Just a dance ma­chine

Maryland Independent - - Classified - Twit­ter: @RIGHTMEG

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. 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-year-olds 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 chacha 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 — stif­farmed and se­ri­ous — to crawl.

And it took a while, but . . . I did.

With diet soda alone in my sys­tem, 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.

PHOTO BY BIRDS OF A FEATHER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

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