Nevada City, CA — According to sources close to the hopping Nevada County social dance scene, the popular Foothill County Dancers plan to broaden their reach by including a monthly pro “Germaphobe” contra dance for those socialites who fear illness from strangers.
Germaphobia, known more officially as Mysophobia, is a pathological fear of contamination and germs. The term was coined by Dr. William Alexander Hammond in 1879 when describing a case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) exhibited in repeatedly washing one’s hands. Mysophobia has long been related to the OCD of constantly washing one’s hands, however more modern definitions have a more nuanced understanding of the pathology. Outreach and de-mystification are key to its acceptance.
“We feel this a great opportunity to drive more attendance to our non-commercial, do-it-yourself, socially inclusive, community-building, participatory, musically driven recreation,” said organizer Bethany Swift in a Gish Gallop telephone interview. “Given the area’s, um, ‘unique’ populations, we are sure that we can drive in more dancers if we take some additional sanitary precautions.”
Organizers plan to differentiate the event from traditional contra dances by providing several dispensers of hand sanitizers, Clorox Wet Wipes, and regular breaks for patrons to “sanitize themselves” between dances. For participants who have deeper compulsions, organizers will also supply colorful “Hazmat” suits available with decontamination stations.
Mysophobia and other OCD sufferers were cautious about the dance communities attempts at outreach.
“Germs can still get inside those Hazmat suits,” commented Connie Dolbermann on the group’s Facebook wall.” All it takes is one small, tiny, little slit in the suit…and then you’ve got the flu or pink eye. I might come, but I’m bringing my own suit.”
Some current patrons maintained that this was an example of Nevada County’s “can-do” spirit.
“This is what I’m talking about,” announced Sairhra Ramun on Broad Street using a battery-powered megaphone. “Isn’t this community great or what? We include everybody. All the time. In everything. Are you people as excited as I am for Hazmat dancing? You think Sedona would do anything like this? No Way.”
This special contra dance will be held every second Monday of each month from 8:00 – 11:00pm with beginner lessons starting at 7:40. Mysophobia-striken participants are welcome to bring their own sanitizers and other germ-free paraphernalia.