Il est amusant de séjour à la… (OT)

Cidu Bill on Dec 16th 2011


For reasons unknown, the song YMCA, accompanied by a choreographed set of hand gestures, has become a staple of parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs and baseball games. In the United States, anyway.

So I got to wondering… does this go on in other countries as well?

Filed in Bill Bickel, YMCA | 25 responses so far

25 Responses to “Il est amusant de séjour à la… (OT)”

  1. James Pollock Dec 16th 2011 at 11:20 am 1

    This is a fairly old photo, I first saw it many, many years ago (so far back I can’t remember how long ago.)

  2. chemgal Dec 16th 2011 at 11:36 am 2

    It’s a staple in Canada, too. But my brother thinks it should be outlawed, so it’s not UNIVERSALLY popular.

  3. Pepe Dec 16th 2011 at 12:04 pm 3

    In Spain, the song is very well known, the choreography was, but I do not think a lot of the younger people (younger than 40, I mean) know it now.

  4. AMC Dec 16th 2011 at 12:05 pm 4

    There are similar pictures, of questionable taste, for the O-H-I-O associated with Ohio State University:

  5. Paperboy Dec 16th 2011 at 12:21 pm 5

    “Y.M.C.A.” is so yesterday; all the cool people Tebow now.

  6. Keera Dec 16th 2011 at 12:31 pm 6

    Back when it was in vogue, we did the YMCA in Norway, too (and before that the Macarena, and before that the birdie dance). Most people with (sober) brains know when a fad is passé. However, such things are never passé for charter tourists in the lands of cheap booze, hot sun and crazy nights (i.e. the Mediterranean).

  7. CIDU Bill Dec 16th 2011 at 02:23 pm 7

    Probably not at bar mitzvahs, Paperboy.

  8. CIDU Bill Dec 16th 2011 at 02:26 pm 8

    At least as old as 2007, James, the first time I posted it on CIDU; but of course this is irrelevant to today’s question.

  9. Elyrest Dec 16th 2011 at 02:56 pm 9

    The Village People and YMCA were never really in although they did have a brief period of popularity in the late 1970’s. They, oddly enough, have become a weird staple that crops up in the oddest places. I sometimes attend minor league baseball games and YMCA is always played with the team mascot leading the song. Everyone seems to know the choreography - especially the kids.

  10. James Pollock Dec 16th 2011 at 04:01 pm 10

    It’s a popular karaoke favorite. (It came on the sample disc of the machine my daughter had (thanks, grandma).)

  11. Dr. Shrinker Dec 16th 2011 at 04:12 pm 11

    I wonder how many people cheerfully dancing along realize the song is about making gay hookups at the Y?

  12. Paperboy Dec 16th 2011 at 04:44 pm 12

    CIDU Bill#7- Tony Clifton says:”Sure they can! They just say they saw a dime on the floor!…what?…Whasamatter??…oh jeez…”

  13. Mark in Boston Dec 16th 2011 at 05:54 pm 13

    I think the song is about a kid who came out to his parents and is no longer welcome at home and has to stay at the Y for a while, where he meets men with similar stories. “Young man, I was once in your shoes.”

  14. CIDU Bill Dec 16th 2011 at 06:18 pm 14

    I hadn’t realized how pervasive this was until a few years ago at my nephew’s bar mitzvah when I saw two of my aunts — well into their 80s, one of them legally blind — doing the “YMCA dance” flawlessly.

  15. George P Dec 17th 2011 at 12:22 am 15

    I much prefer the chicken dance, although I may do the YMCA thing is the situation warrants. The macarena I will not do except under extraordinary circumstances.

  16. mitch4 Dec 17th 2011 at 03:02 am 16

    Some summers in my childhood I was sent to “day camp” run by our local YMHA. The -H- is for Hebrew and of course is meant to both parallel and contrast with the -C- of YMCA. (And we did call it “The Y”.)

    I’m sure “The Y” is considerably secularised by now, but may well hold onto some religious-based traditions. … Sorry, I got distracted by reading the Wikipedia entry. Anyway, at least up thru the 60s my family, even as fairly secular Jews, still felt that the YMCA would be the wrong Y.

  17. chuckers Dec 17th 2011 at 05:05 am 17

    Back to the original question, it goes on at some baseball games in Japan.

  18. Soup Dragon Dec 17th 2011 at 07:00 am 18

    I just asked my daughter (11): The YMCA song and dance is well known with all in her class, here in Norway.

  19. DemetriosX Dec 17th 2011 at 07:19 am 19

    It’s still known and done in Germany. There’s a sort of party culture that latches onto things like this and trots them out once everyone is starting to get drunk. It’s connected with the drunken revels that go on in Mallorca in the areas dominated by German tourists.

    @11 and @13, it’s really obvious now that almost all of the Village People’s songs have huge gay subtexts, but back when they were a hit nobody got it. I’ve heard from gay acquaintances that the gay community thought it was hilarious that all these straight people were dancing to and bellowing out gay themes on the dance floor. Sometimes we forget how different it was 25 years ago.

  20. Derek Dec 17th 2011 at 09:52 am 20

    Yes, it generally gets an airing at weddings and such in Ireland. We don’t have many baseball games or Bar Mitzvahs (or at least I don’t get invited to any).

  21. Boise Ed Dec 17th 2011 at 12:55 pm 21

    Paperboy: I know I’m going to regret asking this, but how does a person “Tebow”?

  22. AMC Dec 17th 2011 at 02:18 pm 22

  23. Morris Keesan Dec 18th 2011 at 09:59 pm 23

    I think this picture, which I have saved on my disk, probably from the last time Bill posted it, is the only time I’ve ever seen people doing this. I’m pretty sure that I’ve never seen it as choreography. I’ve certainly never seen it done at a wedding or a bar mitzvah.

    I did once see the Macarena being done by a very dignified elderly female Japanese tea master, along with lots of Japanese college students and assorted visiting gaijin, following a tea ceremony at our local Japanese women’s college (overseas campus, of course).

  24. Meryl A Feb 22nd 2017 at 03:28 am 24

    Most of the YMHA/YWHA’s are now called JCCs - Jewish Community Centers. My sister, both her and husband are Jewish, has both JCC and YM/HCA near her - and her kids learned to swim at the later.

  25. James Pollock Feb 22nd 2017 at 12:44 pm 25

    “it’s really obvious now that almost all of the Village People’s songs have huge gay subtexts, but back when they were a hit nobody got it.”

    I’m sure there was nor shortage of people who didn’t “get it”, but… yeah, some of us did. (And, no, smarty, I’m plenty straight.)

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