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Dovetailing on Stranger Outreach aka long boring personal story

geekette

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more fun for me to think about than Corona and the couple sitting alone thread nudged me.

I've been doing ballroom dance for a few years and did a 5-pack world champion coach session Friday. It was, frankly, amazing. I always take advantage of the half day sessions when offered. They get enough takers to make it affordable to hire them. Hard to explain, but like renowned experts in your field coming to help you learn finer points of expression or impact, and sometimes positioning your body correctly. It's intense, a lot of info crammed in. It's both group and personal instruction. Between sessions, I jot down notes. Always something I didn't know, or thought I knew but now have a different perspective on, but it is so much info, you have to take notes to retain it all. So many new things to try to incorporate to my dancing. My head is still spinning with all the new stuff. That's a good thing, I got my money's worth (250 for 5 coaches is an amazing deal).

I did not enroll in the competition so I was done for the weekend by 4 pm Friday. Got what I came for without stress of hair, makeup, costume. I like competing, it's the trappings I could do without (tomboy here, my sport was swimming, no hair, makeup, shoe and hose thing). And the cost. Not a cheap sport, especially for ladies. I was going to go watch other sessions but saving my pennies, each session costs a tank of gas. I remembered how frustrating it was at last year's comp that I could get no takers for General Dance at evening events. NOBODY was dancing except scheduled performances, I asked every lead, even people I had never seen before. Fred Astaire is "everyone dances with everyone" so I feel free to go ask. I'm ok with rejection, generally, but, dang, how can we be at a dance event with nobody dancing?? Big ole empty floor for 20 minutes here and there, music always playing. I did not have the guts to go ask a judge to dance, was not sure it was appropriate, especially since last time I was going to be competing. Seems like it would be seeking special favor but I honestly don't know the etiquette so remained on safe side. I opted not to pay my money for no dancing again this year. I left unhappy last year. Didn't want to risk it again. I'm on a happy wave, I'm keeping it.

Anyhow, there is a new gentleman to our dance studio, John. First I knew of him was a party a few weeks back, when staff asked me to go introduce myself (I tend to do Welcome Wagoning on my own, I remember being new). I can be shy, but I try not to be at the studio, and it's good for me. So I went over to meet John, wanted to know what dances he was learning, and, obviously, do you want to dance? He was game, told me he was a widower, trying to rejoin life, get out of the house, do things, and be among people, and wanted to finally learn to dance. Hey, I didn't start until my mid-40s, I get it. Smiling guy with easy disposition, if he had been crushed by depression, he was over it or hiding it. Hey, we're all actors to some extent in the dance studio, most have no idea I went through medical issues, and I smile through any pain or dizziness unless it's bad enough to stop. I do warn new partners that my left shoulder is problematic (not really an issue as my right is "steering arm" but I can't risk being grabbed by left shoulder - if I'm falling, grab me at waist or hip, no higher, or let me drop; I can fall pretty well). Twinkling blue eyes and near constant smile, he's in party mode tonight, let's go... what a sponge, he became better at Fox Trot fast. Even a couple moves where I said, Look, I don't know Guy Part, here's what I do, you may move to the side, rock back, I dunno, you figure it out. He Did. Every Time. Not graceful, but that comes later. Receptive is good enough.

Anyhow, he said he was really trying to learn, practicing at home, etc., asked me lots of questions about dance, and myself. Like every party, I dance with most every gent I can, I am not there to sit or eat the food. He kept coming over to ask me, and I don't ever refuse. I wasn't sure what to make of the personal questions (most adult males do not ask my age on meeting me; I have no idea what most gents there do for a living, nor do they know my retired career). Other ladies had been asked to go meet him, dance with him, make him feel welcome, staff also made sure to visit him. I have been told that I am very easy to dance with, so maybe that's why he kept coming back to me. Plus, I am near our instructor's size (tho not competence) so a decent stand in to get used to a partner much shorter. Do not hunch down, tall men, as that leads to shoving your strength down into the lady and there is nothing she can do but her right shoulder has to absorb it and it is painful - has a name, Ladies' Arm.

A staffer told me that the lady he had originally shown up to dance class with had been mean to him, critical on everything. I know full well that it's a big fat drag to have an annoying partner that thinks they are the teacher! Staff wanted to make sure he had Good Experiences. He did, he stuck around after the party talking to everyone, it was probably wise that he came alone. Boom, he has a new community, a place to go where people are cheerful and will always be happy to see him, every lady will accept dance request. I kinda feel like Norm walking into Cheers, they do that for all of us. it's that kind of thing, everyone that knows you, greets you, glad you're there. It's genuine, too. You'd be amazed how fast a bad day can melt off you when presented with happy people wanting to share love of dance. On a good night, I find That Zone, where it's just pure joy of living. It's an amazing thing I never envisioned when I started dancing, and I would guess it is like runner's high. On those nights, the parties end way too soon...

