If you can’t dance to Pitbull you’re probably shit in bed

It’s scientific fact

A suspicion that’s reverberated around my mind for so long it feels as if it were surgically implanted: if you can’t dance to Pitbull you’re probably shit in bed. 

Yeah. Pitbull. Pitbull in his pastel blazer, his pastel shirt and his white chinos. Pitbull who imagines the good life to be a yacht and thick-limbed, wasp-waisted girls in bikinis tailored from dental floss, all floating on a limitless ocean of Voli vodka. Pitbull, who, if he weren’t famous, would be getting laid about as often as your mate Steve with the funny eye. Pitbull, whose New Year’s resolution in 2014 was the phrase “buckle up”. Pitbull who chats people up by grabbing – somebody, anybody who he deems sexy, and telling them, in no uncertain terms – “hey”.

There is nothing he is less fit for than being an international pop star.

And yet.

If you can’t dance to his terrible music you’re probably shit in bed.


Sometimes on mini TVs in barber shops, on takeaway counter televisions, on jumbo screens in the bad clubs you “end up at” you will see a Pitbull video. Maybe it was this one:

Perhaps it was this one:

Perhaps it doesn’t really matter.

Because really, when push comes to shove, when all is said and done, when every dog has barked through its day, when all the skeletons have been removed bone by cobwebbed bone from the cupboard, every single one of these videos is exactly the same, means exactly the same thing, sounds exactly the same way.

A bald man, a bald man who cannot sing or rap or dance, is standing on something expensive, somewhere expensive, accompanied by a man or woman singing with considerably more talent than him, and the sun is out, then setting – orange pandemonium – there are palm trees, there is humidity, there is alcohol, maybe because of the alcohol many of the people here are not wearing clothes or maybe they don’t like clothes like you do, but the bald man is in a three piece suit, even though the temperature is pushing  68.2°F, and he is speaking to everyone in their own language – well, Spanish and English – and what he’s transmitting, with quite desperate certainty, is the absence of shame. 

And when you think about sex, especially good sex, isn’t the absence of shame quite important?


You have been running from the sound Pitbull makes for a long time now. You don’t hear him as much on the radio as you used to. You haven’t heard anyone play him ironically since 2012. And I suppose you’re relieved, I suppose we’re all relieved. Because it’s the sound of Zante, not Thailand. It’s the sound you gave up on when you gave up Jägerbombs. When you hear it, you’re reminded of a soundtrack to nights you thought you’d forgotten, in places you never want to return to. Islands in the med somewhere: strip clubs, foam clubs, theme clubs, pole clubs, fight clubs, shit clubs. Over the heat faraway men are chanting Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn as you watch a bloke wearing a Lacoste polo get beaten half to death by a regiment of angry Majorcan police.

The part you’ve eliminated from your memory is the part where you danced to Timber. Why did you stand up? Why did your legs start moving like that? And your arms, raised above your head?  Why did you stand on the table? Why did your shirt come off? And your mouth saying all the words, your brain knowing them all? Why did everyone else do the same thing and how did you wake up the next day and call it a good time?

Pitbull is agnostic about whys. He resists the why. In a world characterised by doubt and paralysing ambiguity, he is, he was, grandly, grossly, sleazily devoted to gratification. People who can dance to Pitbull know this. They don’t stop to think why. Stopping to think why is dangerous. They might think about how a man who looks like a thumb that learned to rap, like the third Mitchell brother who watched Scarface too many times, a man who is basically not fit, can have over 3 billion hits on YouTube and 70 million followers on social media. A man, who if he was President, would have Chris Brown as Secretary of Defense, whose education policy would be an old copy of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and a note saying live it. 

They don’t think about this though. They’re too busy dancing to Pitbull.

Illustration by Bob Palmer.