Every Dance Has An Intermission

Every Dance Has An Intermission

~ Act I ~


I had become so accustomed to the mating rituals of the internet dating world, that the thought of going to a single’s dance intrigued me. When you internet date, there is a certain process that begins with scrolling. Women are warned to not respond to someone without a picture — there usually is a very good reason there isn’t, like he’s probably married.  So much can be gleaned from his profile — that is, if he’s telling the truth. I find most want a phone call before meeting and, although that does give you an idea of their tone of voice, it’s always going to sound different when you physically meet. So the last part of the intro in internet dating is the actual face-to-face connection. And with all that information prior, you’d think there’d be some sparks or chemistry, but I’ve never really felt any in all the years I’ve dated through the cyber-world. They say when things aren’t working for you, do the opposite. For me, going to a social event is just that. Meet first, and then delve into the background and find out who they are.

Old School dating, such as I was about to experiment with at a singles’ dance, is just what I needed after my crash with Fly_Boy. I knew the band from my hometown, and that added more excitement to the affair.

I hadn’t been to a single’s dance since…high school! Oh the agony of those days! The plotting for days and weeks on what to wear; the hair had a life of its own and could humiliate at will. And don’t even try and remember the breakouts — always appearing in the mirror the morning before. Ever hear of Clearasil? And after the anxiety of all the prep, we were squashed into the gym or whatever community center held the event. And that prickly sensation as we girls… waited. We had to be the passive ones, at least most of us did. Like prey, we waited and we felt like we were being appraised. Oh, I’m so glad those days are gone.

It would be different as an adult, surely.

The evening finally arrived and I only changed a few times (okay, five) and decided on every girl’s best friend outfit: the little black dress. We all have one or two (okay, five). These are the ‘old faithfuls’ of the closets. I bought a pair of black high-heeled shoes that weren’t too crazy high for dancing. My hair now behaves and my skin never breaks out anymore. Some things change.

The night was windy and cold. I entered the dance hall, paid the entry fee, and was ushered to a reserved table. The hostess informed us we had one of the best tables — close to the dance floor — and she would see to it that available attractive men would be seated with us. Just sit back and she will herd them in! Well, she tried.

She first brought Stan, who looked like he put some effort into his appearance with an expensive sports jacket, slacks, and a striking red tie. He opened his jacket when introduced, and flashed red suspenders. Kinda cute, I thought. My friend Jen, asked him, as we ate our meal, ” Where  are you from?” and he promptly put his fork down and talked non-stop for ten minutes. He ended his monologue by telling us that he’s living with his mother now — and it’s working out just fine. Jen kicked me hard under the table.

Some things never try to change.

Dinner ended and I could see Jackson, the band leader, arrive with his musicians. He was dressed in all black with a flashy red scarf around his neck — always the showman, Jackson. As they tuned their instruments, the crowd grew a little restless. There’s lots of waiting at a dance. I spent the time observing the crowd, and particularly, the men. I thought, “Without a profile to read, these guys are just bodies in pants and shirts…” How refreshing, though, to meet someone first, and then discover who they are.

I appreciated Jen being  the type of person who isn’t afraid to confront anyone. She walked across the dance floor and as she passed a gent, looking like a matador with his tight black jacket and jet black hair that curled up the back of his neck, she suddenly shook an imaginary cape towards him.

I could tell the evening was going to be, at least, fun.

The band started. They performed an exquisite rhythm and blues tune made for swirling around the dance floor. Only two couples were up, when someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was a guy who looked a bit geeky with a terrible haircut and a tooth missing. He kinda reminded me of Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men. You know — the psychopath — the guy who went around slaughtering people with his air gun? Why not? I was there to have fun, not meet Mr. Right. He led me onto the dance floor.