He asked me when my next lesson was (we have same instructor) and it was to be right after his, the next week. He seemed really happy about that, "see you Wednesday" several times. ok, that's cool, you know someone, you'll see someone you know next time. I didn't think much of it, it can be comforting to Know Someone. Since he is So New, I thought I'd go early, maybe my instructor would need me so she could demonstrate for him his part by leading me. I was right, she needed me to show him how to lead Fox Trot Promenade with her as lead. He did not bring a lady to this lesson. Always glad to help, I fade away to wait for my lesson, he leaves right after his. My instructor said he was not sure on doing this coaching 5 pack, which is so valuable to new or experienced dancers. I told her to let him know I would buddy up with him at it, if that would help him feel more comfortable about attending. It really is difficult when new. you know so little, it's very frustrating, and you can feel like a stumbling fool among all these graceful people that seem to understand everything the coach is saying. It's also awkward to "find a partner" on demand, so I didn't mind having a built in buddy, and I knew it would make it easier for him. the better the dancer, the less likely they are to want to chance a newbie.

Then I take off to the beach because use it or lose it points. Plus, February has a lot of Grey and I was seeking Blue. Returned exhausted, but happy and relaxed. Had one day home to relax before this great coaching day. It was enough, I was ready to hit it Friday. Felt good, muscles were playing along, pain mitigation worked without drugs, whoo hoo, I get to have a good day without dizzy-making crap onboard!! I like to arrive feeling good, feeling strong, Ready.

Saw my instructor after first session, took her a gift from my travel (she seemed surprised that the wine was cold, but of course I wanted her to have the option to crack it open whenever she wanted - she wasn't going to be dancing for many hours and all instructors have a room at the hotel so she could stash it for later and keep it cold). She told me that John had been asking her, repeatedly, are you sure she is going to show up? He doesn't know me. I would never have offered if I didn't mean it. Presumably she assured him, because, she DOES know me, and also knows I am not going to lose what I paid for unless I am too sick to leave home. But right then, I'm thinking, uh oh, does he think this is More Than Dance? What else is he asking her? I am currently not interested in dating, and have never been a flirt. But I am nice. that can be misconstrued, but, whatever, he's apparently a direct guy, I can be direct. No worries, we're both here to dance, I promised nothing more.

After touching base with her, I head back to my table and see John has arrived, go over to his table to say hi, how ya doing, etc. He moves his stuff over to where I am sitting. It was funny, actually, he was in such a hurry to join me that he knocked down 2 chairs. Uh, I think he Really Likes Me. I was flattered, it was really cute. This big mid 60s guy falling over himself to come sit with me. For a big guy, he can move fast. I don't ever recall a guy making a beeline for me like that before. Combo of Uh Oh and Aw, he likes me. I can be uncomfortable with male attention I was not seeking but it wasn't uncomfortable. I deemed it Sweet.

Sessions start, I helped him keep his balance on some steps he didn't know as we were to each traverse the floor solo, I put a hand out to help steady him, and he seemed grateful (he doesn't have dance shoes yet, street shoes do not have the give he would need to do this). Gave him a few tips on keeping balance, etc. Between sessions, we had maybe 10 minutes, so some small talk. He asks if I like travelling. Oh yes, yes I do. Lindsey may have told him that I had fled to the beach, but I didn't. So then he said something I'm not completely clear on. I think he said "They are giving me a hotel room in Belize" and I said, "oooh, Belize, what a treat!" and then next instructor arrived and began so that was that. Well, now, hold on, was your asking if I like travel related to your Belize plans? Did I just kinda sorta get asked if I'd like to see Belize? I was certainly enthusiastic, but in a "lucky you!" way. I don't think I originally thought he was dangling a trip, but now I'm not so sure.

Next break, he asks if I like beer. Yes, sometimes. Asks if I would like to get a drink with him sometime. Sure, I'd like that. I did not expect to be asked out, but he seems a decent enough guy to have a harmless drink with. I am generally opposed to dating from within the studio, fears of wrecking my safe space with drama. But I hadn't had to confront it before. It has just been Dancing. Frankly, that's what I like! I can enjoy companionship with many gentleman and nobody expects a kiss goodbye. Nobody thinks it is anything more than A Dance. There is no wife that gets upset when I dance with her husband. I arrive by myself, leave by myself. Always.

I did not feel comfortable saying, So, Belize..... but I'm super curious. Who is "They" that is giving him a hotel room, why, when, is it a group you're going with .... ? Are you actually seeking a travel companion or simply mentioning Your Trip? Dunno. Dying of curiosity because, why did you bring it up? Another time he asked if I was working and I said no. That would sure clear the way to travel. No pesky career in the way. Seems he is running through his checklist. Maybe, maybe not. He's at least a decade older than me, but not something I care about. Apparently he doesn't care either, maybe making sure I'm not too young for him? Maybe I had to at least be older than his daughter? dunno.

