All you gotta do is dance
Updated: May 6, 2022
Last night, dear readers, McIrish and I endeavored to practice our dancing skills.
Let me set the scene for you.
I consider myself to be a fair dancer. Solo, that is. I know my moves—keep the feet simple, head-bop, use the hands for some flair. My sister, God bless her, is an amazing dancer—sort of Julia Stiles-meets-Jim-Carrey. Her husband is also a good dancer, and several years ago, they took dance classes to hone their skills. It’s a lot to live up to. The Princess asserts that she and Mike are excellent dancers. The pressure is on.
McIrish and I also tried a dance class. Beginner’s salsa. After the introduction and warm-up, the instructor approached us and asked us to leave. I am not even joking about this. We hadn’t mastered the one-two-three-snap, five-six-seven-pause bit. “But this is a beginner’s class!” I protested.
“Okay, bye,” he said. We resentfully left and went to eat cheeseburgers.
Fast-forward to this spring. With our daughter’s wedding approaching, I felt the need to up my game. Or, if I’m being truthful, up McIrish’s game.
McIrish’s dance style is best described as injurious. Not to him, readers. To anyone in range of his wild elbows and flailing arms. Delighted, oblivious, without the rhythm given to his Riverdancing ancestors, he needs about a ten-foot safety zone from others. “Be careful!” I’ll say at any event. “You’re going to give someone a black eye!” He doesn’t listen, caught up in Uptown Funk or Stayin’ Alive (like those around him must endeavor to do).
My husband, ladies and gentlemen.
He most resembles those strange tube inflatables in front of car dealerships, flailing joyfully and erratically, oblivious to those around him.
When we dance together, I lead because all he does is bend wildly from side to side. We bicker. “Stop leading!” he’ll say. “Then stop hurting me!” I hiss. Between the hardware in my wrist, my much-beleaguered knees, and his shoulder, we are one misstep away from the ER.
And so, online dance lessons. What better way to fill the pandemic evenings and give us some moves?
What could possibly go wrong?
The system is basically a series of spins, first me, then him. Immediately, we ran into trouble. We stopped the video. Tried again. He spun me. My arm nearly dislocated. “Other way, other way!” I yelped. “Turn me away from our hands. Away from the hands.” This became our chant—don’t spin in, spin out, away from our joined hands, not toward. Ten minutes later, exhausted, dizzy but proud, we felt we’d progressed.
Next step…circling. One just can’t spin and spin without looking possessed by a demon, after all. We tried circling. Okay, not too bad, so long as no one is around us. Away from the hands. Away from the hands. McIrish tends to laugh and double down on his efforts when dancing…he does not take instruction well, dear readers.
And then, the dip. “Let’s skip this part,” I said, immediately wary. I have a fear of falling under the best of circumstances, let alone with my laughing, slightly maniacal husband holding my life in his hands.
“We can do this,” he said, and we very carefully and slowly imitated the instructors. Put your hand here. Your foot here. Arch back over his leg. It felt like a game of dirty Twister, but guess what? We did it! Relieved, sweaty, we cut our losses and ate some dinner.
Which brings us to last night. I was in my silky pajamas, and we’d just come in from having a lovely glass of wine on the porch. “Let’s practice dancing!” said I.
“Okay!” said he.
Why can’t everyone be more like Bruno?
We joined hands. He tried to spin me. “Wrong way, wrong way!” I said, and he began with that slightly evil, out-of-control laughter. We tried again, nailing it as I chanted “Away from the hand, away from the hand.” If not graceful, perhaps passable.
And then, the dip.
We assumed the position. He dipped me. And then, he dropped me. In slow motion. Slowly, slowly, I slid down his leg, perhaps because of my silky pajamas, perhaps because he was not taking this seriously, but there I was lying on the floor, my husband wheezing with laughter over me. “Oops,” he managed, and we laughed, frozen there, till we cried. “Hope that doesn’t happen at the wedding!” he said when we could speak again.
Sometimes, you have to know when to quit.
“You dropped me,” I said.
“Oh, no. You fell.”
I guess I’ll have to slap some Velcro on the back of my dress. Or we could just skip the fancy stuff. But you know what? A good laugh with the spouse, even after he dropped me, is a hundred percent worth it.