I purchased gift cards for Jim and myself to take a Beginner Ballroom Dancing class.

Three and a half years ago.

Yes, you read that correctly…three and a half years ago.

The idea was that we would learn how to do simple dancing so we could dance *together* at the older boy’s Bar Mitzvah in July 2005, rather than just me doing the “Cha Cha Slide” with friends while Jim socialized, off the dance floor.

Well, we totally couldn’t make it work, to get the lessons done before July. We were too busy.

I kept checking with the dance studio to see when the new sessions were starting, and we always had one activity or another with the kids and couldn’t fit in a standing date for five weeks in a row.

As it got closer to the younger boy’s Bar Mitzvah in February of this year, we really tried hard to fit it in…no dice.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago I checked the schedule and much to my surprise, we could actually make the first four lessons. Lesson number five takes place while Jim and the boys are on their boy scout summer trip for a week. Deciding that four lessons were way better than none, I signed us up.

Tonight was our first lesson, and it was definitely interesting. There were eleven couples in this little studio, and it was nice to see that we were about the average age in the room. Okay, really? We were probably older than the average by a little bit, but humor me. The instructor was the studio owner and she was very into joking around about how traditionally, women drag men to these lessons. She seemed to be right, as far as everyone’s body language went. The women all had smiles on, and most of the men had that deer-in-the-headlights look going for them.

In her introduction to what we’d be learning over the next five weeks (merengue, foxtrot, waltz, samba, tango), she said something that, surprisingly, stopped my excitement dead in its tracks. Something I should have expected, but never saw it coming.

“I am going to have you switch dance partners very often in this class. You need to learn how to dance with all different kinds of people.”

WHAAAA?

I felt myself immediately getting the hives. I had an inner dialogue that was going crazy:

~”The idea of taking dance lessons together was to do an activity together.”
~”I do not have any plans to dance the tango with anyone other than Jim.”
~”I am really freaked out right now.”

It was amazing that, for being a pretty outgoing person, I had a hard time processing this statement. This declaration of what we were going to have to do shut me down a little bit. If you are reading this and thinking, “Wow, she’s being ridiculous and a bit dramatic right now”, consider this:

Jim and I started dating when I had just turned 16, and I have not been in that close proximity with another man (except for the occasional “nice to see you” kind of hug), ever. If you need to do the math, I am 39 years old right now. Now do you understand?

Anyway, I vowed that I would stay open-minded about the class and participated as the instructor expected us to. It was completely bizarre for me to dance with the four men that I danced with. I couldn’t look at their faces for more than a second, and as soon as we would finish our little dance segment, I released their hands from mine immediately. We ended up dancing with strangers for way longer than we danced with our partners.

I have to admit, it was still fun: the dancing part, that is. This activity is right up my alley, being an aerobics junkie and group fitness instructor. All of the dance instructor’s talk about “8 counts” and such was very comfortable for me.

When we left to go home, we walked out together, hand-in-hand.

“What’d you think?” Jim asked me.
“It was okay,” I said. “I don’t like dancing with other people.”
“Me neither,” he said.
“I mean, I’ve never been that close to other men!” I exclaimed.
And then, he–as usual–made me laugh:
“I know! Me neither!”

I’ll keep you posted…I’ve got to go practice my merengue!