It’s Cha Cha Cha Not Calculus

The Dancing Housewife was treated to a free dinner this weekend. Thanks to the dancing husband’s musicality and innate sense of rhythm, he placed second in a dance contest and won himself a gift card to a local pizza establishment. I’m glad all those private lessons I’m taking are paying off for him. At least he shares.

In case you’re wondering, my dancing husband, Pat, did not have a sudden and unexpected change of heart. He remains resolutely unwilling to enter ballroom competitions with me. This was simply a friendly social dance contest at a shindig we attended a few weeks ago. We both entered. He placed second. I didn’t even make the finals. I’m the one in training for pro-am competitions. He’s the one who steals the show. Go figure.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not bitter. In fact, I’m proud of Pat. It’s just that this isn’t the first time I’ve done all the work and he’s gotten all the glory. Producing our sons is a prime example. They are the spitting image of their dancing father, yet I’m the one saddled with stretch marks and a leaky bladder.

Anyway, in accordance with the contest rules, entrants were randomly assigned partners. Unfortunately, I didn’t get paired with Pat, who ended up being one of three gentlemen in the entire field of male contestants capable of dancing on rhythm. My partner (let’s call him Prince Charming) was not one of those three blessed gentlemen.

The music cued.

Me: Hi. I’m Antoinette. I guess we’re partners!

Prince Charming: (Stares blankly; no evidence of personality)

Me: (…okie dokie) This is my first one of these. (Laughs nervously) I’m a little nervous .

Prince Charming: (Rolls eyes) Can you do anything fancy?

Me: (Did he just roll his eyes?) Sorry. I’m a beginner so if you could keep it Bronze that’d be great.

Prince Charming: (Under his breath) Great. (Sighs) Can you keep a beat?

Me(Did he…) Yes. I can keep a beat.

The dance was cha cha cha. The rhythm pattern: three whole beats and two half beats as in one-two-three-cha-cha-cha-two-three-cha-cha-cha and so on or if you like numbers better one-two-three-four-and-one-two-three-four-and so on and so forth. Ironically, it took about two beats for me to discover Mr. Can You Keep A Beat (formerly Prince Charming) was… you guessed it… miserably incapable of KEEPING A BEAT.

I’m not kidding, this arrogant, insolent know-it-all had the nerve to ask ME if I could keep a beat when he could not, if his life depended on it, stay on rhythm. Count ’em: three whole beats plus two half beats equals four beats. One-two-three-four-and-one-two-three-cha-cha-cha. For the love of Pete it’s a cha cha cha not calculus!

So I was confused because I couldn’t decide whether it was better to 1) plaster a smile on my face and politely follow my partner’s wretchedly off rhythm lead; or 2) ignore the concept of partner synchronicity and selfishly proceed to dance ON rhythm, ON my own. As it turns out, neither of the aforementioned options was the acceptable protocol and evidently what I should have done was to stop mid-dance and affably point out that HE was dancing off rhythm and suggest that WE start again.

Should have, would have, could have, but did not follow acceptable protocol because I became distracted as Mr. Can You Keep A Beat began to pepper a series of spasmodic leg flicks and bizarre tango-esque poses throughout our dance. The first time he did it, I mistook it for a bungled basic and even went so far as to spontaneously lurch forward in an effort to catch his impending fall, but then he did it again. And again. And again. And it became obvious his leg flicks and tango-esque poses were intentionally executed and very likely the sort of “fancy” moves Mr. Can You Keep A Beat was disappointed to discover were not a part of my repertoire.

Fortunately the music stopped just in time for me to keep from biting through my tongue as I fiercely attempted to keep from shouting, “For the love of Pete it’s cha cha cha not calculus and it’s not tango either so quit flicking and posing!” Like I said, fortunately the music stopped and instead I simply said, “Thank you for the dance.”

Neither Mr. Can You Keep A Beat nor I made the final round. I’m sure he blames me, but I’m not one to make excuses. Plus, notwithstanding my all-of-the-work-and-none-of-the-glory schtick, every once in a while this dancing housewife needs a trip around the dance floor with an arrogant, insolent know-it-all to remind her just how lucky she is.

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