Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Magic Monday: Happy Mondays

Well, for those of you who keep coming back for more (you do have lives, right?), I drove by Los Andes restaurant yesterday on the way home from work. It's on Richmond, facing the road with a huge friggin' sign that reads in unobstructed bold white letters, "LOS ANDES". But the Internet mapping service I used to locate the restaurant told me to turn onto a different street. The Internet has a ways to go before it becomes an information back-alley, much less an information superhighway.

In other breaking news, Cheeta the Chimp turned 74 years old. I didn't realize that chimpanzees could live that long. Tarzan has changed faces a few times over the decades. I wonder what Chita makes of all them?

Among other people reading my blog are some corporate clientele of a national market research company. I caught some referrals from their Web site yesterday that looked strange. I called the company to see what was up, and the president of the firm called me back. He was very complimentary about one of my articles, saying it explained in entertaining detail the kind of information his clients need. I was glad to reach the right people. I hope they get the message.

And then I had to go downtown to visit the Houston Police Department. For reasons unknown to me, one of the local television stations was doing a report just outside the building. I didn't stop to watch or listen, but maybe the footage they showed on the air caught me walking back toward my car.

As I wandered through traffic on my way home, my cell phone kept ringing. One of the callers was Gloria Jones, who asked if I could help with an Intermediate Ballroom Dance Class in Houston. Okay. One of the regular guys sent her an email and said he wouldn't be there. So now I would be doing 3 dance classes in a row: Intermediate Ballroom, Beginner Two Step, and Beginner Ballroom.

The first two classes proved to be less full than expected. I think I did a little dancing in the Pre-Intermediate Ballroom at 8:00 instead of the Two Step class, where I wasn't needed after all. I was just beginning to chat up Anna, a cute redhead, when Gloria asked me to switch partners. Such a thing is unheard of in these Ballroom Classes. Was I being too obvious? I don't think so. I suspect Gloria felt my lead (such as it is in Ballroom Dancing) was better used with a lady who had just joined the class (we were into the second of four classes).

I can do Cha Cha. I get by okay on the Rumba, too, because it's a Latin dance and I can keep in time. Tango sort of works but I only know a very little Tango. My Waltz is probably way too mechanical, and I am only just beginning to not feel dorky when I do Jitterbug. I just keep picturing Happy Days reruns when I do the Jitterbug, and the new lady blurted out, "Boy this takes me back!"

The Beginner Ballroom class is pretty big and Gloria asked 1 or 2 other guys to stay over and help out. There I was going to partner up with someone from last week who seemed very interested. I mean, she's close to my age, very attractive, and she went out of her way to make it clear she was interested in me. So, I was standing in the middle of the room as she came in with a friend. She said, "Hi!" and whizzed past me. The friend said, "Hi, Michael" and acted like she might stay to chat if I were of a mind to do so, but I passed on the opportunity.

At the end of the class, the Interested Lady came up and said, "Michael, you didn't dance with me." I only replied, "No, I didn't dance with you."

Sorry, but I don't chase. I believe that was what she expected, in retrospect. I think I was supposed to obediently turn around and walk up behind her and say, "How have you been?"

That's the problem with beautiful women, I think. They are so used to guys hitting on them they just tend to expect men to follow them around and beg for attention. And, of course, they never actually fall in love with those guys or have their babies. So why should a man bother to do that?

In the meantime, I kept to myself, waited for all the students to sort themselves out, and found a different partner. She and two friends came in last week as well. Both girls are very cute but I figured the guy was someone's boyfriend. After last night, I'm not sure of what kind of trio they are. One girl is the same ethnic group as the guy (I think), and the other girl is a different ethnic group. All three are of Asian descent.

Now, I'll be honest. I was mildly interested in the girl from the second ethnic group last week. I thought, "She's really cute. I wonder if she's legal."

