I’m always looking for a new adventure, so I recently signed up Scott and I for ballroom dance classes. Sounds corny, but ballroom dancing has never been hotter, thanks to the latest reality show hit Dancing With The Stars. But the Olympic speed skater and dancing champion Apollo Anton Ohno is not my inspiration for taking a group dance class. I just want to spend some quality time with my hubby, get a little exercise, have fun, and learn how to swing my partner without making fools of ourselves. Bottom line, I want to feel light on my feet without counting calories.
So, one hour a week, we agree to trip the light fantastic and try not to trip each other. It’s time to polish some of our rusty dance moves that until now consist of the bump from the original disco era. Even at my own wedding reception, I stumbled during the electric slide and blamed my clumsiness on too much champagne.
Over the years, slow dancing can get a little dull when you don’t know what you’re doing. Basically, many married couples hold hands and sway with an instrumental version of Ribbon in the Sky in the background. Sometimes, Scott and I manage to talk about practical things like the grocery list or the next day’s dentist appointment while we hold each other close. This closeness is nice, but we have the potential to do so much more on the slippery parquet dance floor.
Needless to say, I’m ready to spice up our dance repertoire and try something hot like the salsa — not the kind I dip a tortilla chip into. I want to taste some of the fancy footwork that makes Latin ballroom dance so exciting to watch. Come on, if Jerry Springer can learn how to waltz and strut his stuff on television, anything’s possible. I look forward to learning the foxtrot, samba, cha-cha, and all the other dances that make everything old seem new again. Too bad we missed the first four classes because of a baseball game, a Jewish holiday, a teacher conference, and the fact that I forget to schedule the adult activity in my day planner.
When we finally make it to our first session at the nearby studio, I feel out of place right away. First of all, we are late because Scott never gets home from work on time, and if he does, then he barely swallows his macaroni and cheese before we have to dash out the door again. Our instructor is a professional dancer named Amanda, who is the size of Tinker Bell and looks half my age. She always has a big smile and makes us feel welcome despite our tardiness.
We partner up right away. Unsurprisingly, the “ladies” outnumber the “gentlemen,” so the female students have to dance with each other when we rotate partners. Amanda reminds us to stand up straight, keep our arms strong, lift our chest, and squeeze our abs. The perfect posture feels so unnatural when I slump most of the day. To make matters worse, the mirrored walls don’t lie either. Everywhere I turn I see my clumsy reflection laughing at me. I can’t help but feel self-conscious. While the other students practice their pose and gracefully twirl, I worry what I look like. In fact, I shock myself when I notice that I left the house without brushing my hair and changing my ketchup-stained shirt. I also realize that I’m the only one wearing flip flops, while everyone else has on closed-toe shoes. I quickly learn my lesson when Scott smashes my toes.
One of my favorite numbers is the merengue because the directions are basically eight steps to the right, eight steps to the left, eight steps in a circle, and repeat. We shake our hips, stroke each other’s arms, and start to feel the music. It gets kind of steamy during this Latin favorite if you know what I mean. Then again, the air conditioner is broken. When Scott and I gaze into each other’s eyes, I feel like we’re on a romantic date. In my ear, he whispers, “You have lettuce in your teeth.”
So much for romance. At least we know the Hora.
“Mishegas of Motherhood” is the creation of Ellie S. Grossman, a St. Louis freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom who never stays home. Her stories are inspired by the real life of her family, including her two children, toy poodle named Luci, and her husband, but not necessarily in that order. Feel free to send any comments, prayers or recipes to: [email protected] or visit her new website at www.mishegasofmotherhood.com.