The last session was about frame, which is the 2 people in frame, and he did need that instruction, and it probably helped to have a patient partner. He needs to relax the grip, relax his shoulders, give me a bit of space as this is way too crunched up together, I cannot move when I am clamped. I had already gotten him to quit squeezing my hands (meds give me painful hands already, I can't take the squish). He has a bit of a belly and well taller than me so finding the right frame for us was A Thing, plus I have a neck problem and shoulder problems, so was seeking comfortable frame (thinking, dang, I did not stretch upper body nearly enough, but, deal with it, my own fault, push through). I was having enough fun that it distracted from pain so my smile was genuine. His smile didn't seem to change to, oooh, like those boobies against me, so I felt safe. I have Letch Radar and he wasn't tripping it. I won't dance with someone whose gaze keeps going to my chest. I can't handle that, have dealt with it since I was 12.

Dancing is a close sport. I'm kinda over it, don't get self-conscious about having to stick my right boob into that space that splits his chest unless the guy is weird about it. same with Tango leg entanglement, I can handle it if the guy can, and you generally don't discuss it, it just happens and the dance proceeds better for doing it right. but I couldn't reach so into belly it is. That's how it is, That's Dance, can't get my boobs higher than this, he needs to stand tall, things are where they are. John wasn't weird about it, neither was I. We're adults with bodies we are learning to position correctly for sport. He kept eye contact, which is very very helpful in partner dance. He was smiling vs the fearful look usually seen on a newbie, male or female. I found it easy to return eye contact. I am honestly a sucker for certain blue eyes, and he has them. They dance all on their own.

He did take the opportunity offered to dance with a male instructor, so no homophobia here (many new students would not do this, but seriously, take Any Chance to dance with a coach of either gender! I got to dance with Nadia (cannot place her European accent), learned a bit about I get to lead a bit, too, tho I have not found a male lead appreciate this ever. The male British instructor was a lot of fun, many wise cracks, some about us, meaning, me and John. It was fine, it was fun. We both got a lot out of that session because we had to reverse frame, which I don't do, and of course he has never, and it was funny to try to get this tall guy to follow my lead for an underarm turn, but my arm is still in socket and he ducked sufficiently to make it under. He took the tip of "don't break the lady!" seriously. They don't all, I have been manhandled and shoved around, those are guys I do not intentionally dance with, but suffer through when they ask me for a dance. So far, John is a gentle giant who only needs to relax.

We got kicked out of the ballroom (they had to revamp for night session) and I think he was going to walk me to my car, but I saw snow and needed to change to street clothes and use restroom so goodbye. It is standard to hug. remember, close sport, it's part of being comfortable with touch and it begins pretty much at first lesson. It was uncomfortable for me at first, but that was years ago. We're all hugging each other on hello and goodbye. No big whoop. At least on my part. Dance has helped me shed a lot of hangups; some I knew I had, some I didn't. Hug goodbye made sense to me, I didn't back away, he didn't squeeze too hard or linger too long, it was a normal goodbye hug.

In the dressing room, I find out from another lady that he is simply Getting Out There, meeting people, going and doing things, Living Life, dating lots of ladies. I asked, did he mention Belize to you? No, but he had mentioned he had a trip coming up and was seeking a travel companion. She seems to have done a fair amount of talking to him, knew more of his personal situation, and that they live near each other. Her assessment same as mine - sweet gentleman widower looking to add color to his life, not a letch, not a weirdo. Can't fault him for preferring to spend time with females, I imagine he was married for a long time and misses her a lot (not sure how recent her death). Probably had his fill of time with the guys during military service. A guy that is keen on learning to dance, and going out, might be just the new friend I need. I have been wanting to go to Rooftop Ballroom again for a while, I think he would dig that. Maybe he would go to some of the other dances that happen around town. Heck, even the guy I learned to dance with Never Took Me Dancing. Always "I'm looking for a place" bs.

But, Belize. I am curious as hell about this. I have wanted to see Belize for some time now, had assumed I would visit on cruise port stop sometime in the future. If he is seeking a travel companion, the questions make a lot of sense, as does asking me to get a drink sometime, get to know each other a bit better. When is this trip? What's the purpose? Who is giving you a hotel room? Are there meeting obligations or what? Would I have my own room? Would we get to really see and immerse ourselves in Belize? I would be thrilled to see Belize and if it is not for many months, I could consider going with him, but I'd need A Lot of details. I suppose if I remain "in the running" there will be details. For whatever reason, I am not hearing warning bells in my head. Seems like I should, but, I'm not always right in the head, and still on post-vacation glow, and then the training... so the bells could be muted. I have a lot less fear about lots of things these days. My life got a jolt and after that, perspective on lots of things changed. Besides, I'll find out more about him as time goes on and will heed whatever my spidey sense tells me. Right now, he has a peaceful easy vibe that feels genuine.