You don't get many teenagers in these classes, but it happens. There is a girl in the Intermediate Ballroom class who is very young. I think she is legal, but I have no idea. I'm a terrible judge of age. I seriously doubt the Intermediate girl is over 20 years old.

So, I partnered up with one of the Asian girls -- in fact, I thought she and the guy were boyfriend/girlfriend, but it appeared as the class went on that the other Asian girl was his girlfriend. Maybe. I mean, they were playful and touched each other a lot, but they were not romantic toward each other. A new couple came into the Beginner class (at least, I didn't recognize them from last week) and they were clearly boyfriend/girlfriend. What is it with people going to dance classes to make out in the middle of a crowd of strangers? Rent a hall, people!

I decided I was just going to have some fun. Dancing with beginning students can be stressful because they are so self-conscious and oftentimes don't know how to dance (once in a while, someone with dance experience shows up to learn new steps or get back in the groove). This girl seemed a little shy but not overly nervous. So I joked with her. When we got into the Rumba, I said, "I hope you like the Bee Gees".

"I love the Bee Gees!" (I thought: Where were you in the 60s? Oh, never mind.)

So, we danced Rumba to "How Deep Is Your Love?" and I did my best not to sing it for her (I only know about half the lyrics anyway -- forgive me, Amanda Bynes).

When the Foxtrot came up, I said, "I hope you like Frank (Sinatra)," and she said, "Yeah!" I mean, she was enthusiastic. "Yeah!" Ole' blue eyes still knocks 'em dead even from the grave. It dawned on me slowly that this sweet young thing might just happen to like all the music she would be learning to dance to, and maybe that was why she wanted to learn to dance to it.

Men can be so dense.

As we scooted back and forth across the room, I kept teasing her about her lack of frame. For some reason, a lot of the young girls just try to melt into my chest. Much as I might enjoy some huggin' and kissin', they might not have that on their minds. I kept saying, "Hold me back! Fight me off! I'm going to be all over you."

It rarely works. I mean, they laugh, they tense up a little, but after a minute or so they just go limp again and I cannot maintain the proper distance between us. You know, men like to hold cute and curvaceous young women in their arms. But that makes it very difficult to dance.

Fortunately, we were dancing near a large fan that was blowing at almost max speed. Every time I backed her close to that fan, it blew her hair into her face and she had to do a hair flip. Oh, yeah, I was manipulating the moves. At one point, while we were doing Tango, I turned her around and shook my head like I was whipping my hair in the wind and I said, "You know...when I bite into a York Peppermint Patty, I feel like I'm dancing the Tango!"

Groan all you wish, it worked. She laughed at my stupid joke.

Well, no, I have no idea of what her name is. Didn't ask. I'll wait and see if she avoids me next week or whatever. Her girlfriend kept exchanging glances with her and at one point arched her back for me. The guy friend was standing behind her, so I am pretty sure I was the target.

When a girl arches her back, she does it so the man she is flirting with sees her in profile. I was standing to her right. I got to see the full sinuous movement. It's not so much a "Come and get it" flirting move as more like a "Like what you see? Maybe I'll give you a shot at earning it."

Back arches are extremely sexy, the girls know they are, and any man who sees one should understand immediately that an option has just been placed on his table. And just because a girl has a boyfriend doesn't mean she is committed to him. A lot of guys won't approach a girl who is "taken". They don't realize that until they feel committed, girls will keep their eyes and their options open.

So, am I an option for her, or was she just trying to get a rise out of the older man? I have no idea. But I'll keep my eyes open. Girls tend to get competitive around men, so the girls could have just been having a little innocent competition with neither intending to follow through on anything. To be honest, I know one of them just turned 18 and I'm really not interested in riding that emotional roller coaster. My ideal woman would be 25 to 35, no kids yet, but definitely planning to have mine.

My friends say I need to be a little more flexible. I say, why? I know what I want. Why should I settle for less?

And, yes, I thought about Linda, but I'm getting past that day by day.


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