Once upon a time there was a housewife and her husband, the doctor, who became competitive ballroom dancers because they wanted a hobby they could enjoy together once their youngest son headed off to college. This is their story.
One day, The Dancing Housewife was stopped at a traffic light at the entrance to her neighborhood when the word BALLROOM screamed at her from a sign across the intersection. She had been driving through that intersection for nearly ten years so it struck her as odd that she’d never noticed the blue sign with its enormous white letters before that moment. Impulsively, she pulled into the parking lot, marched through the doors of the establishment and bought a gift card for an introductory package of dance lessons. She drove straight home and promptly stuffed the thing into her husband’s (a.k.a. The Dancing Doc’s) Christmas stocking.
Initially their goal was to become proficient social dancers. Specifically, they wanted to be able to hit the dance floor at anniversary parties, wedding receptions and the occasional fundraiser or night out on the town without making fools of themselves. For about six months they took one private lesson a week and as many group classes as their schedule and skill level permitted. I can’t recall the exact timeline, but eventually they (TRANSLATION: The Dancing Housewife) became consumed with the idea of competing.
Ar first (having no idea how serious his wife was) The Dancing Doc was completely on board. The Dancing Housewife would talk about stuff related to “when we compete” and The Dancing Doc would naively and blissfully nod right along, not really paying attention and apparently unaware that he was agreeing to things like wearing Cuban heels and crystal-studded shirts that snap in the crotch so they stay tucked into fancy dance pants.
This sort of thing went on between them for seven or eight months until one day, at the start of a private lesson, The Dancing Housewife boldly announced to their instructor that it was time to learn Bronze syllabus routines because she and the Dancing Doc had decided to compete in American style rhythm. The Dancing Doc reacted…
…like it was the first time he’d heard about the plan.
It quickly became evident to The Dancing Housewife that her husband had no intention of joining her on a competitive ballroom dance adventure. Among the reasons he cited was not having the time to practice enough to actually BE competitive. Mmmm-hmmm. As if the REAL reason had nothing to do with crystal-studded shirts that snap in the crotch. Whatever. The real reason doesn’t matter. What matters is The Dancing Housewife’s dreams of competing with her husband were dashed.
Although she was disappointed (and made sure her husband knew it) The Dancing Housewife and The Dancing Doc did not quit dancing completely. They still loved dancing with each other, continued taking lessons and were mainstays around the studio, but it just wasn’t enough to scratch The Dancing Housewife’s competitive itch.
Competing Pro-Am was not The Dancing Housewife’s idea. She only ever wanted to dance with her husband. In fact, even though The Dancing Doc persistently refused to compete, the housewife never gave up hope. She would casually bring up the idea every now and again (TRANSLATION: nag him ) and The Dancing Doc would routinely shift the conversation from Am-Am to Pro-Am. At her husband’s urging (which was clearly intended to get her off his back), The Dancing Housewife finally ended up taking a stab at Pro-Am and competed for the first time in February of 2015 . [RELATED POST: Kicking and Screaming]
I’d be lying if I told you The Dancing Housewife didn’t enjoy dancing Pro-Am. Obviously, dancing with a professional is easier than dancing with an amateur…kind of like using a crutch when you have a broken leg vs. hopping around on one foot all day. And there are other advantages too. For one thing, a really good pro can make you look like you’re a helluvalot better at dancing than you actually are. Even though she was having fun, dancing Pro-Am felt like a consolation prize because The Dancing Housewife really only ever wanted to dance with her husband.
Anyway, if you can believe it, less than five months after The Dancing Housewife got sucked – hook, line and sinker – into the whole Pro-Am kit and caboodle, The Dancing Doc decided he wanted a share in the fun. Seriously, The Dancing Doc finally said “uncle” and the pair made their competitive amateur debut at the Atlanta Ballroom Challenge in July of 2015. They have been competing happily together ever since.
The Dancing Housewife continued to dance Pro-Am and The Dancing Doc hopped on the bandwagon right along with her in order to have something to do beside twiddling his thumbs and spectating while his wife competed without him.
As it turned out, dancing Pro-Am led to significant improvement for both of them. They took some lumps in the beginning, but then they started winning. A LOT. In fact, much to everyone’s surprise, in 2016 (their final season as Pro-Ams) they won some very impressive Pro-Am events (see advantages of dancing with a pro above). You’d think all that winning would have fueled their Pro-Am goals, but the strangest thing happened. The more they won, the more their enthusiasm for Pro-Am began to wane.
The truth is the Dancing Housewife and The Dancing Doc were having way more fun dancing amateur than they were dancing Pro-Am and while there are most certainly a litany of reasons for this, the bottom line is they are better together than they are apart. If you’re lucky, 31 years of marriage and raising two kids (plus a dog and countless tropical fish) from birth to adulthood has that effect.
The Dancing Housewife and The Dancing Doc have a dear friend who began competitive ballroom dancing several years ago, after the untimely death of her beloved husband. Although she and her husband never competed, they frequently danced socially and he was a fabulous dancer.
On several occasions, this friend shared with The Dancing Housewife and The Dancing Doc that she loves to watch them dance together because it makes her happy. She is a fierce pro-am competitor, has enjoyed tremendous success and is by every measure the woman to beat at most competitions. “I’d give it all up,” she reminded The Dancing Housewife, giving her a congratulatory hug after an amateur event at this year’s Ohio Star Ball, “for one more dance with my husband.”
The Dancing Housewife and The Dancing Doc have enjoyed dancing and competing with their respective pro partners, but nothing brings them joy like dancing with each other. This is a precious gift they refuse to take for granted and so, they have chosen to take an “indefinite” break (in the spirit of never-say-never) from Pro-Am in order to spend as much time as possible dancing with each other.
There are a litany of reasons for this decision, but the bottom line is this: life is short and The Dancing Housewife only ever wanted to dance with her husband. Now that he is willing, that’s precisely what she is going to do.
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