One afternoon this week while out taking an afternoon walk with my co-workers one of my team members said to me, “I have a what would Ann do question.” She said, “I have to work late on Friday, there’s a concert I want to see that starts at 9 and I want to go to the airport to meet the troop flight early on Saturday.” I looked at her and said, “Ann would to to the concert, go to the troop flight, come home and take a nap and look for something to do on Saturday night.” 🙂 I then rattled off a list of my plans for Saturday. Sandwiches for Soupmobile in the morning, dancing at Gilley’s in the afternoon, and a singles dance on Saturday night. You know, just a normal weekend?
My day started in the kitchen baking snickerdoodles to take for the pot luck at Gilley’s that’s part of the dancing afternoon. I headed to Walmart and picked up my sandwich making supplies donation–2 loaves of bread, 2 packages of bologna, a large package of unwrapped cheese, and two boxes of ZipLock bags. (Think government cheese, it’s a pain in the behind to unwrap those individually wrapped slices with plastic gloves on!) I of course don’t plan on driving home to change after making sandwiches, so I have my honky tonk dancin’ clothes on. I was very much overdressed to be making bologna sandwiches!
I arrived a little late and jumped into the middle of the action. My group had managed to get one of the bar height tables, so that meant no bending over, and hopefully less chance of me getting mustard all over my clothes. I decided to stay and have lunch with my sandwich making friends and arrived at Gilley’s to begin my day of dancing at 1:oo p.m.
They had just started to learn a new line dance, and I was out in the middle of the floor doing my best impression of the steps. Oh, it was not pretty…following the line dance we did the waltz mixer. The waltz is not my favorite dance, but it’s one that you should at least understand while dancing. The country waltz moves progressively around the floor. We do a few practice laps for the beginners and then we rotate partners. The first guy I danced with was new to this venue, and used a different partner hold than I was used to. It felt awkward, but he was the lead and in charge..he loved it when I told him that. “Don’t get too full of yourself, it’s only on the dance floor.” I then flashed him a big smile. Partner number two was one of the better dancers at the event. I actually groaned when I was paired up with him. He’s a nice enough guy, but also very intimidating. He had me doing all sorts of turns and glides…when I finally relaxed I began to enjoy the movements, and felt like some sort of butterfly gliding around the floor. Thank heavens there are no videos of the event…
Next on the agenda we broke up into smaller groups for lessons. I decided to try the beginning salsa again. I find that I am enjoying the salsa, and would like to learn more, I’m also becoming a big fan of the East Coast Swing and may think about tackling that dance next. It was a fun class, I learned quite a bit, and have a little more confidence while trying to fake it on the dance floor. There were some practice dances, and the next lesson I was in the cha cha group. The group had 5 more women than men, the odds of me getting to dance with anyone for long were pretty slim. So, I did my community service for the day and joined the beginner’s progressive double two step class.
When I was learning to dance, people were patient with me while learning. I have found that dancing with someone who knows what they are doing really helps when learning, for women. Unfortunately when a woman tries to show a man what to do on the dance floor, she is called an “aggressive follower” aka back lead aka trying to run the show. Men don’t like that all that much and it’s a habit I have really tried to break–still trying. So dancing with someone new is like backsliding a bit. My partner had ballroom experience, but he was not getting the dance, nor did he have any patience. Finally he threw up his hands and walked off to eat..he was hungry…umm yeah, thank you very my for being my partner.
Around 5 I headed for home for a nice long bubble bath and some time to putter around the apartment. I was out the door again around 7:30 and headed to the singles dance. I’ve never been to one of these dances before, a few members of my group had been, said it was a fun night out and so I decided it was worth a try. It was a Hawaiian theme night. I have a floral print shirt, and I had a lei–poof I am Hawaiian! I had on skinny jeans and a pair of flats that I could country dance in should the need arise. I arrived about 10 minutes before the doors opened, there were lots of brightly colored shirts and dresses. Most of those waiting were my age and older. I felt a mixture of high school dance and prom night. I had a feeling this was going to be either terribly boring, or an absolute blast.
