John, I’m Only (Cowboy) Dancing
I’ve always been the one that leads, so this could take some adjusting on my part. That said, I’m more than up for the challenge. The rewards are huge; for there’s nothing better than two-stepping with my baby! (Okay, maybe one thing better.)
Lee’s Liquor Lounge (101 N. Glenwood, Minneapolis, MN), long a friend of live music, hosts a free GLBT Country Barn Night every Sunday night. If you go early, you can get a dance lesson and learn the latest line dance steps. Lee’s is a great time; a clean joint, open, friendly, well-lit, with plenty of reasonably priced drinks to be had. You can even get a pizza.
Things were in full swing by the time the boyfriend and I arrived. A couple of women we play board games with were meeting friends there and invited us down. The boyfriend had been there many times before and knew a lot about the place, which surprised me a bit as he’d never struck me as the country music type. But then, he’d demonstrated his ‘tush push’ on more than one occasion – and I gotta tell you – the boy has got it going on!
Decked out in a pair skintight black jeans that wrapped his hot ass, thighs, and calves perfectly, a tight black tee showing off his massive arms, and his size 12 cowboy boots emblazoned with orange flames, dude looked downright intimidating, as in, so hot I might stare all night, but never work up the nerve to approach him. Thankfully, for once, I had the inside track (yay, me!), so I wouldn’t be spending the evening as the gawkiest wallflower in the juke joint.
Nope. I’d be dancing with this hunk.
We sat on the ‘girls’ side. Apparently the bar, on the dance side, is divided – gay guys on the far end of the dance floor, ladies in the front half. I spent my first half hour sipping my drink, making small talk, and watching the line dancers. Their skill levels ranged from the commanding and fleet to the totally clueless. It looked like such good fun, I wanted to join, but couldn’t work up the nerve to go out there and make a fool of myself.
Instead, the boyfriend and I waited for a slower-paced two step number. The line dancers drifted away as couples filled the floor.
And there it was – the question and issue that would haunt us the rest of the evening: who leads?
I gave following a shot. It was a mixed bag. He had to stop several times and remind me who was in charge. The next song was a waltz and I think I took the lead. We did a little better, I thought, but was then told that I was not allowed to make faces while dancing (damn). We sat out the faster numbers and before long the line dancers turned another set. It was fun to watch.
Then the floor cleared and it was couples time again. We tried another two-step.
Okay, admittedly – I am out of practice. I haven’t danced with anyone in ages. In fact, I can’t remember the last time. And let’s face it, couple dancing is very intimate and, as I recall, anytime you have a new partner there are adjustments to be made by both parties. You have to listen to one another’s bodies and respond to the appropriate touches. (Does this sound familiar?)
So, it wasn’t smooth sailing, but then, it wasn’t a train wreck, either. I remain encouraged. I believe we have lots of potential.
Of course, the boyfriend gets asked to dance by one of the better couples dancers – a tall, dark, handsome, thin gent with some nice stubble going on and some great moves on the floor. I watch as they twirl about in tight, florid circles, looking like they’ve danced together before.
Which they probably have; the boyfriend gave me the 411 on all the regulars, even the ones he’d gone on dates with. Insecure me, for once, didn’t feel threatened in the slightest. This is a nice, friendly community. Very open. Very sweet. Very real.
I’m still trying to determine if I’m the jealous type. See, I’ve never dated anyone younger than myself, and something tells me that plays into this a bit. But I’m not sure how much. Or if such things bother me at all.
And they all seemed to know one another. In fact, the moment we arrived, a couple the boyfriend knew, but hadn’t seen in ages, swooped in and tried to find out what was new in the boyfriend’s life. I think they were trying to figure out who I was in the mix, but the boyfriend didn’t say anything, so I kept mum, too.
The faster two-step dances ended, and the line dancers returned to the floor. It was time for the ‘tush push’ and I encouraged the boyfriend to hit the floor. Wow. Let me tell you, that was another revelation. When that man crouches down and forward for an eight count of pelvic thrusts? Whew! Call 911, because a fire just done broke out on that dance floor.
Damn, he looked good.
I resolve right then and there to get my ass to the bar early next Sunday so I can start taking those free classes they offer. I don’t think of myself as being competitive, but maybe that plays in there more than I’m willing to admit.
We get to dance a few more. And, no, I never quite get it right, but I’m not losing hope.
The next night we text back and forth a bit about it. I tell him how much fun I had and he tells me I have to stop fighting him when he leads. So we compromise; I get to lead until I know what I’m doing and then, maybe I will be relaxed enough to let him drive.
I don’t think of myself as controlling. But dancing is an art (even the most casual dancing), and I do tend to have strong opinions when it comes to any kind of performing art. Hopefully I’ll just relax and stop being all neurotic about this.
That said, I am excited to finally have found someone to dance with. Dancing was never high on my priorities list when looking for a mate, but that doesn’t mean I don’t really appreciate this opportunity.
I’ve been couple dancing ever since I can remember. My parents used to drag all us kids, dressed in identical, matching outfits, to all the polka festivals each year. So the polka and the waltz come naturally to me. But I was always the one who leads, so I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I have ‘issues’ with following. But it’s nothing I can’t learn.
I’m so excited and grateful that dancing might be part of my life again.
And that’s true of a lot of things in the past four months. I’m playing guitar and piano again. Singing, too. Trying new restaurants and attending events I would never have before. Playing board games and video games and being exposed to many things that I sort of denied myself before. And all this has swept in to replace all the casual sex I used to try and fill the void with.
Well, the void is filled. I feel more alive, more real than I have in years.
Now I just have to work on my two-step and my poker face. Will I succeed?
Well, it’s something I really, really want, so…
…I like my odds.