Oooo, I like
this. Totally unrelated to what I was thinking about, though.
slamarama started me
I used to think “But I don’t know how to dance!” And I really thought I was horribly ungraceful and clumsy.
But I went to a homecoming dance my freshman year with a blind date, fixed up by one of my best friends with a buddy of his from the chess club. Yes, we were geeks, thankyouverymuch. My date’s name was David and we were there with Brian and Michelle. David played soccer, too, and he was a lot cuter than I’d expected. And he could dance! Damn, could he dance—and he led well enough that I could dance, too, with him. We had a great time on the dance floor!
But I never had another date who could dance, and honestly, being cute and a good dancer wasn’t enough reason to actually keep anything going with David. Okay, he kissed awfully well, too. But there wasn’t any actual conversation happening. Yes, I was that picky already at 13. But David, if you’re out there—it took 8 years to find anyone else who led as well as you did!
So anyway, I was married (with no dancing! okay, it was in a Baptist church) and divorced before 21, and I was talking to a friend about what she did to amuse herself without a date, and she brought up dancing. Okay, I thought that took a man, but what did I know?
Places like Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire studios usually have these specials to draw in new students. They’re maybe $5 or $10 for several private and group lessons and a party. Of course, they’re designed to get you to sign a contract for a lot more lessons, but if you have any aptitude at all, you can learn something in that time. And every six months or so, she goes to one of the studios nearest wherever she was contracting at the time and do the intro special. She’d been doing that for several years.
I was intrigued, found a Fred Astaire studio, and signed up for the intro special. And it was fun, despite the fact that I was definitely the youngest person by a couple of generations as far as the other students at the party went. But it was fun, and I was actually asked to attend another event to do a waltz demo thing with a teacher (I went, and used it as an excuse to buy a marvelously cool dress—satin and velvet, yum).
A month or so later I tried another studio, Arthur Murray this time. And happened to find one with young instructors AND mostly young students. The Dirty Dancing thing was still kinda happening in the late ’80s (Strictly Ballroom and a few other movies contributed but I never saw any of them). The music in the studio was actually stuff you’d hear in clubs or on the radio then. And there was, in fact, an incredibly rare ratio of more male than female students there for a while. I signed up for more than the intro lessons and had a marvelous time for the next year. Private and group lessons each week, a couple of dance parties a month, and the students would go out dancing together almost every weekend. I don’t like bars/clubs because I’m not into noise or crowds, and I definitely think they’re entirely the wrong place to go to meet anybody new—but for dancing with friends you’re with, they’re great.
And it was an excuse to buy lots of pretty clothes, too—I probably had the best wardrobe of my life during that time. Heck, one of my ex-SOs/now friends STILL remembers that satin/velvet dress fondly, as I wore it the weekend we met, in 1988. And this is not a guy who normally notices clothing.
Then I met Wayne, who became my second husband (Katie’s father). We fell fast and hard. I stopped dancing because he didn’t dance—stupid, yeah, I know. We tried to take lessons together after we got married. I figured, hey, he was a drummer, in middle/high school/college bands, right? No problem, he can learn this.
Um, no. His sense of rhythm was always just that much off the beat, and I couldn’t do it. Not capable of it. Nope. Sorry. He led very strongly and ended up bruising me to try to make me follow his sense of rhythm (to be fair, I bruise very easily). The studio had different teachers work with us, and I had fun dancing with the male teacher—and Wayne could NOT stand it. The male teacher was SO flamingly queer that there’s no way anybody with the sense Goddess gave cantaloupe could think he had any designs on me, but jealousy isn’t a rational thing. He’d get all freaky, and he couldn’t focus on anything the female teacher was saying or doing. And she couldn’t exactly give him a “sense of rhythm” transplant, although she tried, and she was good. So we quit after about a month and just didn’t try to dance again.
I haven’t done it since, dangit. And I miss it.
Our church has ballroom dance lessons every Sunday afternoon—group lessons. I’m wondering how good they are and if they’re worth the money. They seem a wee bit pricey for group lessons, but then I’ve been out of touch for over a decade. Wonder if I could find a partner to find out with me?