Well, let me tell you, this man was the most incredible dancer — ever. And I’ve had some pretty suave dance partners in my life — my Dad for one, who taught me ‘not to drive,’ when ‘touch dancing’. This man twirled and whirled me and I found his fancy steps a breeze to follow. The lights from the stage whizzed by in a dizzying rate of speed and his hand on my waist firmly moved me here, there, avoiding couples and stage equipment. I wore these high heels that I’m unaccustomed to and I lost track of what they were doing. I stared into his brown eyes and allowed him lead me.  I’d forgotten all about the lure of the dance floor — forgotten what it’s like to let a competent partner take control of my movements. It was magic.

I felt disappointed to hear the last strains of music. We stopped and I felt breathless and off-kilter. He walked me back to my table.

“What’s your name?” he leaned down and asked after I sat.

“Adrienne, and yours?”

“Steve.”

I hoped we’d dance again.

A man with a bright Hawaiian shirt asked me next. He didn’t have the finesse that Steve had, but I tried unsuccessfully to follow his East Coast Swing steps. He whirled me toward the stage where a woman was dancing and I gouged her ankle with my heel. After apologizing profusely to her, she hobbled off the dance floor with a hole in her black nylon stocking and a visible bump rising. I’d forgotten how dangerous the dance floor can be.

~ INTERMISSION ~


During intermission I talked to Jackson as he fiddled around with the instruments. We conversed, then I noticed this man was standing near us, just watching. I paid no attention, but continued catching up with my old friend. Afterward, I returned to my seat and this same man suddenly appeared next to me. I felt an instant magnetic attraction to him.

“So what are you — a groupie?” were his first words to me.

He flashed what every woman desires and dreads — that bad boy grin.

The Bad_Boy hovered. He leaned down and we chatted during the half hour intermission. Something about him seemed familiar to me. He looked like a childhood flame of mine, Shane.

Shane had lived across the street from me and he was the first boy I ever kissed. My parents forbade me to see him ever since the day they drove home after a night out and saw his wagon leaning up against my bedroom window.

“Don’t you even put one toe into his yard,” my Father warned me.

I lost track of Shane after high school and then heard the tragic news that he’d been killed during a drug deal gone wrong. I remember his chipped front tooth and the way his golden hair would fall into his eyes. I remember playing hide-and-go-seek on summer nights and how he and I would hop fences and raid gardens, hiding from everyone.

“No, I’m not a groupie,” I answered the Bad_Boy. “I know the guy from my hometown. Where are you from?” I asked as I sipped my cold drink.

I found out that he had driven an hour and a half to attend this dance. He was another railroad man who retired young — 47 years old, with a home paid for in an exclusive area of the Lower Mainland. He had no children and never married, although he had been engaged in several long term relationships. None of them worked out. The women in my group watched, amused. I felt a few kicks from under the table. This guy had that charisma which can often leave women vulnerable. He passed me a slip of paper with his name and phone number. I looked up at him.

“So you have maybe 50 of these in your pocket and you just pass them out?”

Oh, that smile.

~ Act II ~


The band started up with the second set and we walked out onto the dance floor. He wasn’t a great dancer, but it didn’t matter. We did that kind of waltz where neither partner really knows what they’re doing, but enjoy the closeness. Between dances we joked and as the time passed, the more I liked this man. I had no desire to dance with anyone else and when I returned to my table, he pulled up a chair and sat close to me. We talked.

“Any brothers and sisters?” I asked, trying to profile him.

“Yes, I have two sisters and one brother. One sister died, though, a long time ago.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Yeah,” he took a sip of beer. “I was five years old and she was in the sandbox with me and she crawled out. I didn’t stop her. This insurance salesman had been in the house and he backed his car up and ran over her and crushed her head.”

“Oh, my God — how terrible! Do you have any recollection of that?”

“Yeah, I kind of do. It didn’t bother me really, until now, as I’ve gotten older. I feel so bad. I wish I had known her.”

We paused for a few moments. I gave him a faint smile. He sipped his beer.

