Monday, November 30, 2009

Dancing with Lola

I met her in a club down in old Soho,
Where you drink champagne, and
It tastes just like cherry-cola.

We have a small condo in Maine that we use as a weekend and vacation getaway. It’s right across the harbor from Portland, which has become an eclectic tourist city with waterfront shops, fine restaurants, and a broad offering of art programs. One of the things we both enjoy doing on the week-ends is to see if there’s a club or dance that we can go out to and apply some of our recently acquired ballroom dancing skills. Each time we went to Maine, I had noticed that the a certain ballroom dance studio advertised a dance each Saturday night at their studio in Portland. So this one weekend we go up to Maine and I suggest to Anne that we check out the Saturday night dance at this ballroom studio. We arrive at 8pm and see that the dance is just underway with about 15 –18 people. The dancers display a variety of skills from advanced to beginner, which is perfect for us being at the intermediate stage. We hang our coats up, put on our dancing shoes, go out on the large dance floor and immediately start with a Cha-Cha.

She walked up to me and she asked me to dance,
I ask her name, and
In a dark brown voice she said, Lola.

We dance to a few numbers and Anne says she needs to use the lady’s room. I go to sit down at the far end of the room and before my butt hits the chair a tall blond woman walks up to me and asks if I’d like to dance. She’s wearing a flame red long sleeve stretch top and tight black jeans. Her hair is actually dark underneath blond highlighting. It’s tussled but shoulder length and falling down over her eyes, which sort of obscures her face. I also notice her voice is raspy and a lot lower than I would have expected for a woman. Having taken dancing lessons for the past two years, our instructors encouraged us to dance with different partners when-ever possible to improve our technique (learn to “drive other cars” is what my teacher Roxanna said). A Foxtrot number has just started, which is my least favorite dance, but I answer “Sure” to this woman’s request. We go into dance position (mans right elbow out and right hand around woman’s left should blade, woman left hand rests on mans right bicep, and mans left and woman right hands joined at shoulder height and cocked at the elbows). Before I start to lead the dance, I ask her name and she says in her low raspy voice, “I’m Michelle”.

Well I’m not the world’s most physical guy,
But when she squeezed me tight,
She nearly broke my spine.

We start to Foxtrot, which is a slow, slow, quick, quick pattern called the Magic Step. Through the first patterns of the dance I notice a couple of things about Michelle. She is about 5’ 10” and medium build. She is not quite as supple or delicate as I would expect a woman to be. Not that all woman feel alike, but Michelle’s back, arms, and hands are firm like those of an athlete. I also notice, she’s not graceful but instead a little clumsy. After a couple promenades and turns, I figure she probably doesn’t know the Foxtrot that well so I keep it simple to the basic magic step pattern. After the first turn around the floor, I notice Michelle is getting into the dance. Her dance position starts to change to be more aggressive like a Tango. She juts out my left hand into the air at the 10 o’clock position. We sort of look like John Travolta on the cover of Saturday Night Fever. I also sense that she wants to lead. She moves here right hand up from my bicep to the ball of my shoulder, takes a firm grasp and pulls me closer. I realize that she’s leading me down the dance floor doing long Tango strides to the FoxTrot.

Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand,
Why she walked like a woman,
But talked like a man.

This just doesn’t feel right. The voice, the build, the obscured face, the dancing style. I start to think - perhaps “Michelle” is not what I think she is. I glance down to her chest. She’s wearing a tight stretch top with a V-neck. Being a little taller than her, I should be able to see maybe some cleavage or at least an outline of her breasts. But there’s no cleavage and no outline. “Michelle’s” chest is flatter than a teenage school boy’s. And that’s when I start to get the sinking feel that something is very wrong. It’s almost the same feeling you get after you realize you just drank from someone else’s glass or when you realize you just stepped in dog shit. Like Archie Bunker used to say when the MeatHead said something that made him uncomfortable; “Ah Jeez”. The woman I’m dancing with is not a woman.

Well I’m not the world’s most masculine man,
But I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man, and
So is Lola

All this happened in the two minutes that Anne turned her back on me to go take a leak. I can’t wait for the dance to end. My mind is racing. What will Anne think when she comes out of the lady’s room and doesn’t find me sitting where she left me but instead sees that I’m on the dance floor with this strange blond woman (who’s really not a woman) doing Tango strides to the FoxTrot?

Luckily the dance ends and just as I’m breaking with “Michelle”, Anne appears next to us and says to me, “So there you are. I wondered where you were, then I see you dancing with this blond woman.” I say sheepishly, “ Oh, Hi Anne, this is Michelle”. Anne say’s Hi and Michelle responds in her low raspy voice “Hi Honey. You don’t want to leave this one sitting by himself for very long!”

We break and Anne and I go over and sit down and I tell her what happened. She starts giggling when I tell her I think Michelle is really a guy. I didn’t think it was that funny. I watch Michelle grab her next unknowing partner and step onto the floor. Ray Davies voice enters my head and starts singing a song from the Kinks,

Well that’s the way that I want it to stay, and
I always want it to be that way for my Lola.
Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world
Except for Lola,
Lo-Lo-Lo-Lo Lola.

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