Monday, May 01, 2006

Salsa Nights, Ballroom Dancing

May didn't come back for the May Ballroom dancing class. I was kind of disappointed, but I saw it in her eyes last week. Something didn't click with her. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was just something going in her life. She's been the most interesting "beginning" student I can remember dancing with. But when you help with dance classes, you have to understand that you're not likely to see many people for more than a few weeks. I do my best not to seek any sort of friendships or attachments in the first couple of months of a student's dance life.

I suppose that makes me seem standoffish, but when you dance with 15-30 ladies a day, remembering names and faces is just impossible. And I don't do this every day any more, but I used to dance 5 days a week. Some nights I'd take or help with a class and then go out dancing with my friends at one of the local clubs. There have been many nice guys and many cute girls and beautiful women (and some otherwise memorable people) through the years. I can recall many faces but few names.

Friday evening some friends and I went to Fogo de Chao to celebrate a friend's birthday. I've never been there. Another of our friends called to say he was running late. We got to talking about how expensive it would be (I grossly underestimated the cost of dinner) and he said, "Man, I just got back from overseas. I'm broke!" He bowed out. The rest of us had a great time nonetheless and we only complained a little about the cost when the check came. Some restaurants are amazingly generous to themselves with their automatic group gratuities.

Friday was kind of an oddball day for me. They're doing a system conversion at work and told the staff we could wear jeans. I knew I was going out right after work and didn't think I'd have time to get home and change, so I wore some nice slacks and a sport shirt. When I got to the restaurant, I was the only guy in my group not wearing a blazer or jacket. So, I went from feeling over dressed to feeling under dressed in the space of an hour without changing a thing.

But a lot of the restaurant's clientele were dressed even more casually than me, so I didn't feel uncomfortable. And I especially didn't feel uncomfortable when an attractive lady kept making eye contact with me. Problem was, I was with my group and she was with hers, and she just kept flirting with me. Maybe next time I'll just manufacture an excuse to go introduce myself to a group of strangers (she was with two guys). "Pardon me. May I borrow the Grey Poopoo?"

Hm. Needs work.

I didn't want to go dancing Friday evening because I knew I'd be facing four hours of dance classes Saturday, and then there would be dancing Saturday evening. But several of the ladies just had to go check out Plaza 59. I walked in the door and asked the hostess if she could steal a table for me (they are often reserved two weeks in advance). She found us one near the fish tank, close to the bar and not very close to the dance floor. But, hey, it was a table.

Eddie Lopez was there, teaching his free dance lesson. He's started getting some interest. He's a top-notch dancer, but I've watched him sit around with a group of guys waiting for women to show up for the free class. He drafted my three lady friends into taking the class. One of them may have taken an interest in his dance lessons. I'm not sure.

So, Saturday came and went. I staggered my way through the dance classes with a sour right ankle. I am not sure how I injured it, but it started feeling bad Thursday evening (yes, I helped with dance classes). It's still sore tonight, and I went through two out of three ballroom dances. It's funny, but I can do just fine in Cha Cha with a sore right ankle, but I was in agony while dancing the Waltz, Foxtrot, and Tango. The difference is that in the Latin dances (like Cha Cha and Rumba) you're not picking your feet up. You just slide them across the floor. With the other dances (including Tango), you have to pick your feet up.

I have never wanted pain medicine so badly in my life. People are asking if I'll go dancing this weekend. Maybe, but I may not actually "dance" very much. Depends on who goes.

One of the new girls in tonight's Ballroom dancing class was named Lucy. When I partnered with her (yes, Gloria has started doing some limited rotations), I politely asked her name, and then I said something stupid about Linus and Lucy (from Charlie Brown). She said, "Who?"

Right. I feel so Old School.

Well, Lucy and I didn't hit it right off. My sense of humor was putting her off a little, so I changed my tactics and toned it way down. I informed her that she didn't seem very interested in the class and that she could always trade me in as a partner. By this time, she started to protest (yes, the old Reverse Psychology ploy still works on occasion). I figured I'd better deliver on the deal, so I made the guy next to me switch partners. Oh, the look she gave me was priceless. Hehe.

It wasn't two minutes before I heard him say, "So, what's your name?"


"Oh, like Linus and Lucy...."

It went downhill from there. Somehow, I don't think she'll ever be a Charlie Brown fan. But, who knows? Maybe she and her friend will come back next week. They did pay for the class, after all, and I've made it clear that they don't have to dance with me if they don't want to.

Many other things happened, but I'm exhausted. I'll save the Jessica story for another post (she's married -- don't get the wrong idea). At least, I think that guy was her husband....


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