Thursday, August 10, 2006

Back to salsa for class #2

Class #2. Surprise, it's full of the same people. They're not just there once like a week for one specific class like I expected. They're there to dance at every chance! Most don't acknowledge the familiarity. The class is larger. The teacher obviously gay and funny. Sharp, clear, and frankly, a better teacher than our first guy. I take my place in line and am delighted to be in the group. The steps are becoming familiar. I still don't feel good at it, which is suprising, humbling and even humiliating. I thought I'd be a natural - the rhythm speaking to me intuitively. And I'm bigger than I'd thought as I can't ignore my reflection in the group. But that just increases the motivation. How can I get smaller again without moving? And how can I move better without practice? And what better than to move anonymously in a room full of people doing their best to move well too.

This time, the partnering up less traumatic. I understand that we'll be rotating around. I'm less freaked out by touching a stranger. I've never been affectionate. Oh, my mother says I was intensely affectionate when I was a little girl, but it was certainly gone long before puberty rubbed out the embers. I took to sex early and found that easier than the casual arm around the shoulder, or teen group laying about. What's wrong with you? Friends used to ask. I've never known the answer. I saw it with my kids too. My husband and I enjoy a great physical life together (and I'm not talking about sports or hiking). Holding his hand is perfect. But I see how others throw their arms around their kids, or kiss them goodbye, and we don't do that. None of us. Now that I've moved to Texas it's actually become a funny stigma. Several texans I know reach out and touch my arm to punctuate their sentences. Every time it happens, I look down, wonder what they're doing, and pretty much lose the train of thought. It's like I can't understand the language. I'm trying to get used to it. Starting to hug strangers in the film world. Sometimes it's weird, sometimes it's warm and natural and as authentic as can be. But that's less often, and based on my own terms. I feel better when the warmth has been earned.

But back to dancing. So this time I'm ready to have a partner, many partners. And what's fun this time is feeling the intense difference in each guy's touch. (And maybe because this is Texas, we women all dance with men. No girls together here.) Most guys are awkward, as I am. But some guys just feel great, and I couldn't have predicted who that'd be before hand. One sweet older Asian guy, started rubbing my hand between steps, very unconsciously, like we'd known each other for years. It amused me instead of creeping me out. Chemistry, of course, a deep part of the equation. Compassion emerging too. Relaxing my own anxiety as I'm charmed by these serious, hardworking, dancing men.

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