Since I was not intending to date, and have not been struck by lightning, and don't know what he's really looking for, it's just another interesting path the universe has thrown my way. I also have a soft spot in my heart for veterans, believe them to usually be honorable people. I am open to dating him casually, would be scared if he wanted to date Only Me as I am still in a "I need a lot of space and privacy" life phase now and can't take on expectations of others. I could probably very much use more outings in my life, I probably do spend too much time alone, and in my own damned head. Quality male companionship would be a good thing, help to counter the bad experiences I've had. Romance, I dunno. Asking me out for drinks means I'll see if he seriously puts it away or just enjoys it. I don't like heavy drinkers, don't want that in my life. One of my longtime male friends has turned into a disrespectful drunk and I can't be around it. Phone calls only, I do not go meet up with him any more. For one thing, I don't want him on the road. But he's a friend, I can't cut him from my life, especially when he is clearly troubled. But I don't drink with drunks, I cannot be party to it, will not encourage it. If John were A Drinker, I surely would have smelled it at the party, as that's when I would down some to get to ok socially. No alarms here, wait and see. Midday Friday, no alcohol smell. My grandfather was an alcoholic, I am seriously wary of it. It's not like I don't drink, tho very rare and very little these days.

Anyhow, I did not expect this. I thought I was simply being a great studio student, offering to help a newbie through those initial very awkward and frustrating weeks. I can't imagine that I inadvertently did more than that, as absolutely no one has ever hit on me there, and I like that, actually, a wonderful safe space where I can have as many "dates" as dances played, and it's always nothing more than a dance. I am not flirty, have never been, but I am Fun, sunny optimist by nature. Even when my sunshine is dented, I put it away. Many times, I wear whack stuff on theme to get the party started. Or, just because I'm not feeling great and stepping into a different mindset is helpful. Pink zebra pants are fun and help me be bold. Bought those, made the pink fringed zebra vest. I have found that my whacky outfits do gain me more dances. It's clear what I'm here for, let's boogie!

I would be hesitant for "worlds to collide" but this guy is direct and I like that. I don't like games, don't like them played on me, it's a big part of why I have avoided dating for a while. Be who you are, say what you think, allow me to do same. He doesn't present as big ego either, he seems very comfortable with who he is. Sure, let's get a drink. I'd like to find out what all these questions are about, and ask some of my own. I hope he likes to shoot pool, I definitely like beer with that. I can't say there is instant attraction, but I do very much like his peaceful demeanor, easy smile and sparkling blue eyes. I wasn't looking for this, but I can't think of any good reason not to go on a few dates.

Sometimes, reaching out to someone sitting alone has unexpected benefits. I could do worse than to gain a new friend. If it turns into more, well, that's a bridge too far out to envision. I can get to Belize on my own, I am no gold digger, the potential of a trip would not cause me to put up with a personality I cannot otherwise nor suck up fear. Maybe I have a new pal to help me spend my vacation points. Maybe he becomes a dance partner and we start competing together (I could compete more if someone split cost with me). The world is full of possibilities. Right now, I am not quite sure what to make of this. I do get scared when someone seems more into me than I am into them, but I really don't know much at this point. He's interested in me, I like him well enough to see if I'm interested in him.

I was already in process of renewing passport that I let expire back when my ability to travel internationally dried up. I entered a chance to spend 2 months in Bahamas learning about reef conservation. Unpaid, but my expenses are paid. Good enough to shoot for that once in a lifetime chance. I'll know by mid-March if I am going to be away from home all of April and May. exciting. Another one of those, maybe I should be scared out of my mind things, but I'm not.
 

b2bailey

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Enjoyed reading this with my Sunday morning coffee. You have a wonderful way with the written word. One more thing I like about TUG lounge topics, we are free to write much or little about most anything. (Oh, and I share your appreciation for sparkling blue eyes. )
 

geekette

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Thank you, that's very kind! My father always encouraged my writing. He liked the stories I wrote, knew there was creativity in me. I credit him with my mindset of "try everything, you never know what you'll like" and my belief that I can do or be anyone or anything I want.
 

b2bailey

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Thank you, that's very kind! My father always encouraged my writing. He liked the stories I wrote, knew there was creativity in me. I credit him with my mindset of "try everything, you never know what you'll like" and my belief that I can do or be anyone or anything I want.
I could write more about you and dancing. An amazing aspect of your life that has truly blossomed!
 

WinniWoman

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Very interesting! Everything happens for a reason! Looking forward to hearing more about how this turns out!
 

geekette

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I could write more about you and dancing. An amazing aspect of your life that has truly blossomed!
Oh gosh, you See Me Very Well, much better than even my siblings (after one comp, my brother said it was "selling sex").

I could obviously go on and on (and have!), but the short point is that dancing did blossom me, and I was receptive to it. The practical thing, given big cut to income, would be to stop paying for lessons. But the truth is that I have found it to be better therapy than the 3 shrinks I tried. Based on my shock when finding true ages of others, I might have found the fountain of youth. Be happy and keep moving. Thank you for warming my heart.
 

geekette

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Very interesting! Everything happens for a reason! Looking forward to hearing more about how this turns out!
I truly believe this. I have been floating around for a few years, always a free spirit, but moreso now. I can promise updates on my new friend.