“I have a brother living not too far from me, but I don’t see him any longer,” I revealed to him.

“Why not?”

“He drinks.”

“How much does he drink?”

“Well… a lot. He’s an alcoholic.”

“I drink.”

“I don’t. How much do you drink?”

“I pack it in.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No, I’m not. I have four after lunch, a shooter mid-day and then a few more after dinner.”

Silence.

“So I guess that’s it, huh?” he winked at me, teasing.

“How would this work? You drink and I don’t.”

“Can’t have it all, Adrienne.”

Silence.

“I self-medicate,” he spoke finally.

I nodded in agreement. At least he knows and is honest with me. That’s what I thought after hearing this disheartening news.

“Can you cut down to maybe once a week?”

“What? One beer once a week. No, I’d kill myself first.”

He rested his hand on my arm. My mind did quick calculations.

Drinker, non-drinker. What would life be like with someone like this? Well, I tell myself, remember your Dad before he quit? He was distant, emotionally unavailable, disappearing after work to his workshop downstairs — the workshop where nothing ever was repaired or made. He’d sleep on and off through the day and when he’d get up he’d behave so annoyingly, squeezing our shoulders too tight and constant sighing and rubbing his arm. After his fifth rising Christmas Day, one year, I remarked to everyone that Dad had more mornings than anyone I knew. We all laughed, even though it was very sad. He’d fall asleep at family reunions and after drinking through the dinner, he passed out sitting in his chair at the head of the table. My eldest brother flicked the light off on Dad’s side of the table and he was in near darkness. We all laughed then too, even though it was very sad.

My wedding. Dad and I were late getting to the church. We finally arrived and lurched to a stop. I hoisted the lace train in my hands and raced up the stairs in my new white high heels, he following behind me. He held the heavy oak door open, but then slammed it shut on my train. Dismay. We both leaned down to pull it free and face to face I could smell that nauseating whiff of scotch. He looked away. I knew he was drunk.

A life like that?

Bad_Boy, Alan, had retired young, 47-years-old, lots of money, lots of time. Two elements that make alcoholism uncontrollable. He sleeps in every day, has nothing to do, except drink. But he’s so cute! Look at that smile! I like his hand on my shoulder. He has financial stability. Oh, but what kind of life living with an alcoholic? And an alcoholic who wants to stay right where he is. Some people can’t face their demons. They are lucky to just have survived tragedy and to be breathing and walking among us. No judgment here — he just wasn’t the man for me.

I looked up and saw Steve, the Wonder_Dancer, who swept me off my feet. He had a wistful look on his face, watching us.  I spent so much time with Alan that no one else was able to penetrate our conversation and obvious attraction. But now the night was over and it was time to go home. Alan finished off his beer in big gulps and I slid my coat on. It was a windy, cool night. He wanted to walk me to my car.

We stood at my vehicle, the wind whipping my hair and chilling me to my bones.

We embraced and momentarily felt warm. We kissed goodbye.

It was really hard to let go of what might have been.


~FIN~

Every Dance Has An Intermission © 2011 Adrienne S Moody for now.readthisplease.com Check back soon for more of Adrienne’s relationship sagas—she’s busy researching. In the meantime, click her profile and read some of her earlier exploits in the world of online dating.

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3 Responses to “Every Dance Has An Intermission”
  1. gaboo says:

    I have no profile pic because I am so devastatingly handsome it would actually do harm to the viewer. And I’m married.

    Nice story Adrienne. I will admit I laughed a lot through the whole piece. It was a fun read, and a little forlorn at the end, but you’ll bounce back. You’ve never been a wallflower, have you?

  2. osonegro says:

    Such a poignant account, Adrienne. You capture the highs and lows of cruising the fish tank. Your character portraits are sharp, and full of feeling. Thank you!

  3. Adrienne says:

    Thanks for reading and your comments, Oso and Gaboo.

    ~A~

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