, it probably would be more helpful to start from something that can't be refuted on all levels right off the bat.

(Also consider the source of the quote: A cartoon character. Not even one of the brightest cartoon characters.)
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  #28  
Old 11-20-2010, 08:41 AM
twickster twickster is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
I've done it in 2-1/2 inch heels, 3-inch heels, and lace-up oxfords. One is not harder or more of a hindrance, but there are differences. I had to adjust the way I did pickups and pullbacks when I switched to the oxfords, for instance--I found them easier in heels, but once I adjusted, no problem.
Really? I can't imagine trying to tap in heels, but I never wear heels IRL, so just walking in them always feels a little precarious to me. Any tap move where you're starting with your weight forward and have to move your toes up/down for the sound before coming back, like pullbacks ... yikes, that seems like it would be harder, not easier, in heels.
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  #29  
Old 11-20-2010, 09:16 AM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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Such was the level of talent that F.A. had I'll bet if called on to do so he could have danced backwards in high heels and been BETTER then his partners.
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  #30  
Old 11-20-2010, 10:47 AM
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Well looking at some of those dancers on Youtube, somehow I doubt even FA could have outdone Eleanor Powell, and some of the movements, the high kicks and points would not have been in his mainstream repertoire.

I've just got to say though, thanks for all those who named those dancers, scintillating stuff, incredible balance and timing.
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  #31  
Old 11-20-2010, 11:01 AM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post

(Also consider the source of the quote: A cartoon character. Not even one of the brightest cartoon characters.)
Faith Whittlesey is a cartoon character?
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  #32  
Old 11-20-2010, 12:03 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
Okay...the intent and meaning is something like the old saw that in order to compete with men in the workplace, women have to be twice as good and work twice as hard, but fortunately, this is not difficult. (Old saw also wrong.)
I don't know how old you are, but I'm old enough to remember that under any but the most ridiculous hyperliteral meaning (exactly twice?) how true this used to be.

Why was this true? Because lots and lots of mediocre or worse men could easily find jobs but only the exceptional woman could break through. Compared to the average idiot who could get work simply because he was a man, the average woman in that occupation was far superior. She may have been no more than equal to the most superior man but that's not the point. Just to overcome the barriers put before women, she had to be exceptional when most men didn't.
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  #33  
Old 11-20-2010, 12:16 PM
pepperlandgirl pepperlandgirl is offline
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
Faith Whittlesey is a cartoon character?
Sure, you never watched the old Faith Whittlesey and Bullwinkle and Friends Cartoon Hour? Man, those were some great Saturday mornings.
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  #34  
Old 11-20-2010, 04:20 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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Originally Posted by casdave View Post
Well looking at some of those dancers on Youtube, somehow I doubt even FA could have outdone Eleanor Powell, and some of the movements, the high kicks and points would not have been in his mainstream repertoire.

I've just got to say though, thanks for all those who named those dancers, scintillating stuff, incredible balance and timing.
Check out Vera-Ellen.
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  #35  
Old 11-20-2010, 04:27 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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Faith Whittlesey is a cartoon character?
It came from a Frank & Ernest cartoon.
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  #36  
Old 11-20-2010, 04:44 PM
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Ginger Rogers never put out oil well fires in a dress and heels. Oh, wait. Yeah, that was Red Adair. I always get those two confused.
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  #37  
Old 11-20-2010, 04:53 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is online now
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Wow. I'd never heard of that till today. I googled and thought Faith Whittlesey was a real person.
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  #38  
Old 11-20-2010, 05:17 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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Wow. I'd never heard of that till today. I googled and thought Faith Whittlesey was a real person.
She may be a real person, but the line about Ginger Rogers came from a Frank & Ernest cartoon.
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  #39  
Old 11-20-2010, 05:18 PM
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Holy shit.

Last edited by jjimm; 11-20-2010 at 05:18 PM..
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  #40  
Old 11-20-2010, 05:18 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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How Internet rumors get started...

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Ginger Rogers never put out oil well fires in a dress and heels. Oh, wait. Yeah, that was Red Adair. I always get those two confused.
Red Adair was a cross dresser? I never heard that before!
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  #41  
Old 11-20-2010, 05:31 PM
twickster twickster is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjimm View Post
Holy shit.
Except, of course, Astaire did it first. With Rogers.
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:35 PM
Archergal Archergal is offline
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Thank you. That made my night.
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  #43  
Old 11-21-2010, 08:23 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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Here's Gene with Jerry.
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:55 PM
Strassia Strassia is offline
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
You and the others who are arguing this keep getting hung up in the literalness of the words rather than looking at intent and meaning.

Dance is more than saying "women are equal." It is - ironically - a literal example of men leading and women following. Note what that means. The man, the leader, selects the motion, the direction, the speed, the force, all the aspects that go into a dance step. The women has to respond to these, instantly, perfectly, gracefully, and seemingly effortlessly. Rehearsal helps but there will inevitably in human actions be subtle differences from time to time and take to take. Yet the woman must keep up even when though she has no control over the variations.
As a casual dancers who has been in many dance classes, this is bull. A good lead can take someone who barely knows the basics and spin them around the floor all night. You can't reverse that. There are many complex routines and patterns that require the two to move in sync without touching but that isn't the same. I used to get very frustrated with my wife because she expected me to remember all the routines and moves we learned in class even if we hadn't practiced in months. When I pressed her, she admitted she couldn't remember either, she just knew how to follow. Before we met she would go to salsa clubs and the better dancers would have her doing maneuvers she never knew without even thinking about it.

I am not trying to imply that women can't be great dancers, just point out that leading is not easier than following.
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  #45  
Old 11-22-2010, 10:39 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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Originally Posted by twickster View Post
Except, of course, Astaire did it first. With Rogers.
But Gene did it better.

It's really amazing what a beautiful skater Gene is.

Though I have to give Fred and Ginger props for the face-plant at the end.
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  #46  
Old 11-24-2010, 03:44 PM
Gala Matrix Fire Gala Matrix Fire is offline
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Bless you, Exapno. I admire your patience.
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