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.
Filed under: Keri Stevens |