Just a dance machine
In many ways, my husband and I are quite simpatico. We both love wandering through parks, yard sales and farmers’ markets on Saturday mornings. We enjoy cooking and traveling, keep our debates friendly and don’t get too ruffled by politics. Spencer laughs at my ridiculous puns, and I try to follow whatever electrical project he is tackling in the garage.
We both love to learn — albeit about completely different subjects — and, if combined into a single person, could probably rule “Jeopardy!” As it stands, we take turns yelling out answers in crazy subjects, both eying the other with newfound respect when they somehow stump the champion.
I once read that the secret to a lasting marriage is “turning toward” instead of “turning away.” Even if we’re not enamored with power tools, hot air balloons, reality TV or Jane Austen, we take an interest because our partner is interested. This translates to Spencer listening to my dramatic stories while I walk with him around ham radio festivals, for example. Somehow, it all works.
There is one great dividing line in the Johnson household, however — one difference that cannot be resolved. Generally, my way of “dealing” with it is simply to avoid situations in which we’ll be tested.
But you can’t stay off the dance floor forever.
At the Saturday wedding of a dear friend’s daughter, I knew the inevitable was coming. Spencer can only keep his dancing shoes still for so long. We stayed seated through the “Electric Slide,” but peer pressure eventually pulled us to our feet. Before I could object, planting my heels like a dog, Spencer led me to the floor . . . and in front of a videographer’s tripod.
Like so much in life, dancing is all about confidence. No one cares what you’re doing if you’re doing it with passion.
Me? Well, I guess I was passionate about edging closer to the dessert display. But whatever it takes, right?
Despite years of dance classes, I never got into the groove. I’m guessing my robotic moves really started when I first swayed with a classmate at our eighth grade formal. Nothing like two 13-yearolds subtly wiping their sweaty palms while out on the gym floor. All I really remember is trying to avoid eye contact during the longest 3-minute slow song of our young lives.
Though I’m not one to take myself too seriously, dancing freaks me out. I’d last attempted it at our own wedding in 2013, and I’m pretty sure I’m still recovering. My arms and legs seem to divorce the rest of my body, and I’m left publicly trying to regain their favor. Hips go one way, neck snaps another . . . and the next thing I know, I’ve combined the cha-cha and the Charleston into one misguided step. Quite a visual, I know. To make matters worse, we were dancing in the midst of the beautiful, coordinated bridal party. Everyone seemed to have a plan as I pogo-bounced by Spencer, laughing at his enthusiasm during a Pitbull song. The man truly dances like nobody’s watching, and I mean that as a compliment.
“Relax!” Spence called out, spinning me on the dimly-lit dance floor. He tried shaking out my limbs like we do when encouraging our son — stiff-armed and serious — to crawl. And it took a while, but . . . I did. With diet soda alone in my sys- tem, I stopped thinking about what I must look like to others. Spencer and I were out for the evening with Oliver safe at home with my parents, and we were celebrating the wedding of two high school sweethearts many years in the making.
Everyone who knew us saw this as our “date night” — a concept I didn’t understand before becoming a parent. How, I’d wonder, can you go on a “date” with your spouse? I mean, isn’t every night a date night? To which I now think: ha! Despite a wet forecast, Sam and Will’s beautiful wedding couldn’t be dampened by rain. The reception was the party I know they’d hoped for, and Spence and I belted out the lyrics to “Uptown Funk” with the best of ’em.
When we tiptoed through our door after 10 p.m., I tried remembering the last time I’d worn something other than yoga pants on a Saturday night. It felt like we were sneaking into our own house, trying not to wake a teething baby. And there we found my parents, waiting up like they had after so many parties. Seeing them was a comfort I didn’t know I’d missed.
“Thanks for making me dance,” I told Spence.
Sometimes you don’t know what you need until Prince comes on.