If I am indeed Belize bound, there are few in my in-person world I would share it with. I don't need the negativity nor fear-mongering, I hear a lot of "you can't" even on less grand things. Here, I would get many perspectives, and could easily check in from Belize without anyone panicked over my safety.
 

stmartinfan

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Always interesting to read about the paths a life can take when a person is open to trying something new and stepping out of their routine and comfort zone!
 

Brett

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more fun for me to think about than Corona and the couple sitting alone thread nudged me.

I've been doing ballroom dance for a few years and did a 5-pack world champion coach session Friday. It was, frankly, amazing. I always take advantage of the half day sessions when offered. They get enough takers to make it affordable to hire them. Hard to explain, but like renowned experts in your field coming to help you learn finer points of expression or impact, and sometimes positioning your body correctly. It's intense, a lot of info crammed in. It's both group and personal instruction. Between sessions, I jot down notes. Always something I didn't know, or thought I knew but now have a different perspective on, but it is so much info, you have to take notes to retain it all. So many new things to try to incorporate to my dancing. My head is still spinning with all the new stuff. That's a good thing, I got my money's worth (250 for 5 coaches is an amazing deal).

I did not enroll in the competition so I was done for the weekend by 4 pm Friday. Got what I came for without stress of hair, makeup, costume. I like competing, it's the trappings I could do without (tomboy here, my sport was swimming, no hair, makeup, shoe and hose thing). And the cost. Not a cheap sport, especially for ladies. I was going to go watch other sessions but saving my pennies, each session costs a tank of gas. I remembered how frustrating it was at last year's comp that I could get no takers for General Dance at evening events. NOBODY was dancing except scheduled performances, I asked every lead, even people I had never seen before. Fred Astaire is "everyone dances with everyone" so I feel free to go ask. I'm ok with rejection, generally, but, dang, how can we be at a dance event with nobody dancing?? Big ole empty floor for 20 minutes here and there, music always playing. I did not have the guts to go ask a judge to dance, was not sure it was appropriate, especially since last time I was going to be competing. Seems like it would be seeking special favor but I honestly don't know the etiquette so remained on safe side. I opted not to pay my money for no dancing again this year. I left unhappy last year. Didn't want to risk it again. I'm on a happy wave, I'm keeping it.

Anyhow, there is a new gentleman to our dance studio, John. First I knew of him was a party a few weeks back, when staff asked me to go introduce myself (I tend to do Welcome Wagoning on my own, I remember being new). I can be shy, but I try not to be at the studio, and it's good for me. So I went over to meet John, wanted to know what dances he was learning, and, obviously, do you want to dance? He was game, told me he was a widower, trying to rejoin life, get out of the house, do things, and be among people, and wanted to finally learn to dance. Hey, I didn't start until my mid-40s, I get it. Smiling guy with easy disposition, if he had been crushed by depression, he was over it or hiding it. Hey, we're all actors to some extent in the dance studio, most have no idea I went through medical issues, and I smile through any pain or dizziness unless it's bad enough to stop. I do warn new partners that my left shoulder is problematic (not really an issue as my right is "steering arm" but I can't risk being grabbed by left shoulder - if I'm falling, grab me at waist or hip, no higher, or let me drop; I can fall pretty well). Twinkling blue eyes and near constant smile, he's in party mode tonight, let's go... what a sponge, he became better at Fox Trot fast. Even a couple moves where I said, Look, I don't know Guy Part, here's what I do, you may move to the side, rock back, I dunno, you figure it out. He Did. Every Time. Not graceful, but that comes later. Receptive is good enough.

Anyhow, he said he was really trying to learn, practicing at home, etc., asked me lots of questions about dance, and myself. Like every party, I dance with most every gent I can, I am not there to sit or eat the food. He kept coming over to ask me, and I don't ever refuse. I wasn't sure what to make of the personal questions (most adult males do not ask my age on meeting me; I have no idea what most gents there do for a living, nor do they know my retired career). Other ladies had been asked to go meet him, dance with him, make him feel welcome, staff also made sure to visit him. I have been told that I am very easy to dance with, so maybe that's why he kept coming back to me. Plus, I am near our instructor's size (tho not competence) so a decent stand in to get used to a partner much shorter. Do not hunch down, tall men, as that leads to shoving your strength down into the lady and there is nothing she can do but her right shoulder has to absorb it and it is painful - has a name, Ladies' Arm.

A staffer told me that the lady he had originally shown up to dance class with had been mean to him, critical on everything. I know full well that it's a big fat drag to have an annoying partner that thinks they are the teacher! Staff wanted to make sure he had Good Experiences. He did, he stuck around after the party talking to everyone, it was probably wise that he came alone. Boom, he has a new community, a place to go where people are cheerful and will always be happy to see him, every lady will accept dance request. I kinda feel like Norm walking into Cheers, they do that for all of us. it's that kind of thing, everyone that knows you, greets you, glad you're there. It's genuine, too. You'd be amazed how fast a bad day can melt off you when presented with happy people wanting to share love of dance. On a good night, I find That Zone, where it's just pure joy of living. It's an amazing thing I never envisioned when I started dancing, and I would guess it is like runner's high. On those nights, the parties end way too soon...

