I suppose everyone has their fears. I would like to think that there is not much that I am afraid of but it turns out there was quite a bit. I have spent a large majority of my adult life making it a point to overcome those fears. Interestingly enough the less difficult ones have taken me a longer time to get to.
When I was a child I used to dance up a storm. My favorite was the Ghostbusters soundtrack. I would put it on and dance around the house in my little Ghostbusters t-shirt. There was really no technique or specific steps that were being adhered to but it was fun and that is all you care about when you were a child.
As I grew up and became more aware of what people around me thought of me, I suddenly was not as willing to spaz out to the Ghostbusters soundtrack or anything else for that matter. At some point though I realized that I really liked girls and that girls really liked dancing. I had a best of R&B CD that I used to put on in the living room when no one was home so that I could attempt to practice my moves. Unfortunately for me I did not have any proper instruction and I eventually became frustrated and gave up.
Not having the ability to dance became a very big issue for me. It was awkward to be a social functions where dancing was occurring. Sometimes even dates were awkward if there was a live band, DJ and/or a dance floor. In high school I specifically sought out girls that weren’t really into dancing. This seriously limited my options. This was such an issue for me in my teen years that I once even considered marrying a girl simply based on the fact that she hated dancing.
As I moved into adulthood dancing sort of became a non issue. I played guitar in bands so I was the one making the music. Eventually when my musical career came to an end I was able to pull off moves with girls without ever getting into a situation where dancing would be necessary.
As fate would have it, I ended up falling in love with and marrying a girl who was a prolific swing dancer. She never pressured me to dance. I would go to clubs with her and she would dance with random people. I never had a problem with it and I never got jealous. It was something that she loved to do and I was not going to stop her.
One day the idea hit me that it might be fun if I learned how to swing dance and surprised her with it. I went to a local dance studio in Las Vegas and met with a cute little swing dance girl named Diamond. Although I thought that this might be a crash and burn situation I was determined to at least give it a solid effort. I forked over the $1000 for 8 private lessons.
Now I don’t mean to gloat here but it turned out that I was a natural at dancing. At least I was at swing dancing. By the end of the 4th lesson I was so good that my teacher thought I was lying about never dancing before. I knew all of the basic moves in east coast swing and several advanced flourishes. Not only that but I could execute them smoothly.
Getting to the classes was a different issue all together. Since learning to dance was supposed to be a surprise to my wife I had to keep it a secret. The only time I could go to lessons though was right after work. I would go to see Diamond, dance with her for an hour and then show up at home hours late from work and smelling like stripper perfume. I would change into another shirt and blow cigarette smoke all over myself to get rid of the smell.
While I was never suspected on the being late front (I always said I had to work late) I did almost fuck myself over. I was going through my phone calendar with my wife looking over my shoulder and the word “dance” came up. I quickly said that that was the name of the room I had to be in when I worked late that day and it slid by!
Since I was getting good I thought it was time to take my evil plan to the next level. I contacted one of my wife’s friends through MySpace and explained everything to her. I asked her to call my wife and invite her to go out dancing. Then I told my wife that she was responsible for planning something for us to do on the upcoming weekend. Sure enough when the weekend came around my wife threw out 4 options one of which was dancing with her friend. Much to her surprise I said “Let’s go dancing with your friend, that sounds like fun.”
It was blues night at Boulder station casino in south Las Vegas and we were sitting at a table listening to the band play. I was practicing the dance moves silently to the music with my feet under the table. My wife was looking around for her friend who had already told me that she would not be able to show up. She was starting to get upset because she thought that she was stood up. Suddenly I looked across the room like I saw something. I got up and started walking. She followed me. I turned around and grabbed my wife’s hand, looked her in the eye, and told her that her friend was not coming and that I had not been working late. You could see the look of devastation in her eyes as her first thought was that I was cheating on her with her friend. Then I said I have been learning how to dance and I started dancing with her. We made it through about 4 bars of music before she was crying and we had to sit down at the table. We danced to one slow song later that night.
Now we go out swing dancing every single weekend. Every time I pick up new moves and I feel quite accomplished. I am told that my moves are smooth and fluid and no one believe that I have been dancing for such a short period of time. It feels great to finally get a hold of something like this and to be able to walk into a situation where there is dancing and hold my own. Most importantly it demonstrated to my wife how much I love her and gave us one more thing that we can enjoy with each other for the rest of our lives.