June 26, 2004

First Dance

Snapshots In My Time, Of My Time.....Hauntings.

4th grade...1971

I was going to my first dance with a friend of mine. The dance was to be held at church. I am a presbyterian and the dance was on a Friday night from 7-11pm. I had never been to a dance before and I knew how to fast dance so I was prepared..or so I thought.

At first noone asked me to dance but that was ok. My friend Yvonne and I stuck together. We were best friends. She got asked to fast dance. I then got asked to fast dance.

Then the music changed. A roster of slow songs after slow song was played and I was asked to dance. I declined as I had never slow danced before. I watched other couples and it did not look so hard. You just stood kind of close, swayed and moved your feet a little.

The next song that played was another slow song. I got asked to dance and this time I said yes. I followed my dance partner out to the middle of the floor. I put one hand on his shoulder and one hand near his waist and he did the same with me. The music was playing and I began to slow dance.

I stood in one spot and marched in place. Slowly..but marching all the same. I was slow dancing. I was slow dancing until my dance partner said I could not dance and proceeded to leave me standing alone in the middle of the dance floor--marching.

I was crushed. I was mortified. I was humiliated. I was embarrassed. I felt that everyone at church was laughing at me because I could not dance. This all happened at about 9pm. I immediately went to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall and cried and cried and cried some more.

I was inconsolable. My friend Yvonne came looking for me. I would not come out of the stall. I could never come out of that stall. I asked her to call my father. She did and noone was home. I stayed in that stall until the dance was over crying hysterically. When my father finally came to pick me up, I made sure that all the boys were gone...especially the one who left me standing alone in the middle of the floor. I got into the car with my father and went home.

I never went to another church dance. I did spend time with my mother asking her to teach me to slow dance. She did teach me a few tricks from the 1950's. That was not going to do.

When I was ready to go to another dance, it was after I had watched many episodes of American Bandstand and Soul Train and had spent lots of time in the mirror practicing and perfecting all the dance steps I could learn. Once I had practiced all those steps I also practiced slow dancing with myself until I could do it the proper way. I leaned to let the male lead and it was okay. Never again did I experiece the pain of being " slow-dance " challenged.