He asked me when my next lesson was (we have same instructor) and it was to be right after his, the next week. He seemed really happy about that, "see you Wednesday" several times. ok, that's cool, you know someone, you'll see someone you know next time. I didn't think much of it, it can be comforting to Know Someone. Since he is So New, I thought I'd go early, maybe my instructor would need me so she could demonstrate for him his part by leading me. I was right, she needed me to show him how to lead Fox Trot Promenade with her as lead. He did not bring a lady to this lesson. Always glad to help, I fade away to wait for my lesson, he leaves right after his. My instructor said he was not sure on doing this coaching 5 pack, which is so valuable to new or experienced dancers. I told her to let him know I would buddy up with him at it, if that would help him feel more comfortable about attending. It really is difficult when new. you know so little, it's very frustrating, and you can feel like a stumbling fool among all these graceful people that seem to understand everything the coach is saying. It's also awkward to "find a partner" on demand, so I didn't mind having a built in buddy, and I knew it would make it easier for him. the better the dancer, the less likely they are to want to chance a newbie.

Then I take off to the beach because use it or lose it points. Plus, February has a lot of Grey and I was seeking Blue. Returned exhausted, but happy and relaxed. Had one day home to relax before this great coaching day. It was enough, I was ready to hit it Friday. Felt good, muscles were playing along, pain mitigation worked without drugs, whoo hoo, I get to have a good day without dizzy-making crap onboard!! I like to arrive feeling good, feeling strong, Ready.

Saw my instructor after first session, took her a gift from my travel (she seemed surprised that the wine was cold, but of course I wanted her to have the option to crack it open whenever she wanted - she wasn't going to be dancing for many hours and all instructors have a room at the hotel so she could stash it for later and keep it cold). She told me that John had been asking her, repeatedly, are you sure she is going to show up? He doesn't know me. I would never have offered if I didn't mean it. Presumably she assured him, because, she DOES know me, and also knows I am not going to lose what I paid for unless I am too sick to leave home. But right then, I'm thinking, uh oh, does he think this is More Than Dance? What else is he asking her? I am currently not interested in dating, and have never been a flirt. But I am nice. that can be misconstrued, but, whatever, he's apparently a direct guy, I can be direct. No worries, we're both here to dance, I promised nothing more.

After touching base with her, I head back to my table and see John has arrived, go over to his table to say hi, how ya doing, etc. He moves his stuff over to where I am sitting. It was funny, actually, he was in such a hurry to join me that he knocked down 2 chairs. Uh, I think he Really Likes Me. I was flattered, it was really cute. This big mid 60s guy falling over himself to come sit with me. For a big guy, he can move fast. I don't ever recall a guy making a beeline for me like that before. Combo of Uh Oh and Aw, he likes me. I can be uncomfortable with male attention I was not seeking but it wasn't uncomfortable. I deemed it Sweet.

Sessions start, I helped him keep his balance on some steps he didn't know as we were to each traverse the floor solo, I put a hand out to help steady him, and he seemed grateful (he doesn't have dance shoes yet, street shoes do not have the give he would need to do this). Gave him a few tips on keeping balance, etc. Between sessions, we had maybe 10 minutes, so some small talk. He asks if I like travelling. Oh yes, yes I do. Lindsey may have told him that I had fled to the beach, but I didn't. So then he said something I'm not completely clear on. I think he said "They are giving me a hotel room in Belize" and I said, "oooh, Belize, what a treat!" and then next instructor arrived and began so that was that. Well, now, hold on, was your asking if I like travel related to your Belize plans? Did I just kinda sorta get asked if I'd like to see Belize? I was certainly enthusiastic, but in a "lucky you!" way. I don't think I originally thought he was dangling a trip, but now I'm not so sure.

Next break, he asks if I like beer. Yes, sometimes. Asks if I would like to get a drink with him sometime. Sure, I'd like that. I did not expect to be asked out, but he seems a decent enough guy to have a harmless drink with. I am generally opposed to dating from within the studio, fears of wrecking my safe space with drama. But I hadn't had to confront it before. It has just been Dancing. Frankly, that's what I like! I can enjoy companionship with many gentleman and nobody expects a kiss goodbye. Nobody thinks it is anything more than A Dance. There is no wife that gets upset when I dance with her husband. I arrive by myself, leave by myself. Always.

I did not feel comfortable saying, So, Belize..... but I'm super curious. Who is "They" that is giving him a hotel room, why, when, is it a group you're going with .... ? Are you actually seeking a travel companion or simply mentioning Your Trip? Dunno. Dying of curiosity because, why did you bring it up? Another time he asked if I was working and I said no. That would sure clear the way to travel. No pesky career in the way. Seems he is running through his checklist. Maybe, maybe not. He's at least a decade older than me, but not something I care about. Apparently he doesn't care either, maybe making sure I'm not too young for him? Maybe I had to at least be older than his daughter? dunno.

