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?

Cur­rent Music: “Blue Cham­pagne” — Man­hat­tan Transfer
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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