Monday, June 21, 2010

Marriage 201, Lecture 33: Dancing shoes

I love to dance. When I was in college, I had a fake ID not so I could drink but so I could get into dance halls. I have been drunk twice in my life. Both times were after college. Unfortunately. One time involved co-workers. Even more unfortunate. My friend Anita points out that's why you get all that stupid stuff out of your system in college instead of knitting while your roommates do tequila shots: who needs the VP to see you plastered?

But my point is that drinking is not my thing.

Dancing is. I can two step, schottische, waltz, salsa and polka with the best of them. Well, maybe with the medium of them. Or the slightly below average of them.

OK. I'm not that good, but if I'm with someone else who can dance, I'm not too shabby. And I have fun.

SH does not know how to dance. It's not his fault. He has never been taught. None of his athletic ability, of which he has plenty, was nurtured as a child. He wasn't put into any organized sports. No Little League. No basketball. No soccer. No swimming. Nothing. No sports. It's a darn shame, because he has a lot of athletic ability, but that's all I'll say about his childhood.

My parents had us on swim team and in soccer. They both coached. My mom ran Brownies and Cub Scouts. My dad was the adult sponsor for Sea Scouts. My parents were very involved in those sorts of things.

Just saying.

Anyhow. He is turning out to be a very good tennis player and I know he would be a good dancer, although he, until now, has been unconvinced that dancing would be for him.

We have been trying to take dance lessons for two years. SH has made a good faith effort, but fate has slapped us every time we have tried to take salsa lessons. A teacher who does not speak English. Not a beginning class. A class canceled because the teachers just had to go to a contest in Chicago, even though we had registered for the class three months before. Canceled because of swine flu. Canceled because not enough people showed up.

He has tried. He claims these failures are all a sign from God that he is not supposed to dance.

He is wrong.

We went to Polish Fest on Sunday. There were not one but two polka bands playing. I tried to convince SH to dance with me.

He would not.

I told him I would teach him, but he did not want to dance in front of strangers. I couldn't even convince him to go behind the stage where nobody could see us.

Then, on our way out, we stumbled across five old ladies and men standing in the middle of a group of people shuffling around in a circle.

It was the Wisconsin Polka Boosters, teaching people to polka. I begged. I pleaded. I started dancing by myself.

I finally got SH to join me. The 80 year old man in the center of the group called out encouragingly after he explained each step: "Youse are generally doing pretty nice today!" He broke each step down into its smallest components. He came over to help but didn't make us feel stupid. Funny how some people don't like to be criticized when they can't master something at first try.

I know, I know. Most people really like to be criticized and mocked, especially in front of others. It is a technique used by certain people I will not name. But SH? Not so much. He is a control freak who likes to present a certain image in public and guess what? So am I. The polka teacher was gentle and encouraging and neither of us felt like idiots.

The best part is that SH by George I think he got it! I kept telling him that we could stop, he had made a fair try, but he was determined to master the various twistings and turnings. I might turn him into a dancer after all.*

* Part of his motivation is that dancing is an activity that would keep me out late. Just hanging out in a smoky, noisy bar is not enough to attract me, much to SH's dismay. But now we might be able to negotiate.


LPC said...

Get him a book on polka. Or Ballroom Dance for Dummies. If he can read how to do it, like a manual, with diagrams preferably, the Terminator Engineer will program his own feet....

Michaela said...

Ha ha. That sounds like fun. I like those old Polish folks already. Good luck with SH and the dancing...