If I had to rate my dancing ability it would fall somewhere between atrocious and nonexistent. It is no secret to those who know me well, that not only am I cringe-worthy on the dance floor, but I typically avoid it at all costs. It takes a lot of liquid courage to get me out on the dance floor, and there’s not enough booze in the world to make me believe that I’m actually smooth on the dance floor.
So when I was convinced by my coworkers to take an intro to salsa class this week, I was leery. But I figured I’d never actually been taught how to dance, so maybe that was what I was missing. Maybe that would make me look decent instead of the whirlwind of arms and legs flying random directions. I’m a nerd who likes to absorb new knowledge like a sponge when I can get my hands on something, so I felt like with proper training, I would at least be able to pick up the basics. I was in dire need of a good time, so I figured at the very least it would be a funny tale to tell…and I’m a sucker for a good story.
And it had been an epically a rough week in the life of Carly Lauck up to this point:
I received a water bill that was absurd for one human being that I’m still trying to finagle my way out of.
My washer broke down, and I was left with standing dirty water in the machine for two days before someone could come fix it. Since my water bill was high, I stared at the stagnant mess figuring that was basically like flushing a five dollar bill down the toilet.
I had a miscommunication with a friend that ended with me getting lost in the wee hours of the morning driving around roads that were closed in Seattle and getting dirty looks from construction workers (they wouldn’t dare yell at me…this is Seattle after all).
I took my car in for a tune up and it was diagnosed as an unsalvageable death trap.
I took the bus the next day, as I am now car-less, and a crazy lady decided I’d be the perfect person to talk to and spoke to me about the new James Bond movie, at which point I wanted to yell “Spoiler Alert” since I haven’t seen it yet. Then she proceeded to tell me about how Daniel Craig isn’t really acting, he is basically James Bond in real life. She said it’s all on Google.
When I got home after 8pm and realized I needed to run to the local Walgreen’s, I was quick to forget the “we don’t give out bags in stores in Seattle” rule to encourage you to bring your own, and ended up walking home in the rain with a box of tampons under my arm saying, “Thanks a lot Seattle.”
After a week of stress and no sleep, I looked out my window at a dreary, rainy Seattle night, wondering how much heat I would take at work if I bailed at the last minute on the salsa class. I didn’t know that I had it in me. But I decided to rally and go anyways.
We made a huge circle, and for the first hour we would learn the basic moves. My coworker had told me not to worry, because there were always a plethora of men there, so even though you are constantly switching partners regardless of who you came with, I would never be without a partner.
I quickly felt like I was at a middle school dance when all the single ladies were made to raise their hands, and men were to choose their first partner, and I was left partner-less and alone. I honestly couldn’t blame them. I figured I must have reeked of Elaine Benes style dance ability. They must have known I was a terrible dancer before I even got started.
So I started learning the lesson solo for the first round until we took turns around the circle, switching partners, apologizing for my profusely bad ability to learn.
I was stepping on toes, having my toes stepped on, touching cold clammy hands and warm sweaty ones. This was not my idea of fun, but every now and again I got paired with a sympathetic partner who was a good leader and could give me some tips. After the hour was over, I felt like I had gotten a hang of it.
Was I going to be on Dancing with the Stars anytime soon, dancing with Derek Hough? Unlikely. Seeing as I have no star status and little dance skill, I don’t see that in the near future, but I’m sure I’d make for great comic relief on TV as the first girl to fall on her face and get a bloody nose mid dance. But after the class I felt I could at least fake my way through the basics. And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t enjoyable.
Then the real dance began. The room became packed with dancers of all calibers, and men started asking women to dance. It was fascinating to watch, and I loved the idea that these people came out every Saturday for a dance session. How cool would that be if I was actually a decent dancer?
The joke, however, was on the men that chose me to dance to who were skilled in any way, when they quickly learned that it was all I could do to keep the basic steps down.
It should also be noted that my bad dancer scent was potent, as the only men asking me to dance were in their 60’s and above. And that was starting to become a little too creepy for my liking.
Overall it was fun and fascinating to watch, but I’d like to see if they have a remedial class for those of us who are a bit clumsy and challenged in the dance department. That is clearly where I would find my people.
After a few hours there, I received a text from a friend that was in a bar a few blocks away. I was having a bad week, and I was not really feeling up to socialization after this night of rejection and old creepers. But I hadn’t seen the group of friends that was going out in weeks, so I figured I’d say hello for fifteen minutes before heading home.
I was greeted with laughs and hugs from old friends, and I was quickly set at ease and telling my klutz stories of the past few weeks, all of whom appreciate and accept me despite my inability to dance and my potential to get involved in all sorts of awkward situations.
I stayed with them for a few hours, enjoying their company and laughing, thinking to myself that as hard as it gets our here sometimes, I am lucky to have found a few people who can laugh with me, despite the fact the my life sometimes appears to be falling apart at the hinges.