Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Awkward Moments: Public Dancing

Someone, though I don't recall who, was asking me about the "dancing incident' I sometimes refer to when I'm in perilously close to being forced to dance. I figured I'd share publicly here, because if anyone knows how to laugh at their own misfortune, it's me. I've had plenty of practice. This incident is the reason I don't dance in public. Ever.

Around 10 years ago (ugh, so old) I went to a birthday shindig at this place called Mr. C's, a blues lounge, back in Huntsville. It was the birthday of my friend Laura's sister Lindsey. We had a pretty big group, with about 10 girls that went, and then 3 or 4 guys total.

The dining/dancing area of Mr. C's is a standard rectangular room, with a large rectangular dance floor that almost cuts the room in half, and then 3 tiers of tables that go around the dance floor in a 'U' shape. We sat in the farthest tier away from the dance floor, which suited me just fine.

Everyone ordered their food and then all of the girls headed out to the dance floor. After the food was brought out, they would all come back, eat a little, go back to dance, then repeat. Now, normally this wouldn't have mattered at all to me, but the main reason I was there was because my first love/high school love (who I'd not seen in a few years) was there, and the more time I could spend with her the better. One of the older guys with us must have seen some pining in my eyes each time she left for the dance floor because he started trying to talk me into going out there to dance, which I naturally declined to do.

The girls would return and he'd eyeball me but say nothing. When they would depart, he'd start in again, "come on Nick, just get out there". "You can do this, go for it" and on and on. He must have said something more inspiring than simply "get out there" because I actually started thinking, "yeah... YEAH... I CAN do this" which I'll spoil the ending for you now and tell you that was some heavy self-deluding, because it turns out I absolutely could NOT do it.

But there I was, starting to nod my head and tap my foot to the beat, thinking "even I can dance to this." The ladies returned for another bite of food and then started to head back out when the ex high school love stopped and said, "well, I want to go back out there but I don't want to keep leaving you here by yourself" to which I replied, "I'll go dance" with the attitude of "pfft no big deal I do this ALL the time". She was clearly surprised but didn't try to stop me, so off we went.

I strode towards the dance floor with great confidence. I was about to...I don't know...bust a move? Get funky? I was about to do SOMETHING. Whatever it is people do when they dance, that's what I was going to do. I was about to make it rain up in there. But as soon as my foot hit the dance floor, the song changed to something I felt considerably less confident about. I tried not to let it unnerve me, but I was a little shaken. I was in the middle of a giant circle of pretty girls, so I should have been feeling like some sort of crazy dancing pimp (without the hat) but my boldness was rapidly draining. Everyone else had their hands raised above their head, yet mine seemed paralyzed near my chest, never straying from their comfort zone, doing the painfully obvious "white guy who can't dance" move. My motions became even more jagged and ghastly and I could see the unease in the face of the guy who talked me into going out there, clearly realizing he was now reaping what he sowed and it was indeed a bitter harvest.

I turned back to the circle and tried to pull myself together but it was far too late. Usually you can pinpoint a person who has no idea how to dance, but they tend to be having a good time so you don't think anything about it. Not only could I not dance, but I obviously was not not enjoying myself. A moment later I felt a tapping on my shoulder and I turned around to come face to face with my ex's mother, who had come along (she was one of those "one of the gang" type of moms). She stood up on her toes and pulled my head down so she could whisper, "just go with the music."

Oh God, this was the end. I knew I had been doing bad but I had no idea it was THAT bad. The smile on her face, plus her making the rather long trek from our table to the dance floor, told me all I needed to know.
When I turned back around again, the circle had CLOSED on me, with almost an audible "SNAP". So now I looked like some sort of random creeper trying to dance up on a circle of girls. At least I wasn't air-grinding.

It was about this time that a spotlight hit me. And only me. A freakin' spotlight was pointing me out to everyone who already hadn't seen me making an ass out of myself. Someone in the A/V booth had a sense of humor. I happened to look to the corner of the room about this time and I noticed two people I'd not noticed before; the parents of my best friend. Huge smile on their faces, they simultaneously lifted their glasses of beer my way.

I figured it was time to get out of there as fast as possible. I'd like to say I calmly walked away from the dance floor, but I'm pretty confident I almost sprinted. And so embarrassed was I that I couldn't bear the burning, judgemental eyes for a moment longer, I got to the table and sank so low into the chair that only my eyes poked above the table, like a crocodile peering out of the water. I should mention this wasn't OUR table and I was nearly half a room away from being back at the table with my friends.

The next day I happened to run into my friend's parents, who I'd actually not seen in several years at this point. Did they say "good to see you" or "how have you been?"

They said "nice dancing last night, Nick."


Anonymous said...

sorry you were so traumatized! you did just fine. :)

Dachish said...

Your memory is failing you in your old age, Loba =p