Last night, The Electrician and I began our dance classes. Wait –did I forget to tell you about that? My rugged romantic gave me a gift certificate for beginner ballroom classes for Christmas, and our sessions started up last night.
Let me start by saying how impressed I am by The Electrician; it takes a big man to learn something brand new and completely out of his comfort zone in front of a room full of people. The Electrician’s dance repertoire, before yesterday, consisted of what he has joking referred to as the “one step,” which is technically the rhythmic foot-to-foot shift commonly seen in junior high gymnasiums. Now he has a basic understanding of the single jive and the rumba. Leap tall buildings in a single bound? Kid stuff. Stop a speeding bullet? Small potatoes. Pick up the basic steps for two brand new dances in about 57 minutes? That’s my fella. (I am not being sarcastic here; he did a great job or I wouldn’t bring it up).
Dance class wasn’t really what I anticipated in several ways. The only significant inconsistency between what I imagined and what actually happened was the eensy weensy portion of the class that I actually spent dancing with my sweetie. I suppose it makes sense that we changed partners after every minute or so of practice. I appreciate the need for all the students to learn to dance with lots of different people and not reinforce their partners’ bad habits. There are also a few singles in our course, and the frequent rotation means all of us get a chance to actually dance. All in all, the men I danced with last night were a reasonable crew.
You knew there was going to be an exception, right? There I was, trying not to make Dirty Dancing jokes while we assumed the dance position for rumba, locked our frames, when –okay, sorry, I need to do this:
“Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”
Much better. Moving on, I was focusing on behaving myself and following the instructors. We switched partners and I stretched my bad shoulder, which was bearing the brunt of the dance position. At the instructor’s cue, I placed my left hand on my new partner’s shoulder where it belonged, and took his other hand with my right. That’s when I realized I’d come full circle and ended up with the very sweaty man I’d encountered earlier during the jive. Please understand that I’m not poking fun at the fact this gentleman was working hard on his footwork and is probably nervous on the first night of class: the clammy hands were merely a flag that caused me to remember this guy from the jive. So was the smell of alcohol on his breath. Sadly, what I also recalled about him was the odd smile, which I think he meant to be flirtatious but ended up giving me the willies, the first time we were paired. I also remembered how he didn’t exactly look at my face while he danced with me, if you catch my drift. If you did catch my drift, let me assure you that there’s not much to see where I felt he was looking, but I’m not about to make mountains out of molehills here.
There I was, about to rumba with a man who made me highly uncomfortable at best. Suddenly, he barked, “Lock your frame!” and snapped his arms sharply. Okay, fella. Only Patrick Swayze can get away with it. He’s also dead, so there is no living man who should talk like that to his dance partner. It was also the first hour of the “absolute beginners” ballroom dance class, and he was most certainly not the teacher. I tightened up my arms, thinking that was the end of it. “That’s better,” he said, “now you’ll be able to f e e l me.”
The italics are in that last statement for a reason; he leered that at me, looking over the tops of his glasses and raising his eyebrows. Shudder. I looked frantically over his shoulder at The Electrician, who was partnered up with some nice mom-type lady and completely oblivious to my plight. I felt like I was paired with four of the seven dwarfs of ballroom dance: sweaty, boozy, bossy, and creepy, all rolled into one dress shirt.
Although I said nothing, the only response I could think of came, of course, from Dirty Dancing.
“This is your dance space, and this is my dance space.”
I just busted out my handy teacher glare and focused on my box-step.
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