I’m a single 30-something and like many of my friends, colleagues, housemates, fellow singles, I’m on the apps. The instant gratification, judge-a-book-by-its-face, half-hearted conversations, digital dating game. Subtlety is absent. We all know it’s going to lead to one of three destinations: love, lust, or (more likely) nowhere.
Then there’s the more subtle dating game – the meetups where you mingle with like-minded individuals, hoping perhaps that your next bae/boo (who the hell created those lame terms?) is equally as excited about origami or the art of calligraphy or paddle-boarding.
And so I found myself at a salsa class. Not for the dating aspect specifically, but more for the ‘let’s see if I still remember how to do this’ (I didn’t) and the stepping-outside-of-the-comfort-zone-ness of it, as well as the meet new people factor.
Now imagine if you will, meeting a complete stranger and making the initial small talk while simultaneously trying to remember new steps, pick up their rhythm (which is sometimes lacking), madly co-ordinate arm movements AND seem natural. Ever seen a giraffe drink water? We’re talking that level of awkward. Depending on your partner of course. And oh what an interesting mix of type-cast characters in the coop.
Let’s start with the instructor himself. The Flamingo.
Clearly, his big dream was to be on stage and maybe he even once was. Whatever the case, the full body rolls and flamboyant arm flicks, the excessive hip shimmies and brag-drops about his 20 years of dance, clearly indicate that in his head, he never left the spotlight on that stage.
Next we have the participants. Now I can’t say much about the ladies as, being one myself, I was in contact only with my dance partners who moved to the partner on their right in a circular fashion every 2 minutes. Thus the speed-dating aspect.
First comes the Rooster, the puff-chested strutter who is really only an experienced beginner at most, but executes his moves as if he’s on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and spins you so aggressively that your head fights a battle to stay on your neck, all the while critiquing your style and technique.
Next is the Ostrich – the nervy, unco-ordinated sweetheart who is just way too excited about putting his hands on a woman to get the moves right, but tries really hard non-the-less. He attempts to disguise his anxiousness by squawking out heckles at the teacher and putting on a thin layer of boldness.
Following him we have the Peacock, who is clearly there to shake his tail-feathers at all the gals, stringing his French charm into an endless flow of coquettish quips, thinking that his words are binding us in a spell, but not noticing that we are all, well, intelligent beings.
Next up we have the Penguin (but not the one from Happy Feet) who is so intent on concentrating on the moves that he forgets to even look you in the eye, but rather counts out loud and watches his feet move, and you are left feeling like an appendage to his (un)creative process.
Finally there is the Chicken. He knows the steps and he knows the rhythm, but they are not the same steps and rhythm as the one you and everyone else are dancing. He is dancing to his own beat and keeping time with him is next to impossible.
I could go on but you get the gist. Ultimately it was a fun experience…. and fun to talk about afterwards. I did learn some salsa and meet some new faces. Did it lead me to true love? Doubtful. Although there may have been a cool, calm, cooky Cockatoo in the back that ruffled my feathers slightly. So I guess time will tell. 😉