High-heeled shoes skedaddled their way out of my closet sometime in the mid-90s, when I realized I’d rather be close to the ground than teeter up in the air on pointed stilts, hovering over wads of gum on the streets. Since the 90s, I’ve firmly planted the soles of my flat shoes right in gum and other things—and I’ve managed to avoid painful cramping in my legs and feet—which is why, when Nate suggested we learn Latin dance for real in an Arthur Murray dance studio, I brought a nice pair of grippy socks to dance in. They were my best pair. I wasn’t messing around.
I imagined our private lesson thusly: We would walk into the dance studio and check in at the lobby. Then, with the exception of the instructor, we would be the only ones on the dance floor. Nate and I would twirl around, and my grippy socks would perform beautifully. The instructor would ask, “Where did you get those grippy socks? They’re just perfect!”
Here’s what really happened: The Arthur Murray dance studio was filled with couples having lessons as well, and there was no separation between the lobby and the dance floor. Also, there were glass windows where everyone outside, in the strip mall (which included a very popular Carnicería) could walk by and see me holding my grippy socks and panicking because ALL of the dancers wore VERY NICE SHOES WITH HEELS.
I wanted to cover my whole head with my grippy socks.
Me: My socks are not big enough to cover my entire head.
Nate: Why would you want to cover your entire head?
Me: I don’t have the right shoes, I don’t have the right shoes, I don’t have the right shoes.
Nate: So dance in your tennis shoes.
Me: Oh, these? I haven’t bothered to look at the soles of my shoes, but I’m pretty sure there may be some dog doo-doo still stuck in there—and gum, maybe? I’m going to go out on this very nice dance floor in these shoes? I’d rather wear my fancy grippy socks.
And, the dancers on the dance floor were pretty good. Kind of intimidating. But I had some advantages: 1) Nate is dashingly handsome and tall. 2) I spritzed the grippy socks with perfume to make sure they didn’t smell.
However, the grippy socks ended up in the cubby box at the back of the studio because the instructor insisted that I dance in my tennis shoes—even after I told him I didn’t know what was on the bottom of them—it could be anything—anything. There was just a flash of a moment of a look in his eyes where he was imagining what could be on the bottom of my tennis shoes, but he dismissed the thought and brought me and Nate onto the dance floor.
And we all had a sexy time. It was really fun. Nate and I danced like we had never danced before. Our instructor showed us different positioning for arms and how to lean into each other for various dances. The music was wonderful—and we learned some great steps:
Rumba: –basically a box-step: The woman steps back with the right foot—the man steps forward with the left—and you just go back/forward together, side together, back/forward together, side together, repeat—hopefully gazing into each other’s eyes. Letting the soles of your sneakers melt into the floor—forgetting what’s on the soles of those sneakers.
Merengue—our instructor had us doing some fast marching. I’m pretty sure there may be more to it than that, but we did well.
The Hustle—We did some kind of Hustle to 70s music. This was not Nate’s favorite thing to do. I, on the other hand, am ready to hit the casinos, which is where all of the cool middle-aged adults go dancing, apparently.
Bachata—I can’t remember this one—I think it was a side-to-side step. I’ll definitely need more lessons.
In any case, I’m hooked, despite the fact that after the lessons, while I was sound asleep, my calves and legs threatened to cramp up multiple times. So, if that’s what they’ll do with sneakers and/or grippy socks, I will buy a pair of heels to dance in—but they WILL be orthopedic and padded, and will never see a speck of gum—just the leftovers of whatever I tracked in on my sneakers the first night of my Arthur Murray dance adventure.
In other news: I have a story of fiction out in Evoke Literary Magazine. It’s called “To Hold Water.”
I also have a humor post in The Haven: “Make Your Stuff Sizzle: Punch Up Your Neighborhood ‘For Sale’ Social Media Posts with Product Descriptions that are Fire.”
Your Turn: Do you like to dance?