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Jay

I’m Jay, and I have never been to the My Time Dance Studio before tonight. As I entered, the interior projected a garish 1930s Art Deco motif. Greenish, glow-in-the-dark, semilucent plastic tubing wrapped around the hand railings separating one sitting area from the next. Tiki Torch electric lights are evenly spaced within the sitting areas.

As I walked to an empty table, the dance floor felt well-made and had a slight dancer’s bounce to it.

The dance band matched the studio’s interior. It was the big band sound from the 1940s as played by an Art Deco seven-man band. The bass drum had a strand of green lights embedded around its circumference that flashed when the drum is struck. For ballroom dancers, however, the Crooner Seven Band embodied the blessed sound of the foxtrot, waltz, and swing.

Donna

I’m Donna. Kathy, Stella, Marta, and I are going to the My Time Dance Studio for an evening of dance and banter. We entered, paid ten dollars each, got our free soft drink, granted hugs and hellos to acquaintances, and found a table.

Marta, our Brazilian samba specialist, started grumbling because the Crooner Seven Band is samba-less.

      “Oh, look; it’s the band with the flashing green light drum,” she said derisively.

 “Better the flashing green light drum than the flashing red light blouse you’re wearing,” Stella countered.

“You know what my momma says, Miss S, ‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it.’”

“Well, yes,” Kathy interjected, “we know what your momma says. So, by all means, please sit at the front of our table so you can lean over to adjust your shoes when interesting men pass.

Jay

As I settled in, I began to search the room for women to dance with. I saw a table with four women sitting together. I scanned the table to see if any of the women fit my dancer profile.

I don’t mean “profile” as though I was shopping for a roast. I am fifty-two healthy years old, so I look for women forty to fifty-five years old. I am six feet tall and weigh 170 pounds. I prefer to dance with women who are slender and have a matching top and bottom.

Donna

I knew when Stella gave Marta a hard time about her red-light blouse that we were going to have a good time. No one seemed tired from work and childcare or from babysitting their husbands.

Only Stella and I don’t have a husband to babysit. The other two only talk a good game when men are the subject.

            It was a divorce, five years ago, that paved my way to dance. I wanted to meet healthy, active men. I enjoyed the ballet and jazz dance classes Mom had me take in junior high school. Consequently, I found myself at the Let’s Dance Studio in the capable hands of Martin, my dance instructor.

Martin was blond, tall, and lean. His dancing trousers outlined a most interesting convex curve as they draped downward from his back. There lingered between us an implied promise that something more than dance would be explored after I made one more payment for gold-level lessons.

My mom asked me why I didn’t try to find a guy in my accounting firm to dance with, instead of paying for dance lessons. Mom didn’t know that the men in the accounting firm were so sedentary they couldn’t generate a movement in the restroom, much less on a dance floor. Martin moved me as in cha, cha, and cha.

As was predestined, Martin transferred his primetime attention to a wealthy woman with beautiful silver hair, a surgically supplemented face and wrinkled, dried-up skin sagging from the back of her upper arms. Consequently, I abandoned the warm tutelage of the Let’s Dance Studio.

Jay

 My eyes naturally settled on a woman at the table of four. She was tall, slender, and in her forties. Her medium length hair was coal black. Her face was actress thin and, to her credit, I saw no public tattoos. She wore a simple black dress, and her jewelry was blingless.

A man approached the table and asked her to dance. I had met the man before, and he was a nice guy. He was, however, a little chubby and had a comb-over that rivaled the mane of an unkempt horse.

Donna

Captain Marta gave the up-periscope order, and we began to slyly scope-out the room for prospective dancer partners. Four tables from us sat a man I’d never seen before. He was tall, well-proportioned, had salt and pepper hair, and was about fifty. Eight eyes inauspiciously swept over him. The whispered verdicts contained three “Okays” and one “Hell yes.”

Sonar Kathy reported a ping from the mystery man. It seems that he was also checking us out. In particular, Kathy thought he was looking at me.

The Crooner Seven Band started off with Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust.” I saw Bob stand up to look for a dance partner. I gave him a nod, so he came straight to our table and asked me to dance. I have known Bob for several years. He’s a good guy and knows everybody, but he can’t dance.

I digress.

Bob’s bald. He has sixty-one hair strands he uses to cover his entire head. Why do men do that? Women know that male sex hormone causes baldness. A woman is lucky to find a fifty-plus-year-old man who still has sex hormone. If it can pluck the hair off of his head, it can knock the socks off of me.