I flashed my drivers’ license, paid my $15 and received a wrist band and two drink tickets. We found a table on the edge of the dance floor and settled in. There were a few people from my dance group, and some others that I had danced with at other venues. There were lots of lively conversations, and the dj had started to play music that took me back to those high school dance/prom days. On the wall, for some reason, they were projecting an old Hawaii 5-0 television episode. No sound, just the show. WTH?
NEVER in my life have I needed a video camera more. If you weren’t out dancing, just the view of those out there dancing was enough to keep me entertained. There were some excellent dancers there. But, the majority of people could have been poster children for the white people can’t dance movement. (I’m including myself in that statement.) The evening was for the most part old school cornfield wedding reception, high school dance, prom type dancing. I have not danced like that in FOREVER! All of the standards were played, the electric slide, the cupid shuffle, the macarena, the twist, the jitterbug, YMCA and I’m not ashamed to say before the night was over I was even doing the pony!
There were a few country type dances. It was interesting to see the country dancers trying to navigate their way around the edge of the dance floor. In country dance clubs those doing a progressive moving forward type dance stay on the outside track. These people apparently didn’t receive that memo. I’m surprised we didn’t mow people down as we made our way around the outside track twisting, turning and going at top speed.
On one trip to the ladies room I discover that the restroom has flooded–closed for cleaning. Ummm..you have a few females here, do we have a plan B. Men’s room…Ummm you know I am constantly teasing about going into the men’s room to write my name and phone number. The word that comes to mind after this experience last night…EWWWWWWWWWW…. It was interesting to watch men coming through the front door as I stood in front of the men’s room in line looking like I was waiting for a dance partner to come out of one of the stalls. Eventually I just posed seductively in the door way. I’m sure they were wondering, I know I was laughing the entire time I had my sassiness draped in front of the door.
After I sat down from country dancing, one of my friends asked me if I had information with me about my Meetup group. No, it never occurred to me that I should bring something. She said, “That girl over there saw you dance and wants to learn how you do that.” Raising an eyebrow..do what? I later talked to the lady and gave her my email address. Now I’m thinking I needed a video of just what I was doing that she wanted to copy. Hmmm…
I’ve always loved to dance. But I rarely if ever got the chance to actually go out and dance. Once in a great while I would get to do that old fashioned hold me close dance around in circle type dance that I learned in high school. Last night, that was the dance that scared me the most. I really didn’t want to dance that close with strangers. When someone asked me to dance to “Let’s Get it On” I said yes, but in reality I wanted to hide under the table.
Him: “So, is this your first singles dance here.”
Me: (inside my head-oh hell, he wants to talk to me and dance) “Yes, how about you?”
Him: “It’s my tenth one.”
Me: (don’t make eye contact maybe he will SHUT UP) “That’s nice.”
Him: “That’s a lovely blouse you are wearing, very colorful.”
Me: (It’s Hawaiian night what did you think I would wear? Please do not make any comments about leis.) “Thanks that’s a nice shirt you have on too.”
Him: “So, are you here alone?”
Me: (WHERE THE HELL IS THE NEAREST EXIT???) “I’m here with a group of friends. (They are all packing heat, so back off. Just when did this song get to be so long? Thank you that he does not know the words and is NOT serenading me.)
Finally after 3 hours and 15 minutes the song ends.
Him: (To my back as I am running from the dance floor…) “Thanks!!”
He later thought that since we had shared that close bonding experience that he could come out and dance around me in some crazed lunatic what did you do with the money your mama gave you for dance lessons kinda way.
I left the building at 1:00 a.m. I looked at my step counter when I got home I had nearly 17,000 steps for the day. There were close to 10,000 steps just at that night time dance.
When I left the house in the morning I changed my Facebook status to:
“Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth.” – Mark Twain
I wish you that today my friends, and everyday as a matter of fact. If you ever find the need to ask yourself, “What would Ann do?” I have an answer for you. Ann would never miss an opportunity to go out and enjoy life, try new things, love her friends and find a way to make a difference in the world. I’m not sure I would recommend doing ALL of those things in one day, but there are some days that things just work out that way.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman