Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hercules on Coke in Gone With The Wind

There is dancing in "Gone With The Wind". I don't recall exactly what type of dancing, as I only sat through the movie once. But I recall the dancing scene, where Vivian Leigh was trying to speak with Rhett Butler in a calm, poised manner while her legs were twiddling away to the beat of the music under her hoop skirt. I'm speaking of the movie, as I haven't read the book. Don't know how Scarlett handled dancing in the book.

This morning I picked up my brown shoes from the Houston Shoe Hospital. I had them resoled, relined, and reconditioned. It cost about $77. Should one pay that kind of money to have a pair of Pronto Uomo shoes refurbished, or should one bite the bullet and buy a new pair of shoes? I don't much like brown shoes, but they go with my brown khaki pants, which I now tend to only wear on Sundays. I don't much like brown khakis because they look so Software Firm.

But I don't wear all brown any more. There were times in the past when I wore a brown shirt with brown khaki pants and probably a black belt with black shoes. I'll never do that again. Ever. Not since someone pointed out that Ashley Wilkes always wore brown in "Gone With The Wind" (the movie -- I don't know about the book). No man wants to be Ashley Wilkes. We want to be Rhett Butler, and Rhett only wears brown in one scene -- the scene where Scarlett dumps his temporarily wimpy [CENSORED]. Throughout the rest of the movie, Rhett wears black, or blue, or grey. He looks stylish, distinguished, dignified, cool.

Rhett is cool. Ashley is...icky.

So I picked up my shoes this morning, paid my $77, and thought to myself: "Why did I just get these shoes re-dyed back to brown?" Maybe because they are the only shoes that go with my brown belt, which I only wear on brown khakis, white, or black. Or blue. Actually, I think these brown shoes look pretty good with my blue jeans. They almost look like boots sticking out under my denim drape. But Pronto Uomo shoes are far more comfortable than any boots I have ever worn.

For that matter, they are far more comfortable than any other footware I have ever tried. You can keep Mr. Cole & Mr. Hahn. I can pay far less for a pair of shoes and get as much discomfort as I get from Cole & Hahn. I hate my Cole & Hahn shoes. I do my best to avoid dancing in them. I cannot bear to throw them away because I paid about as much for them as I pay for Pronto Uomo shoes. I'm hoping to gradually wear out Cole & Hahn enough that I can get them reconditioned into something comfortable. That day may never come.

So, I don't normally go dancing in my brown Pronto Uomos, but I do dance in my black Pronto Uomos (of which I own several pairs). You can work and play in Pronto Uomo. You can dance in them. Just keep in mind that they are made of real leather and every now and then you have to have them resoled and reconditioned. Or else you have to buy another pair and they cost more than $77.

So, I had a Hercules moment Monday night (yesterday) while ballroom dancing in a pair of black Pronto Uomo shoes. This anecdote will require two digressions.

First, I'm talking about Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, starring Kevin Sorbo. The 4th season episode "...And Fancy Free" guest-starred the very cute Willa O'Neill as Althea. Althea was a forlorn farm girl living in the Greek city of Rhumba (as in Rumba dancing), where every street featured at least one dance studio. Michael Hurst guest-starred as Edith Longbottom, playing the Widow Twanky (this show was one of the most amazing, innovative television shows ever to be produced -- how often does a co-star guest star as someone else?).

Althea's ambition was to dance, but her father forbade her to dance. He wanted to bury his shameful loss in the past. The story line is an homage to the Australian "Strictly Ballroom" movie, which is a fun flick to watch on a Saturday afternoon with a few friends. (NOTE: This is the second digression.) "Strictly Ballroom" tells the story of the son of a couple of dancers who operate a rundown dance studio. They are grooming him to compete in the Pan-Pacific something-or-other dance competition. He is required to dance a very strict program, but the poor boy wants to dance Paso Doble. Paso Doble is not a "ballroom" dance, according to some people. I think it's interesting.

So, Hercules comes wandering through on one of his "legendary journeys" and he meets Althea as the town is bullying her. No hero can resist the needs of a damsel in distress, so Herc immediately steps in and offers to help her win the annual dance competition. That's where the Widow Twankey comes in, because she is the only dance teacher willing to take on the hopeless pair of dance partners.

Somewhere during the episode, Hercules ends up cutting wood (chopping down whole trees) for Althea's father. She brings him some lemonade. Kevin Sorbo, who is shirtless in this scene, proceeds to drink the lemonade as Willa O'Neill licks her lips and sends oodles of "God, he is SO sexy!" signals to the camera. Kevin leans back and drains the lemonade, letting it splash down his manly chest as the film-speed slows down and treats (the ladies in) the audience to what is respectfully known as a Major Thud Moment.

I'm not sure, but I think Kevin also draws some water and splashes it on his head to cool himself off. At least, I remember such a scene, but perhaps it comes from another episode. In any event, it's a memorable scene as Hercules is so obviously oblivious to the sexual devotion the very young Althea is radiating toward him.

Back to Monday night, but keep in mind that though I am reasonably fit, I have no delusions about being Kevin Sorbo. He's taller than me and I suspect he doesn't eat nearly as many donuts as I do. I was not wearing brown. I think I was wearing a light blue shirt with grey slacks and a pair of my black Pronto Uomo shoes. I had just come from work.

Gloria Jones now has me helping with three ballroom dancing classes on Monday evenings. It's a workout, let me tell you. This month, she moved some students out of her pre-intermediate ballroom class and was left with only two men. Gloria invited me, another advanced Salsa student named Ivan, another former advanced Salsa student named Sanai (a lady), and a couple of intermediate ballroom students to help with the pre-intermediate class. Ivan, Sanai, and I all helped with the Intermediate ballroom class, too.

Well, with so many guys in the room, and since Ivan is still relatively new to this "help with as many classes as you can" syndrome, I decided to just work on footwork and timing for most of the pre-intermediate class. But I also ducked out to get myself a Coca-Cola from a gas station across the street.

About halfway through the Pre-Intermediate class, a cute little girl came running up to the door, looked at the class schedule posted there, and ran off. A few minutes later, she came back, followed by an older man. They spoke to Gloria and started filling out registration forms. Gloria then asked her helpers to work with them to prep them for the Beginner Ballroom class. Ivan hesitated to approach the girl, so I went up to her.

We spent about 10-15 minutes trying to recap the basic steps from four dances (Rumba, Foxtrot, Waltz, and Cha Cha) before the Beginner Class began. At the top of the hour we went over to the large classroom where the Beginner class is taught and went through the lesson. Now, the girl's name is Noor. I resisted the temptation to repeat last week's performance with "Linus and Lucy" Lucy and said nothing about "Oh, were you named for Queen Noor?"

I just danced with Noor, but I found out that she has no dance experience. She kept trying to lead me and I accused her of having dance experience. She finally admitted she had seen a movie this weekend that ignited a spark of desire in her to dance. What was the movie? "Take the Lead", starring Antonio Banderas. So, for the rest of the hour, I occasionally dropped my voice into a heavy, sexy Latin Alpha Male tone and said things like, "Now you are dancing with Antonio!" She cracked up every time.

Somewhere in the middle of the Beginner Ballroom lesson Gloria broke the men away from the women to explain some point about keeping a frame or something that I have heard many times before. I saw my opportunity to sneak over to my Coke bottle and take a sip. Now, I know well enough not to just bend over to pick something up off the floor. Most guys do that, however. It's kind of a big turnoff for me to see some guy wheeze over and fumble for something on the floor. I just kneel quickly, scoop up what I need, and stand up straight. It's more dignified.

For some reason, after scooping up the Coke bottle, I turned around. Didn't need to. I was just taking a drink. But I was thirsty and not thinking so I just tilted the bottle back and started swallowing.

I saw about five women (including little Noor) loooooking at me. In an instant, Willa O'Neill and Kevin Sorbo flashed before my eyes as I recalled every scene in microscopic detail from "...And Fancy Free". I had to struggle to resist the urge to poor the Coke over my head. What was an unexpected Hercules (or Kevin Sorbo) moment would quickly have become an Adam Sandler/Steve Martin moment. Ick. Who wants Coke in their hair anyway?

What is it with women when a guy just wants to take a drink?


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