As Bob rocked me back and forth, I ask him if he knew the mystery man.

“Sure, I know him, that’s Jay. I know him from the Dance Palace. He’s a really good dancer.”

“Is he straight?” I asked.

“I think so. He used to go with a woman named Beth, but I heard they broke up.”

“Is he a groper, Bob?”

I digress again.

What in the name of rap music makes a man think he can turn-on a woman by clamping his chest against her breasts and wedging his knee between her legs as they dance? The next time this happens to me, I swear, I am going to fake an orgasm just like Meg Ryan did in the restaurant scene in When Harry Met Sally. I’ll just stand there clinging to the man, yelling in an ever-rising crescendo, “Oh, yes, Oh, yes,” with my head arched back and eyes sealed by pleasure.

“No,” Bob replied, “everything I heard about him says he’s a gentleman.”

After I returned to our table, Kathy said, “Well, (Kathy is the holder of our collective well) what’s the verdict?”

“Bob says he’s an okay guy.”

Jay

Stardust ended and next up was Andy Williams’s version of “Moon River.”  “Moon River” is my favorite waltz and the waltz is my favorite dance. “Moon River” exudes movement so I was immediately driven to the table of four by an insatiable rhythmic instinct.

As I approached, I bent over at her side and said, “Excuse me.” When she turned to look at me, I continued, “Would you like to dance?”

 Her sapphire blue eyes momentarily looked away toward one of her friends, but then returned to my eyes as she said, “Yes.”

As I stepped down onto the dance floor, I said, “I’m Jay.”

She said, “Hi, I’m Donna.”

I said, “I love this song.” She smiled in response.

The dance had just started, so the floor was not crowded. Assuming we could dance beyond patty-cake level, we had plenty of room to stretch out.

As my hand went to her shoulder, she automatically assumed the classic waltz position as she demurely turned her head to look down her left shoulder, rather than over my right shoulder. I knew then that this lady could waltz. I waited until a new measure started and stepped forward in time with the downbeat, then up on my toes…two, three and then back, and down… two, three. I repeated the same step but with longer strides. She was right there with me.

I began with a left-hand turn for three counts and then a spin on my right foot for the back half of the step. Donna felt me anchor my right foot to rotate her on that point, and she responded in kind.

I began to feel as though we were ice skating.

We rotated into two right-hand turns and then directly into a chassé. The couple behind us closed the distance with us when we slowed into the chassé, so I began simple, direct line progressive steps to regain that distance. As Donna moved backward in the progressive steps, she ad-libbed a subtle rumba hip waggle as she winked and smiled at me. I rolled my eyes at her improvisation and returned her smile.

 Donna

The Crooner Seven started to play “Moon River.”

“Donna,” Stella whispered, “don’t look up, but I think Mr. Okay Guy is coming your way.”

I kept my eyes down. Jay stopped at my side and asked me to dance. I glanced at Marta to show some hesitation and then said, “Yes.”

As we stepped onto the dance floor, he said, “I’m Jay.”

I said, “Hi, I’m Donna.”

As we stood ready to start dancing, I was confronted by the most serious question women face on a ballroom dance floor. Can Jay lead me in this waltz? Some men know dance steps, but don’t know how to lead. If a man can’t lead, I can’t follow, and we can’t dance. Jay has to take command. Ballroom dancing is not a feminist activity.

The moment Jay stepped forward, I was gently locked into his grasp by the frame formed between his shoulders and hands. He knew what he was doing. I had no problem knowing what he wanted me to do. We did several spinning left-hand turns into a chassé and then outward into right-hand turns.

Jay didn’t do anything fancy. He led me into simple patterns, but he danced those steps elegantly and in perfect time with the music.

 I began to feel as though our bodies had but one mind.

As “Moon River” wound down, I began a silly-shuttle hip wiggle to see if Jay took himself too seriously. He simply smiled and rolled his eyes as if to admonish me. Good.

Jay

We had danced for a little over two minutes when “Moon River” slowed and then ended. I looked at Donna and nodded my head in approval. I took her hand to walk her back to her table.

It was just a dance…a short-lived joint venture in movement. Nevertheless, we danced well together, and I will ask her to dance again.

Donna

Jay walked me back to our table and thanked me for the dance. I thanked him in return. None of the ladies said a word until Jay was safely out of earshot. Then Kathy said, (what else?), “Well?”

I feigned hesitation so as not to appear too anxious to answer and then, with a sly smile, said, “He’ll ask me to dance again.”

 

Biography

Jay Hogan loves to dance. His tango can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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