Tuesday, 6:00 A.M.

“Yes, ma’am, that happened because you are older than 25,” my new dermatologist said as I pointed out a skin flaw I have recently developed.

I groaned and pointed to another. “Mmm hmm, that one is because you are older than 25, too.” One more. “Yep, over 25.”

I pointed out a final weird skin thing, and looked up hopefully, waiting for her to finally tell me that one of my skin oddities could be easily fixed with an application of lemon juice and tooth paste. “That one, yeah, that one is because you are over 40. Yes, honey. Sunscreen. Go get it. Next time you come in here you better be lathered up in it.”

You want to feel old? Go to the dermatologist. When she lets you look at some exuberantly brown freckle through her magnifying glass, you’ll feel old as dirt. Your skin looks like crepe up close. Did you know that? And then to add insult to injury, she’ll ask you for $80 for her assessment (that’s the discounted rate) and have you schedule the first of many appointments just to get some work done on the damage aging has caused. It was a slow realization for me, that she meant it when she said “daily all-over sunscreen, even in the rain,” only because I’m loathe to wear it all the time. Not only does it make me permanently flushed of cheek, but I’ll be an oil slick, too. Yee-haw. Why am I still single, I wonder?

So that was a great way to start a Tuesday. Really made me feel good about myself.

On the opposite end of the coin, last week I ended a Thursday in a way I never expected. I’d have told you that there was enough alcohol in the world to make me to do it, but that the amount of alcohol would knock me on my duff, out cold on the sidewalk in the dirty part of town before I ever reached the point of wanting to try this activity. Yet there I was, in a dance studio, taking a ballroom dancing lesson. I know! Me! The girl with no rhythm, the one people have made fun of as I danced, that pasty white girl! I was learning how to dance!

In all fairness, I should tell you that the dances I learned involved four steps: forward, back, side, side. No wiggling. No sashaying. No hip shakes of any sort, although when I watched the instructors dancing I realized that they looked less mechanical than I and somehow far, far sexier. But four steps! How can I mess that up?

I’ll tell you how. First, when the instructor, whom I shall call Antonio, says, “Ready, 5 – 6 – 7 – 8, now back – back – side – together, back – back – side – together,” you’ll want to whisper to yourself, “Ready, 4 – 5 – 6 – wait, I mean 8, back – back – side – back – no wait, together, no wait – I lost it, now back – back – side – together, yay I’m doing it, back – oh crap, I lost it.” That’s how.

And then when Antonio says, “Let’s change the tempo. Now we are going to s l o w – s l o w – quickquick,” you are going to silently count it out and forget that right after quickquick comes s l o w – s l o w and drag Antonio along with you in the wrong speed because you are bossy and don’t know how to follow.

After 45 minutes of practicing your follow and your counting (I’m not kidding, I’m bossy – it’s hard) and stepping, stepping, stepping, forward, back, side, together, you’ll start to get it. Antonio was very patient with me and rather bossy his own self and teaches this for a living so I’m certain I am not his worst pupil to date. Then after your group lesson when it becomes readily apparent that you are the newbie with zero skills, you’ll feel even better about things, especially as all the instructors remain bossy but don’t let you remain bossy and give you pointers at every step and count out every dance for you. Finally, when they have the dance party and every single instructor fights for your attention as a partner, you’ll stop caring how stupid you look and just enjoy the dance. That’s the whole point anyway, to enjoy it.

Let me tell you what I particularly loved about that lesson. I loved that Antonio held my hand every time we walked across the dance floor. He never took a hand or arm off of me. He made me feel special and that I could trust him. I think there is a dance lesson in there about following, about trusting your lead, but whatever it was, I loved it. I belonged. His time was my time and nothing could take that away. The other instructors who cut in every few seconds during the dance party also made me feel special. I know I was terrible at it, and I know that if any of them became a permanent instructor to me, they’d sigh at the amount of work they had to do, but the attention I got from them did not belie that at all. They held my hands and led me around and counted for me, even when I lost the count and even when I didn’t shake anything at all but simply did the White Man’s Shuffle.

I sat down with Antonio after my lesson to discuss pricing. Truthfully, I had attended the lesson to be nice as one of my lovely new co-workers got a free lesson by bringing a guest. She’s been dancing for years and it shows. It made me proud to watch her. But I had only expected to pass an evening and not love it like I did. However. Pricing. Turns out that ballroom dancing is for swanky people and since my salary is going to be invested in Neutrogena sunscreen from now until death, I can’t see my way into paying for lessons that may or may not yank that bossiness right out of me. I’m afraid that eliminating it altogether would prove to be an impossibility, but maybe some tempering of it would have been nice.

Still single. Wonder why.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Felix
    May 08, 2014 @ 11:37:02

    I read every single post you place on this here blog, and never am I ever bored with whatever tale you tell. …..and…..5-6-7-8….stumble, stumble, trip….fall…..would be my case, and I DEFINITELY HAVE RHYTHM. LOL…. MY FEET AND LEGS WOULD JUST SIMPLY GET TANGLED AROUND ONE ANOTHER. THEY WOULD MAKE ME QUIT THE LESSON RIGHT THEN AND THERE!! Surely, I jest, but sounds like you did a great job with it. At least you ventured there. We NEED TO DO DINNER SOON!!!! I NEED A “JIMMIE FIX!” (i.e., LAUGHTER, PILED UPON LAUGHTER) !!!! HUGS TO YOU DANCIN’ QUEEN!!!


    • jimmiesworld
      May 08, 2014 @ 12:24:04

      Get me a white zoot suit! I’ll wear it to all the parties.

      Yes, let’s have dinner. Is Freddie back? I think she’s back. And I’m going to the cookie doctor soon, yay!


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