The last session was about frame, which is the 2 people in frame, and he did need that instruction, and it probably helped to have a patient partner. He needs to relax the grip, relax his shoulders, give me a bit of space as this is way too crunched up together, I cannot move when I am clamped. I had already gotten him to quit squeezing my hands (meds give me painful hands already, I can't take the squish). He has a bit of a belly and well taller than me so finding the right frame for us was A Thing, plus I have a neck problem and shoulder problems, so was seeking comfortable frame (thinking, dang, I did not stretch upper body nearly enough, but, deal with it, my own fault, push through). I was having enough fun that it distracted from pain so my smile was genuine. His smile didn't seem to change to, oooh, like those boobies against me, so I felt safe. I have Letch Radar and he wasn't tripping it. I won't dance with someone whose gaze keeps going to my chest. I can't handle that, have dealt with it since I was 12.

Dancing is a close sport. I'm kinda over it, don't get self-conscious about having to stick my right boob into that space that splits his chest unless the guy is weird about it. same with Tango leg entanglement, I can handle it if the guy can, and you generally don't discuss it, it just happens and the dance proceeds better for doing it right. but I couldn't reach so into belly it is. That's how it is, That's Dance, can't get my boobs higher than this, he needs to stand tall, things are where they are. John wasn't weird about it, neither was I. We're adults with bodies we are learning to position correctly for sport. He kept eye contact, which is very very helpful in partner dance. He was smiling vs the fearful look usually seen on a newbie, male or female. I found it easy to return eye contact. I am honestly a sucker for certain blue eyes, and he has them. They dance all on their own.

He did take the opportunity offered to dance with a male instructor, so no homophobia here (many new students would not do this, but seriously, take Any Chance to dance with a coach of either gender! I got to dance with Nadia (cannot place her European accent), learned a bit about I get to lead a bit, too, tho I have not found a male lead appreciate this ever. The male British instructor was a lot of fun, many wise cracks, some about us, meaning, me and John. It was fine, it was fun. We both got a lot out of that session because we had to reverse frame, which I don't do, and of course he has never, and it was funny to try to get this tall guy to follow my lead for an underarm turn, but my arm is still in socket and he ducked sufficiently to make it under. He took the tip of "don't break the lady!" seriously. They don't all, I have been manhandled and shoved around, those are guys I do not intentionally dance with, but suffer through when they ask me for a dance. So far, John is a gentle giant who only needs to relax.

We got kicked out of the ballroom (they had to revamp for night session) and I think he was going to walk me to my car, but I saw snow and needed to change to street clothes and use restroom so goodbye. It is standard to hug. remember, close sport, it's part of being comfortable with touch and it begins pretty much at first lesson. It was uncomfortable for me at first, but that was years ago. We're all hugging each other on hello and goodbye. No big whoop. At least on my part. Dance has helped me shed a lot of hangups; some I knew I had, some I didn't. Hug goodbye made sense to me, I didn't back away, he didn't squeeze too hard or linger too long, it was a normal goodbye hug.

In the dressing room, I find out from another lady that he is simply Getting Out There, meeting people, going and doing things, Living Life, dating lots of ladies. I asked, did he mention Belize to you? No, but he had mentioned he had a trip coming up and was seeking a travel companion. She seems to have done a fair amount of talking to him, knew more of his personal situation, and that they live near each other. Her assessment same as mine - sweet gentleman widower looking to add color to his life, not a letch, not a weirdo. Can't fault him for preferring to spend time with females, I imagine he was married for a long time and misses her a lot (not sure how recent her death). Probably had his fill of time with the guys during military service. A guy that is keen on learning to dance, and going out, might be just the new friend I need. I have been wanting to go to Rooftop Ballroom again for a while, I think he would dig that. Maybe he would go to some of the other dances that happen around town. Heck, even the guy I learned to dance with Never Took Me Dancing. Always "I'm looking for a place" bs.

But, Belize. I am curious as hell about this. I have wanted to see Belize for some time now, had assumed I would visit on cruise port stop sometime in the future. If he is seeking a travel companion, the questions make a lot of sense, as does asking me to get a drink sometime, get to know each other a bit better. When is this trip? What's the purpose? Who is giving you a hotel room? Are there meeting obligations or what? Would I have my own room? Would we get to really see and immerse ourselves in Belize? I would be thrilled to see Belize and if it is not for many months, I could consider going with him, but I'd need A Lot of details. I suppose if I remain "in the running" there will be details. For whatever reason, I am not hearing warning bells in my head. Seems like I should, but, I'm not always right in the head, and still on post-vacation glow, and then the training... so the bells could be muted. I have a lot less fear about lots of things these days. My life got a jolt and after that, perspective on lots of things changed. Besides, I'll find out more about him as time goes on and will heed whatever my spidey sense tells me. Right now, he has a peaceful easy vibe that feels genuine.

