Belly Dancing and OCD

two belly dancers

I have a thing for bellies, and I make no secret of that. Maybe it’s not a full-grown fetish, but it’s notably influential. I love my wife’s belly button and even train my young children (I’m not above using bribery) to expose it from time to time, much to her chagrin. And the kids love it, naturally — who doesn’t like belly buttons?!

It may come as a surprise, then, that the art of traditional belly dancing doesn’t “do it” for me. Sure, it’s a skillful art form that exemplifies what might be my favorite part of the female body, even drawing attention secondarily to the hips, which might be my second favorite part. And sure, the attire often exposes a lot of skin and has all the interesting cultural depth of any ethnically rooted artistry. And sure, it’s a dance, which is inherently entertaining, even without all the rest of those trimmings. However much it sounds perfect on paper, my experiences with it have been anything but arousing.

Don’t get me wrong. I can thoroughly enjoy it as an art form, like I could a painting or a great piece of music. My wife enjoys watching it and for a cultural diversity geek like me, it can be fascinating. And I could certainly enjoy my wife doing a performance if she were ever so inclined. But that would be stimulating because of who it is more than what’s going on.

And I certainly believe plus-sized women can look beautiful and skillful while doing it. I hardly think a tiny, flat stomach is a prerequisite for being a great belly dancer. Case in point:

So what’s my beef?

Well, I am by no means well-versed in the field, but my experience has been that the typical belly dance is — well… so freaking asymmetrical.

For people like me with tendencies that smell of obsessive compulsive disorder, that’s problematic. I’m far from diagnosable, and I don’t mean to diminish those with clinical issues, but I really do get eccentric about symmetry. Noon and six o’clock are the best times of the day because they invariably produce symmetrical clock faces. If my wife pinches my left butt cheek, I’m apt to ask for an equal pinch on the right to even things out (and God forbid the second pinch is noticeably different from the first, because then I need two additional pinches, and it rapidly becomes tiring for both of us). Digital volume settings nearly always must be on an even number (fives are the sole exception) so the value can divide into two symmetrical parts.

I’m not diagnosable, but I am quirky. I can even turn it off if I must, but my need for symmetry is still a surprisingly pervasive tendency. And it’s hardly compatible with the often one-sided hip movements and gyrations found in belly dancing. Which can be very distracting.

My need for symmetry is still a surprisingly pervasive tendency. And it’s hardly compatible with the often one-sided hip movements and gyrations found in belly dancing.

The end result? A scantily clad woman doing a dance that tweaks my annoyance more than it peaks my desire, resulting in a relatively neutral thing for me. Which kinda works, I guess. I can culturally geek out, enjoying the music and attire while appreciating the art for the art, rather than for the pleasure it promotes. In other words, it’s just irksome enough to make it not sensual at all.

If my wife were to delve in belly first, as it were, I’d still enjoy the show sensually because our marital intimacy tips the balance in that direction, but it would be far more of an intellectual/sexual hybrid situation rather than a strictly sexual one. Like, say, hula, which has the skimpy bellies, the moving hips, and — God bless it — symmetry. Now that would be something to watch.

About Phil (244 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.