I’ve gotten used to a lot of things here in North Carolina, but I still can’t help giggling when I hear people say they know how to “shag.” To the British and all who are familiar with them, the term “shag” means to have sex… a meaning that people here somehow manage to ignore.
Of course, the American Southeastern use of “shag” to refer to a type of swing dancing, which was made the official dance of South Carolina in 1984, predates the Austin Powers movies, so they can’t be expected to modify their traditions simply because of the appearance of a goofy movie or two.
Danced to beach music and said to have originated in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in the 1930’s, the shag is a dance that young people in the Southeast still enjoy doing. I have even heard an entire radio show dedicated to the music meant to accompany shagging (see? even there I cracked a smile) so that one can hear the DJ say things like, “You’re listening to Shagging at the Beach” or “And now, let’s hear some more music to shag to.”
It makes me feel like a five year old cackling over a fart. Or an eight year old going into hysterics because someone said, “Do it.”
Despite my highly unsophisticated reaction, I do have respect for Carolinians and their art form. But no teenage boy had better come to my house and announce that he and my daughter are going to go out to dinner and then shag. Other than that, I will try in the future to keep my giggling to a dull roar.