Dancing for My Life, Part 2

Continued from yesterday.

elegant-barn-decorating-ideas-with-barn-dance-decoration-ideas-10Traditional dance is, by modern standards, inherently misogynistic. The man leads, in most basic arrangements, by stepping forward. The woman must step back to make room for him. In some dances, the couple maintains a squared frame with their arms, so the woman can sense when the man is going to turn her, or shift direction. In others, like swing, they hold hands, and he alternately sends her away and tugs her back again, or pulls her into his embrace to send her twirling outward.

They’re at odds with the mood of the age, but the dances we’re learning are certainly less misogynistic than what passes for dancing these days. Gulya will never instruct Maggie to bend over and twerk while I pretend to spank her.

Still, I suppose we could follow in the steps of feminists trying to strike a blow for equality by having their male ballroom partners learn the traditionally female, back-stepping role. I wish them well, but I’m having a tough enough time learning one set of steps per dance.

And no matter who’s stepping forward, you can’t escape the fact that someone has to lead. You can learn a thing or two about marriage when you’re dancing. Like how frustrating it is for the other person when you don’t signal your intention. How you can walk your partner directly into a curtain, or a chair (I’ve done both) if you’re indecisive about when to pull her into the ninety-degree sidestep that allows you to turn a corner during a waltz. That if you keep not deciding, your partner will start deciding for you. [Read more...]

Dancing for My Life, Part 1

barn-wedding-dance-area“ONE two three, LONG short short—don’t step on her!”

Gulya is my dance instructor. She’s from Azerbaijan, she’s five feet tall, and I’m afraid of her. Gulya, too, is afraid. She fears I will stomp my wife’s toes. I’m wearing boots, because we are a month away from a wedding on a California ranch, where real cowboys will be dancing real cowboy dances. Faced with this prospect, I realized several weeks ago that my choices are:

1) Ask my beautiful wife to sit beside me in a gorgeously decorated barn and watch everyone else dance the night away;

2) Sit by myself in said barn and watch my wife dance the night away with cowboys;

3) Learn how to dance.

In other words, I have no choice. [Read more...]

Smoke Break

smoke

After I’ve peeled the plastic protective layer off the nicotine patch and am holding the flesh-colored circle above the actual, paler flesh of David’s forearm, careful not to touch the sticky medicated part with my fingers, I pause.

He looks at me in the bathroom mirror, lips parted, dark eyes glinting. I think he’s panicking a little, wants to back out, but I’m wrong.

“Let’s put it on the other arm, my left arm,” he says. “Just in case I have a reaction or something goes wrong and I have to have my arm amputated.”

He’s smiling a little, but mostly he’s serious. This is one reason we’re doing this, shedding what is for both of us an almost decade-long habit. David listed it as number one on his “Why I Am Quitting” list, written on notebook paper in his neat script, now posted on the refrigerator:

“Every day I smoke increases my chance of health issues, but also increases the chance I will spend my life fretting about health issues, which increases the chance I will spend my life feeling guilty about worrying.” [Read more...]

Sexist Assumptions and the Difficult, Dirty Work of Grace

IMG_7501My husband was deep into a bathroom remodeling project when he asked me to stop by the home improvement store to grab a faucet connector. He had purchased the wrong size on his previous trip, and I was out running errands anyway.

A young female employee met me in the plumbing section. I tried to decipher the details from my husband’s text but couldn’t figure out what the succession of measurements meant. The employee didn’t know either, so I called my husband to confirm.

After I hung up, the employee shook her head: “Don’t you love how men send their wives out to do their dirty work?” [Read more...]

Make It Old: A Wedding Anniversary Epithalamion

2900827625_79888750bf_mIn the beginning was a wedding. The ceremony began with light. The ceremony included the separation of water from water, and it included the formation of land followed by the breaking apart of continents. The sound was terrible, and it was heard beyond the sky and in the perfect garden, the expensive venue chosen for the wedding ceremony and reception.

The ceremony began before there was a brain, a human brain, before there were two human brains, even before there was a serpent brain. But there was an alphabet, and there was intelligence, and intelligence arranged the letters to form a world. [Read more...]


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