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Dancing Crone

Once upon a time I was 19 years old. On a Friday night (and sometimes even a Thursday) I’d pour my skinny little self into a teal-green tube dress, back-comb my spiral permed hair, layer makeup onto skin as fresh and dewy as my future babies’ butts and go out dancing.

I looked great. I felt great. I danced great. Within three bars of Morris Day’s “Jungle Love” my work and class woes melted away, as did my awareness of everyone and everything else. Then and now dancing puts me into a blissful fugue state that no other form of meditation can touch. You could watch me. You could dance with me. But for pity’s sake, don’t bother me or require my attention. Can’t you see I’m dancing?

Last Friday, I went out dancing again with Toni Blake, Lindsey Faber and Melissa D. Unlike those halcyon days of youth (and someone please remind me to look up “halcyon”) this took weeks of planning. I had to schedule it around my sons’ science fair and the potluck at church. I had to work in a nap so I could stay up past midnight. And then I had to get ready.

First, the skin. I exfoliated my elbows so they wouldn’t snag the sleeves of the dress, and I layered on the tan-in-a-bottle so my bare legs wouldn’t glow in the black light.

Secondly, the foundation garment. I tried on three different ones. The full-body singlet disguised most of the back fat dripping out from under my bra, but I’ve given birth thrice since those halcyon days (What IS “halcyon”? A color? A mood?) and I knew that I’d need to pee. And pee. And pee again. In the interests of peeling down quickly in the ladies room and not being hobbled in my squat, I gave up on the singlet.  I tried belly-and-thigh constricting underpants, which required twisting and jumping, both to get on and get off.

Again—three babies. NO Jumping, ever again.

I settled on black tights (which, I must say, slid on nicely over my freshly-tanned legs) and changed my dress, which meant changing my footwear. Instead of flats, I went with boots—the low-heeled pair, but heeled nevertheless. My rule of thumb is one ibuprofen per individual inch of heel, so of course, I took two immediately.

For hair I chose a ponytail. I knew better than to leave it down. “Sweaty Slattern” is a sexy look in a 19-year-old. At 41, however, it becomes “Over-The-Hill Hooker.”

We met up for dinner at Panera, which is more stressful now that it used to be. Once upon a time, I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. These days, however, I must consider carefully. Black-bean soup? Gas on the dance floor.  Roast beef on the sandwich? Indigestion and belching.  And then there is the careful calibration of the diet cola. Too little and I’ll be sick with dehydration. Too much and I’ll be in the bar bathroom every half hour.

But the biggest stress of all was when we hit the dance floor. I’d forgotten how much work it is to NOT make eye contact.  With anyone.  Ever.  I’d been so good at it when I was younger.  Fortunately, I had my girls with me. We make our tight little circle just as we’d learned to do in junior high and with a touch to the elbow and a  glance, we steered each other through the crowd and away from the number of couples (my age and older, yo!) grinding booties against groins and making out on the dance floor–which was, OMIGOD, SO not halcyon of them!

But the music pounded as the music will and my sore feet and tight calves moved in spite of themselves. Thanks to the cleansing sweat of a good workout, I only had to pee every hour instead of every half.

I can’t wait to go back.


20 Responses

  1. Laughing hysterical at the comparison. Love it, Ipubrofen for every inch of heel. My son’s getting married soon. I will remember this post for advice! 🙂 Thanks, Keri!

  2. Donnell–happy dancing!

  3. Oh, I SO resemble this story. I used to get so wrapped up in dancing that I had no problem dancing by myself, eyes closed – in the zone.

    My husband and I went to a dress up fund-raiser last year (foundation garments mandatory,) had a few glasses of wine, and danced the night away. The next day, I found out I’m past stilletto age – he had to wheel me down to the lobby in a rolling office chair from the room. Here we are, two old people at 6 am, giggling like drunken teenagers.

    It was worth the pain for that memory….
    And thanks for reminding me of it with your great blog.

  4. Hilarious, Keri! I’ve never been into dancing in public. Too many friends who made fun of me in junior high, I think. Maybe friends is too generous of a word…

    And, yes, NO jumping after babies. When I jump rope in Kung Fu, I have to alternate feet. Both at once is just too much pressure on the bladder. *sigh*

    The halcyon thread cracked me up, and I had to look it up. In this case, it’s an adjective, according to Mac Dictionary: denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.

    It’s also a type of kingfisher bird, but I’m betting the origin of the adjective has something to do with this definition: “a mythical bird said by ancient writers to breed in a nest floating at sea at the winter solstice, charming the wind and waves into calm”. You know, those days when the halcyon is around breeding, making things calm. Must not be a very exciting breeder. If you know what I mean. 😉

  5. I remember dancing. It involves moving your feet, right? I’m searching my old mind for those memories…it’s been so long ago! That’s what happens when you marry a man who DOES NOT DANCE!

    The best shape I was ever in in my entire life was in college. Why? I danced ALL the time. with people. alone. it didn’t matter. I just wanted to dance. Loved it.

    Now I have to comment on your and Laura’s foundation garments…NO! I can’t do this! Don’t force me into “foundation garments.” They squeeze the pee right out me. They force my ass into my stomach. My liver ends up meeting my spleen…and those two don’t get along!

    But sounds like you had a blast. I hope you celebrated Lindsey’s big promotion at Samhain!

    Good to see you back, Keri. You’ve been missed

  6. I’m just jealous you found some place to dance that let in people as old as we are! All the places I used to know to go dance have either closed (and in a sad and bitter twist, now have “nostalgia” fan pages on facebook where we all avoid talking about how non-goth we look now) or they don’t let you in if you look old enough not to card.

  7. Wonderful post, Keri! And though I was never much of a dancer, I identified with way too much of it. 🙂

    My dancing-equivalent is going on a two- to five-hour road trip with three of my best friends to a bar in NYC or Philly or DC where Jason Manns is playing. He doesn’t come to the east coast as often as he used to, but it’s the same kind of cathartic break we all need.

  8. Great post!!!!

    I can count on one hand how many times I went out dancing in my youth. Come to think of it, the last time wasn’t too long ago. I went with a 24 yo bombshell. The kind of gorgeous that women stop to admire so it was hard not to generate attention. (well, she generated attention, I was just the woman standing next to her) Thing is. I don’t like dancing in public. I dance around the house all the time. It’s a wonderful way to relieve stress. And yes, even big and pregnant, I dance. LOL I’m sure it’s as funny as it sounds. That’s why I do it when no one else is home. ; )

  9. Shawna, I need to find you some youtube videos of pregnant Oriental dancers. They are gorgeous women and fabulous dancers–the belleh is beautiful!

  10. LOL love this! my husband doesn’t dance…so my dancing is monday mornings in Zumba. I’m not sure that counts….

    I never danced much b/c I was with The Man when I was 17. and we didn’t do the clubbing thing all. I feel like I’m missed a rite of passage through college! *sob*

  11. Love dancing! 🙂 It’s been a long time, but I’m sure I’d remember how. I just need to figure out how to stay awake past 10:00. Not sure even a nap would help. LOL

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