Shagging In North Carolina

What? The headline makes perfect sense to me. What did you think it was referring to? Honi soit qui mal y pense.

The shagging in question is not the English sort but the dancing kind, to that delightful musical genre known as “Beach Music,” which was the subject of a lengthy article in a 2013 issue of O. Henry, which bills itself “the art and soul of Greensboro.” The story centers on a legendary nightspot in ’60s called the Castaways. Writes author Stephen E. Smith:

A male who danced at the Castaways wore a sports jacket and tie… over a starched white Oxford-cloth button-down shirt cursively monogrammed at the collar and cuff. Trousers were usually high-waisted, with a shiny alligator belt transvexing the dancer like a sack of meal. It was obvious that footwear was of the utmost importance… and highly-buffed alligator wingtipped tasseled loafers were the shoe of choice. I possessed none of the appropriate accouterments, but hoped to skate by with my khaki trousers, a blue dress shirt sans monogram, my new Harris Tweed sport coat, and Weejuns.

The article is viewable online by heading over here and scrolling to page 59.


White updating the link to this post, I came across another article on the Beach Music and Carolina Shag scene in the ’60s, which includes the following line:

I couldn’t help but notice that one of the guys was much more handsome than the other. Dressed in his madras shorts and sockless Weejuns, he looked like a model, all toned and tan and fine.

Tone up, gentlemen, and show of those bronzed legs and sockless Weejuns, a look said to originate in none other than North Carolina. — CC

11 Comments on "Shagging In North Carolina"

  1. There was nightly shag dancing when I visited Greenville SC this March, tons of fun, not hard to pick up, dunno if I’d ever have the heart to risk my tassels though.

  2. Geez thanks for this CC. This is so unashamedly up my alley. I miss 1966 in every sense of the word.
    Great pics, great piece!

  3. “I’ve Been Hurt” by the Tams as shown in this photo was the Southern party anthem in the day.

  4. And leather soled Weejuns were perfect for gliding across the dance floor, shaggin the night away.

  5. Such fond memories of the Day Lilly restaurant (aka, the Chinese Disco), shagging central in Washington, DC in the ’80s:

    During the week, the Day Lilly was an undistinguished Chinese restaurant downtown. But on the weekends, they’d push the tables back, someone would bring in a sound system, and girls from Trinity or Rollins and boys from Annapolis, Hampton-Sydney, and W&L would flood the dance floor. Thankfully, we Hoyas didn’t have to drive back to our campus, so the White Russians (the restaurant drink of choice, if you can believe it) flowed a bit more freely down our throats.

    (Come to think of it, it was the 80s. I’m sure the kids who had to drive home didn’t give two thoughts as to monitoring their alcohol consumption.)

  6. The Tams last had a chart hit in the US back in 1968, but they scored a #21 hit on the charts in the UK in 1987 with this little ditty:

    They charted with that one despite the fact that it was banned by the BBC . . .

  7. The Shag is the official state dance (a real thing) of South Carolina, the state where the dance an the film “Shag” starring Phoebe Cates was filmed in the mid 80s.

    If you think the use of the word shag in the U.K. is humorous, you should find out how it’s used in India.

  8. whiskeydent | July 8, 2021 at 8:09 pm | Reply

    I came along after the shag had morphed from a dance to a carpet. I’m told the former was more fun. I sure hope so.

  9. Alfred Morgan | July 8, 2021 at 10:13 pm | Reply

    Yes, as per the first quote, our OCBDs were white, not blue,and collars were heavily starched.

  10. Fond memories of local bands and Johnny Sportcoat and the Casuals playing venues like the Peppermint Beach Club, Rouges, Duck-In, the Jew Mom and others and shagging and doing other very caucasian dances with pretty girls in sun dresses and having bonfires and everything that goes with them on the North End and Chic’s Beach on hot, salt water scented summer nights with no real responsibilities and Duck Heads, OCBDs, boat shoes and cigarettes and twenty year old Mercedes Diesels and Volvos and….

    Sorry, I got carried away.

    Happy Weekend,


  11. Terry Garratt | July 17, 2021 at 3:14 pm | Reply

    Shagging in North Carolina. As an Englishman I can say there’s no answer to the title of this article. Made my day!

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