Friday, May 17, 2013

Two Left Feet

I think I was forty years old before I learned a consistent way to remember left from right. Make a letter L with the left thumb and forefinger and, voila! That side is left. Children teach us so much, and some of it is useful and fun. I've also learned righty-tighty and lefty-loosey for screw tops and locks. Although locks can fool unless you know if it was installed for the inside or outside. But nine times out of ten, I can get the door unlocked the first time. (Small victories!) I had a hell of a time when I signed up for Girls Marching in the ninth grade, not reliably starting on the right foot. Still, it got me out of sitting at a lunch table with the boy who made my life hell. (He likes you, the vice-principal told me.)

I like to dance. I love to dance. I guess though, when it comes down to it, I am not the very best dancer. I didn't realize this until I started dancing with a variety of partners when I took East Coast Swing lessons. I am not alone, though. Lots of people can't dance, can't even keep a beat and some are show offs and some are fun and, and, and... what should be fun is stressful.

In college I went to dances almost every week. Bands would come up from the Bay Area to Quincy and we would dance at the Grange Hall. Sometimes we would get fooled by bands who kept changing their names. One week they would be advertised as Wild Turkey while in reality they were the same old Dripping Lips. (Oy!) I would go and have fun but hated waiting to be asked to dance. All these years later, I still hate it.

Last night I went to a Swing Dance with a big band at the Wabasha Caves in St Paul. I signed up through the Meet-up group Get Out Get Social. (It used to be called WONRO, Wearing Out Not Rusting Out.) Many of the people from the lessons were there and we had a little refresher lesson before the band started. I was determined to have fun.

If I could just relax and smile and dance, I had a pretty good time. But if I had to reassure my partner, or have someone criticize me, it wasn't much fun. People were pretty good about dancing if I asked them and, putting fears of rejection aside, I asked. I was kicked in the ankle by another couple, had my feet stepped on, and worse of all was banged in the head by the elbow of a tall partner.

On the plus side, I got a good workout, went beyond my comfort zone, only spent $7 for the cover, and  felt pretty in a swingy dress I found at a consignment store. I only stayed from 6 to 7:30 even though the band was scheduled to play until 10. I left feeling good, if banged around and looking forward to doing it again sometime. Practice makes perfect? I'll settle for fun.

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