Since I was not intending to date, and have not been struck by lightning, and don't know what he's really looking for, it's just another interesting path the universe has thrown my way. I also have a soft spot in my heart for veterans, believe them to usually be honorable people. I am open to dating him casually, would be scared if he wanted to date Only Me as I am still in a "I need a lot of space and privacy" life phase now and can't take on expectations of others. I could probably very much use more outings in my life, I probably do spend too much time alone, and in my own damned head. Quality male companionship would be a good thing, help to counter the bad experiences I've had. Romance, I dunno. Asking me out for drinks means I'll see if he seriously puts it away or just enjoys it. I don't like heavy drinkers, don't want that in my life. One of my longtime male friends has turned into a disrespectful drunk and I can't be around it. Phone calls only, I do not go meet up with him any more. For one thing, I don't want him on the road. But he's a friend, I can't cut him from my life, especially when he is clearly troubled. But I don't drink with drunks, I cannot be party to it, will not encourage it. If John were A Drinker, I surely would have smelled it at the party, as that's when I would down some to get to ok socially. No alarms here, wait and see. Midday Friday, no alcohol smell. My grandfather was an alcoholic, I am seriously wary of it. It's not like I don't drink, tho very rare and very little these days.

Anyhow, I did not expect this. I thought I was simply being a great studio student, offering to help a newbie through those initial very awkward and frustrating weeks. I can't imagine that I inadvertently did more than that, as absolutely no one has ever hit on me there, and I like that, actually, a wonderful safe space where I can have as many "dates" as dances played, and it's always nothing more than a dance. I am not flirty, have never been, but I am Fun, sunny optimist by nature. Even when my sunshine is dented, I put it away. Many times, I wear whack stuff on theme to get the party started. Or, just because I'm not feeling great and stepping into a different mindset is helpful. Pink zebra pants are fun and help me be bold. Bought those, made the pink fringed zebra vest. I have found that my whacky outfits do gain me more dances. It's clear what I'm here for, let's boogie!

I would be hesitant for "worlds to collide" but this guy is direct and I like that. I don't like games, don't like them played on me, it's a big part of why I have avoided dating for a while. Be who you are, say what you think, allow me to do same. He doesn't present as big ego either, he seems very comfortable with who he is. Sure, let's get a drink. I'd like to find out what all these questions are about, and ask some of my own. I hope he likes to shoot pool, I definitely like beer with that. I can't say there is instant attraction, but I do very much like his peaceful demeanor, easy smile and sparkling blue eyes. I wasn't looking for this, but I can't think of any good reason not to go on a few dates.

Sometimes, reaching out to someone sitting alone has unexpected benefits. I could do worse than to gain a new friend. If it turns into more, well, that's a bridge too far out to envision. I can get to Belize on my own, I am no gold digger, the potential of a trip would not cause me to put up with a personality I cannot otherwise nor suck up fear. Maybe I have a new pal to help me spend my vacation points. Maybe he becomes a dance partner and we start competing together (I could compete more if someone split cost with me). The world is full of possibilities. Right now, I am not quite sure what to make of this. I do get scared when someone seems more into me than I am into them, but I really don't know much at this point. He's interested in me, I like him well enough to see if I'm interested in him.

I was already in process of renewing passport that I let expire back when my ability to travel internationally dried up. I entered a chance to spend 2 months in Bahamas learning about reef conservation. Unpaid, but my expenses are paid. Good enough to shoot for that once in a lifetime chance. I'll know by mid-March if I am going to be away from home all of April and May. exciting. Another one of those, maybe I should be scared out of my mind things, but I'm not.

I vote to continue seeing where this friendship goes
I'll also vote for this being the longest TUG post ...... :)
 

geekette

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Always interesting to read about the paths a life can take when a person is open to trying something new and stepping out of their routine and comfort zone!
Well, you never know, right? Heck, it was maybe 8 years ago now that it was time to finally learn how to do a proper waltz. Showed up in my standard geek attire right from work the first year or two.

Part of the appeal to dancing is the acting, and it was An Act to lady up for me. There is a lot of theater happening, if you do it right. I like to play with making costumes, a lot. I would never have known that, or that I seem to be able to create whack clothes that others dig. Not a clothing gal here, hated sewing, thought it excessively frustrating. Now I'm making money on the side that way. Each theme party is a separate Halloween. I was married to a man that did not like Halloween. Making up for that, for sure. My ex would be blown away by who I am now.

Yes, the unexpected I have encountered, when I thought I was on the way to somewhere else, is seriously mind blowing. I figured out that I had never completely figured myself out. I've been given the gift to do so now. The ribbon is around my neck, the wrapping is a skirt, my pricey dance shoes are in the box, let's go!
 

geekette

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I vote to continue seeing where this friendship goes
I'll also vote for this being the longest TUG post ...... :)
lol, yeah, I can go on...

Could be the perfect new friend, dance plus travel is exactly what I was looking to do in forward decades.
 
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