Fred and Ginger.

Posted by admin on January 26, 2015 in Relationships |

I never used to like to dance. Yes, like most of us who grew up in the 1970s I knew how to do the Bump and basically move my feet and arms somewhat rhythmically to the music, but dancing, real dancing, that just wasn’t in the cards.

It’s true that I did try the Electric Slide a time or two, but only in the interest of trying to get laid. No guy in his right mind really wants to dance. We only do it because 1) a significant other insists, or 2) we really want to sleep with them.

That’s how I ended up contra dancing. My friends all laugh hysterically about it now, but it’s something that someone I was dating wanted to do and in my enthusiasm to be a great guy, I said I loved to dance.

I don’t. Or should I say, I didn’t, until Kat came along.

At our wedding, my son thought it would be funny to play The Lonely Goatherd song from the Sound of Music. Remember it? It involved marionettes and those charming Von Trapp children.

There. Now it can haunt your head too.

This is hardly your traditional wedding dance number. Oh sure, we had YMCA and Brickhouse on the playlist. Sorry, there wasn’t the Hokey Pokey. As we all know, I don’t Hokey or Pokey.

It appears, however, that I do Lonely Goatherd. I didn’t know this before the wedding. I didn’t even know there were any steps to the song.

Well, there aren’t any, really. But as soon as Kat and I stepped out on the dance floor in a playful moment (which there are a lot of them with us) steps magically appeared.

I must say there were some amazing moves out there. I wish there was a video. Well, maybe not. But several of my friends did come up afterwards to say they loved our dance and wondered how long it took us to rehearse it.

I said, “You just watched the first rehearsal.” We had never practiced this dance, anymore than we practice any moves we make in our life. It just flows naturally and organically, whether it’s dancing to The Lonely Goatherd or making major decisions about our new family.

We seem to be Fred and Ginger in our daily lives. There was some trepidation on both of our parts about moving in together. Yes, I have had some roommates in the past, but this experience has been totally different from the start. Kat, for her part, hasn’t really done the “live with a guy thing,” except when she was married.

Yet, every step has been easy and effortless to date, as if we have been dancing together all our lives, my Ginger to her Fred, and my Fred to her Ginger. Each of us switches off the lead seamlessly, Kat getting to lead in things she’s better at, me taking the lead in areas I am strong in. We haven’t once had to ask the other to take the lead; we just seem to know when to do it.

This is all the more remarkable, given that we have two other dance partners in the house, our teens. You’d think they would trip us up now and then, but again, we seem to know the dance steps required to make this life of ours seem fairly effortless.

It’s not, of course. A relationship takes tons of practice. I guess in some respects, I have been rehearsing all my life for this dance. I’ve had some real doozies as dance partners in the past, ones who tried to step on my feet with such force that I feared losing most of my toes. The movie Stomp? I thought it was a documentary about my time in Florida.

And then there are the ones who wanted to lead all the time. I felt like the dummy Donald O’Connor was dancing with in Singin’ in the Rain. Don did all the work, the dummy just followed along, as if controlled by some invisible force.

I guess I was their ideal dance partner. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really enjoying any of the moves we were making and I had a really hard time keeping up. Eventually I would try to take the lead and that’s when all hell would break loose. I guess once you learn to like being the lead, you don’t want to give it up.

At least that has been my experience until now. Funny how this all works. You go along in life, thinking that you are one way, only to find out that you probably never were. You just had the wrong dance partner in life.

It’s cool having my very own Ginger, or my very own Fred. As I said, we’re swapping roles on the fly, waltzing through life with aplomb, knowing that as soon as we think we’re going to miss a step, our partner readily takes over.

It’s probably my own fault that I haven’t found the right partner until now. For years I was just going through the motions, trying to pretend that I liked to dance, smiling at my partner, trying not to step on their feet more than necessary, and letting them lead the way.

With Kat, that doesn’t happen. She’s a true dance partner, one who expects me to lead as much as she does. It’s a unique dance, one where we move in a complex orbit that is deceptively simple and beautiful from our vantage point.

It’s a dance that I hope I get to do for a long time. I’d like to say that I should have held out all these years for my perfect partner, but I realize that the ones who came before her gave me a lot of important lessons, ones I bring to this new dance.

Thank you all. Those who taught me how to be a better dancer and those who taught me what kind of partner I should avoid. Your restraining orders, by the way, are in the mail.

In the Emerald City, humming The Lonely Goatherd over and over,

– Robb

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