Kicking and Screaming

For those of you assuming I drag my poor husband, kicking and screaming, to the dance studio, think again. He likes to dance as much as I do. In fact, our very first date back in 1982 was an eight-hour dance marathon. Apparently he fancied himself a pretty good dancer back then and figured he could impress me with his snappy moves. He was right. We went all the way that night… as in WE DANCED THE ENTIRE 8 HOURS WITHOUT STOPPING. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) See? I even have the t-shirt to prove it.

Anyway, after more than 30 years, I still think Pat’s dance moves are pretty, darn snappy. So snappy, in fact, that I tried to convince him to enter amateur ballroom dance competitions with me. He refused. Flat out. Period. End of discussion.

While we happily continue to attend group dance classes together, I am resigned to the fact that no amount of dragging 2013 National Mastersor kicking and screaming on my part is going to get Pat to agree to compete. At first I thought the idea of wearing those fancy dance pants was the main obstacle, but then I remembered he brandishes himself in a skimpy, skintight singlet when he competes in Olympic Weight Lifting events so I know he’s not bashful. He simply does not share my desire to chase the mirror ball.

The thing is, I desperately want to give competing a shot, but since finding another amateur partner appeals to me about as much as having a colonoscopy, the only remaining option is to dance pro-am (short for professional-amateur, denoting a partnership in which one dancer is professional and one is amateur).

Lots of students train and compete with professionals at the studio and the logical choice of partner for me is the instructor from whom Pat and I have taken private lessons as a couple. His name is Newell DeFreest. Newell is a fabulous teacher, not to mention an incredibly gifted dancer with a world title to his credit, but the truth is, as I began to consider competing pro-am, the idea of dancing with Newell made me a little uncomfortable.

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not like the guy has body odor or bad breath or picks his nose or suffers from excessive flatulence or anything like that. He’s not a psycho nut job either. He’s just young. Very young. Very, very young. I’m talking so young that, minus the genetic impossibility of my ever giving birth to someone who would eventually end up over six feet tall with blond hair and blue eyes, I could be his mother. He’s 23 and if that’s not enough, his nickname around the studio is Babycakes. You’ve got to admit, a 52 year-old woman making a habit of dancing with a 23 year-old “babycake” is a little weird. Creepy even.

Evidently, not. At least not around the ballroom anyway. Sure, a good-looking (straight) guy like Babycakes is going to attract his fair share of coquettish amateur dance hotties, but it’s not uncommon to see young pros like him toting bedazzled old broads around the dance floor as well. As it turns out, Newell had five (I counted) pro-am students over the age of 50 and once I realized this, I gathered the nerve to ask him if he might have room in his schedule for another. You’ll never guess what happened next. NEWELL AGREED TO TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE OF TRAINING AND COMPETING WITH ME! I’ve said it before and I’l say it again: Dancing-with-the-stars-schmancing-with-the-stars! I really am chasing my own mirror ball now!

As you might imagine, there is no shortage of jokes containing words like cougar and boy-toy from my non-dancing friends when my new adventure comes up in conversation and I off-handedly disclose Newell’s age. However, in spite of the creepy-weird factor, our partnership has not been awkward at all.

At this point I’ve been working with Newell for about a month and if I set aside the occasional impulse to blurt out things like, “Clean your room!” and “You need to eat more protein!” and the intense urge I have to remind him to flush and wash his hands whenever he heads for the bathroom, I hardly notice the age difference at all. Fortunately for both of us, Newell is a good sport so there’s been no need for much in the way of dragging or kicking and screaming from either of us… so far. Then again, it’s only been a month.

Copyright © 2014 The Dancing Housewife by Antoinette D. Datoc   All Rights Reserved.

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