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Tuesday, July 1, 2008



Dr. Lester CN Simon

Some people can wine better than others. The Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage defines wining as “erotic or provocative dancing with vigorous swinging and gyrating of the hips”. It goes on to make a link between wining, carnival and vulgarity.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, vulgar means “making explicit reference to sex or bodily functions”. But the dictionary also notes that the word vulgar comes from the Latin word for “common people” and hence it also means “characteristic of or belonging to ordinary people”. I want to propose that wining says a lot more than being vulgar.

To understand the anatomy of a good wine you have to discover the different kinds of movements made by each joint of the body in isolation. For example, the hip joint can perform six different movements all by itself. It can bend forward, backward, rotate outward, rotate inward, move outward with no rotation and move inward with no rotation. Examine for yourself the different movements of the spine and the knee separately.

The art of wining requires combining some or all of the movements of the joints to create a smooth, flowing, orchestrated movement. This leads to my proposal that persons who are adept at multitasking in any activity should make good winers. When you consider all the disparate activities women have to undertake from dawn to dusk and beyond, it is no wonder that they generally out-wine men.

But sadly, there are many women and men who seem to be good at multitasking who cannot wine at all or wine very poorly. There are reasons for this. Some persons who appear to do many things at the same time are really not very efficient although they look very busy. Others, who may multitask very efficiently, fail to bring the art of multitasking to the fine art of wining.

Being able to distill all the possible movements of the joints into a good wine ensemble is no different from cooking a good meal and wining and dining your party guests as a good host or hostess. Good wining is also a reflection of expert negotiating skills, especially at carnival time when you have to jostle between the Carnival Development Committee, the myriad groups and troupes, associations and demanding, uncompromising audiences.

It should not surprise you that wining is regarded as vulgar, if by vulgar we refer etymologically to the common people. Common people have to multitask all the time to make ends meet. They simply carry over the art of everyday living to the art of wining. Even high-society women are now common (vulgar), expert winers because they realise that they too have to multitask regardless of their high-status vocation. Many men are forced to multitask like their womenfolk to make ends meet at home. This can only be a good thing for the family and for conjoint wining between consenting men and women, some of which is best confined to the privacy of the home, far away from the stage and street at carnival time.

As you look at wining dancers during this carnival season, try to determine how well they combine the various, possible movements of the spine, the hip and the knee. Look out for those winers with additional, unusual or unique movements which may include holding their head, hands or feet in positions that embellish the central movement. The central movement can be in many different planes. It is commonly clockwise or anticlockwise. Is this dependent on the person being left or right handed? It sometimes resort to elementary arithmetic and illustrates the number 8 or 888 with seemingly infinite, hypnotic recurrences.

One knee or both will be at a particular angle, contributing to the overall wining geometry. Your ankles should be supple and yours shoes should have good traction. The overall architecture should be stable and aesthetically (not necessarily ecstatically) pleasing. Discover and document the different skills that are deployed in wining while standing compared to wining while sitting or walking.

Finally, do not be fooled or be overly enamoured by those wanton winers who are wining all over the carnival stage or the street, explicit to the extreme. Empty vessels not only make the most noise, they make uncoordinated, purposeless movements and distract attention from the really good, smooth, flowing winer, like the one looking back at you in the mirror.

So when the carnival is over and your family, workmates and friends remark how much better you can multitask at home, work and play, proudly and honestly tell them it was all because of the wining, which taught you so well how to make ends meet.

Note: This article is scheduled to be included in this year's carnival magazine. It is a partial rewrite of an article by the same name published in The Daily Observer newspaper in 2006.

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