Sunday, March 10, 2013

Contra Indicated

Have I ever mentioned that, while I am under 5 feet tall, Larry happens to be OVER 6 feet?  It's true - there is exactly a 14-inch height differential between us.  As you can imagine, this has made for a 20-year relationship devoid of such activities as dancing, or even running, together.

Well, okay, we don't go running together because I am philosophically opposed to such masochistic behavior.  But, even if I weren't?  We wouldn't.

Didn't work for us...
 Over these 20-some years, we have made various pathetic attempts to keep our marriage lively and vibrant, mostly with walks (during which we discuss such stimulating topics as the kids, money, and other problems) and the oft-recommended date nights (ditto) - but recently we had pretty much given up on that, seeing as how they just don't seem to work for us.

 Do click on that link - it's classic.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when Larry, upon hearing my announcement that I was going to attend a local contra dance with free lessons before the main event, told me he was going also.

Let's make something perfectly clear: NEITHER of us is a dancer.  I can barely clap in time to music.  Yet, deep within me, there has always been a desire to learn some of these traditional dances; and happily, as I am turning 50 this year, I seem to be slowly acquiring the inestimable gift of  being incapable of embarrassment. 

So, we went.  All the way from the parking lot, we discussed (well, I discussed, Larry listened - or not, who knows) whether or not we should really go.  You see, my PTSD was definitely kicking in.  The last time I had tried anything like this was in 7th grade gym class - for some reason we had a week dedicated to square dancing, during which I was forcibly partnered with Kevin Kashuba, who made funny faces behind my back.

That experience was, as you might expect, devastating to my 12-year-old psyche.  So we (I) decided that we would go in, see if the people looked intimidating (or like my long-lost 7th-grade nemesis), and  - if they did - pretend we had wandered in by mistake and leave.

No one was dressed like this.

End of story?  We stayed.  We danced (to the best of our abilities).  Prior to this experiment, I had confided to my one contra-dancing friend that I was nervous I'd mess up.  Her advice?  Keep moving!  Laugh!  Smile!  So I did that.  I believe I may even have come off as slightly manic.  By break time, 2 hours in, Larry and I were both soaked with sweat and exhausted.

Meanwhile, the older couples were still out on the dance floor, practicing a waltz that the obliging fiddlers were playing for them.

"Gosh," I said, loudly.  "Love to stay, but...uh...the kids need us!  Yup!"  and Larry and I staggered out to the parking lot, practically holding each other up.

Let's not even talk about how I feel this morning.  I understand my legs feeling ache-y, but my rib cage?  What's up with that?

In short, yesterday evening I had the most exercise AND the most fun I have had in YEARS.  Think about it - I spent the evening holding hands with a bunch of other people, swinging around in a circle, skipping back and forth, and (as directed) smiling and laughing.  Also?  Some twirling happened.  In short, I felt like a kid again.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some sewing to do.

[Date night image: Cheaper Than Therapy]
[Costume image: The Reel Thing]
[Pattern image: Etsy]


  1. I'm proud of you! But the big question is, will you two be going back?

    1. Another place just over the river has sessions twice a week. So the plan is yes. And then there is the Family Dance Camp my friend pointed out...but that's a little pricey for us.

  2. I love this - exercise that is fun, even manic, that a couple can do together, but doesn't involve running or keeping track of a ball. I keep imagining my husband going for dancing lessons with me. He already knows how to dance, but I am horrible at it. We both could use the exercise.

    Does contra dancing require you to sew your own costumes?

    1. No, but it would be fun to have a swirly skirt...

  3. We just bought a groupon for Arthur Murray--3 lessons--just so we don't make fools of ourselves at our daughter's wedding. I can get loose with a little booze and boogie, but that's not the same as waltzing!

  4. Fun! I love contra dancing. We had to dance during gym class too, and one of my all-time favorite high school memories is when we all fell while attempting the "allemande left" and the gym teacher threw her hands up in the air and screamed, "Somebody go to the nurse's office and GET ME A VALIUM."

  5. Aw. I like that you guys went together. I'm having another Feb-May stretch of one business trip after another and I'm juggling loneliness and resentment. Such a *lovely* mix.

  6. This sounds like a blast. I'm glad you're going back. Us long marrieds have got to keep things shakin'

  7. My mom has taught ballroom dancing for years. She says it's easy when the girl is shorter. What's hard is when the girl is TALLER. So you and your DH should have no problems! I feel your pain. My DH and I are a foot different in height. But I'm not short. I'm 5'8". He's... well, a foot taller. It's still the same list of problems.

  8. That is so much fun! My husband and I hope to learn to dance together one day when our schedules are less dictated by driving children around.

  9. Am so very jealous--I've always wanted to do dance lessons w/ Mr. D, but no way will it ever happen. How cool you two crazy kids are kicking it down together on the dance floor!

  10. I love it! My husband and I have talked about dancing too. Now I can spin it as "good exercise"!

  11. Hi, I'm a new reader coming via Marinka! Love this post: "I am philosophically opposed to such masochistic behavior" LOL!!