The other day when our twins’ kindergarten classmate came to visit, he wanted to do it “Gangnam Style.” And so we did.
“Oh, they play this at gym class!” my daughter, 6, exclaimed when “Eh—sexy lady” leaked from my MacBook’s meager speakers. In trying to download “Gangnam Style” from iTunes, I discovered my account had been shut down since my credit card had been stolen with my wallet on Christmas Eve. So, abandoning myself to the spirit of a K-pop playdate, I sought out a YouTube video instead—with the help of our pint-size friend.
“That’s the best one,” he instructed, steering me toward the official video in which Psy giddyups his way through a snowstorm in the arms of scantily clad ladies. He trots through a sauna, a tour bus and a yoga class, where more freaky chicks thrust their Daisy Dukes in his face. Psy has a dance-off with a lad in what appears to be a yellow-lacquered suit, and then a cowboy-hatted fellow does Elvis pelvis thrusts in an elevator, over the K-pop star’s head.
“Oh, this part is inappropriate,” our friend declared, as Psy sang, “Oppa is Gangnam style,” while sitting on a toilet. However, I wasn’t too worried. The kid had clearly seen this video before. Not only was he able to provide a rough translation—“big brother is Gangnam style” (which I took to mean a “sugar daddy”)—but our friend also sang along with many of the other lyrics, in Korean, while projecting himself with an alarming ferocity toward our ceiling fan. Our twins and 2-year-old were frenetically jumping up and down, too. The family room looked like a wedding dance floor when a DJ spins “Oh What a Night.”
In fact, “Gangnam Style” provided the best exercise we’ve had all winter. I even joined in, trying out the roping motion that Psy has sent viral. Our little friend’s father later aptly described this K-pop sensation as a cross between a gangster rapper and “Weird Al” Yankovic and offered some vital Psy facts that I’ve supplemented with my own thorough research into reputable online sources, such as Wikipedia and transcripts of Ryan Seacrest interviews.
I discovered to my delight that not only is Psy, which is short for “psycho,” shortened from Park Jae-sang, almost a contemporary—well, maybe a few years my junior—but that he also has young twins. And despite his satirical pop hit about life in the Gangnam District of Seoul, a sort of Beverly Hills of South Korea, Psy was a serious singer/songwriter who studied at the Berklee College of Music before becoming an international YouTube sensation years later with “Gangnam Style.” After more than 1.25 billion viewers and counting have clicked on his video, I think Psy has given up on that serious bit.
“I try to dress classy and dance cheesy,” he told Seacrest. This approach is working, not only with the “sexy” ladies, but also with “Guinness World Records,” which has listed “Gangnam Style” as the most “liked” video on YouTube. Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have all allegedly tried Psy’s rodeo moves.
I can certainly report firsthand that “Gangnam Style” has struck a cord with our local kindergarten set. They clamored for it last weekend at a classmate’s birthday dance party, mock-whipping each other with the unselfconsciousness of youth, a multicolored disco ball spinning on a coffee table in the friend’s living room.
“Georgia’s got the moves,” another mother whispered to me, her expression conveying the appropriate mixture of awe and horror.
“We’ve been practicing at home,” I said proudly.
“You’re a really good dancer,” I later told my daughter.
“You’re almost as good a dancer as your dad,” my husband added.
“Daddy!” Georgia cried. “You’re the worst dancer on the face of the earth.”
“Wow!” Jeff said. “That’s a broad statement.”
Also possibly a bit true. But with the help of our three kids, a visit to some Salvation Army racks and a few more YouTube viewings, we may be able to turn my husband into (and I’ll grant this sounds better in Korean) “a guy who goes completely crazy when the right time comes/a guy who has bulging ideas rather than muscles”—an “oppa Gangnam style.”