Last night found me again outside my comfort zone, in the arms of a handsome Spaniard not half my age.
It’s not what you think.
I was taking my first ballroom dancing lesson. It was a Christmas gift to myself, delivered via one of those Amazon deals I usually delete without reading, lest I finally melt the credit card. This one was too good to pass up, though.
I’d wanted to learn for ages — probably since I hung up my tap shoes all those years ago. Stoked by countless images from Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, I figured I would be sailing across the dance floor in no time.
As I drove to the studio the next town over, the radio blared dire warnings about record-cold temperatures and wind chills. I tried in vain to avoid thinking “hell freezing over” and whether this might be an omen.
Here I am, a woman of a certain age, graying and succumbing to that cruel bitch Gravity despite hefty applications of Spandex. Don’t tell Catherine, but I was wearing a pedometer for heaven’s sake, to goad me along on the day’s recommended 10,000 steps.
The truth is, I needed more than cute strappy dance shoes to right my cool factor.
Daydreams of how I’d be twirling my way through the evening soothed me. In my mind, I was Ginger Rogers.
The studio mirror told a decidedly different story.
Once I spied my reflection, I understood why Adrian had artfully positioned me away from it.
What’s more, fighting the “mirror image” default from teaching Jazzercise proved trickier than I thought it would be. In class, I use my left when queueing right, and vice versa. When Adrian said right, he meant right. I’m sure he was puzzled by my blank stares.
Plus, it was very strange to be so up close and personal with a perfect stranger, charming though he is.
As with nearly everything I do, I was my own worst enemy, thinking too hard, needing to breathe and relax.
Still, I managed short introductions to the cha-cha, swing, rumba and waltz, and along the way experienced a few — very brief — “I’ve got it” moments.
It was reminiscent of the rush of learning to ride a two-wheeler without training wheels. And like my first big-girl biking experience, which ended with the front tire kissing the telephone pole in front of our house, those dancing flashes stopped quickly and on the wrong foot.
No matter. I had an absolute ball.
You’ll excuse me now while I box-step my way to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.