I went dancing tonight. Salsa dancing. A dance I love and am good at. I’m better at merengue, but who isn’t? I went dancing and didn’t dance once during the three hours we were there. Why? If you are at a new to you place and aren’t asked to dance in the first 20 minutes, you won’t dance the whole night.
The friend I went with was asked to dance immediately. No matter where I sat or stood or how I stood or sat, I wasn’t asked to dance. I only enjoy watching people dance for so long before my inner fat girl starts to take over and I have to run to the bathroom to cry.
It throws me back to 1997. I was in Mexico City on a college trip. I was one of the few people on the trip who spoke spanish and the only one who could dance. We all went out one night and I was the only one who didn’t dance. I felt so entitled to get to dance–I spoke spanish. I knew how to dance. But nobody asked me. Eventually I couldn’t hold it in and started to cry. After all, it didn’t matter if anyone saw me–I would never see these people again.
The waiter brought over a tiny bottle of rum with a napkin. The napkin was a note from a man at the bar, “No lloras.” Don’t cry. Then something about how things are better with alcohol. Even though he sent the kind note, I don’t remember dancing. So I sat there feeling fat, gross, stupid, and a million other things you feel when you know you deserve to dance, but aren’t asked.
Even though I’m not so fat anymore, inner fat girl took over. I even tried to remember what Mick Napier tried to teach me yesterday. “Fake it till you make it.” Walk on stage with more confidence, stand on the back line more openly. I kept thinking about that and trying to be open, not be so in my head. But everytime someone next to me got pulled onto the dance floor, I felt a lump in my throat.
I tried to focus on the bizarre world around me. The man and woman with matching pinstripe suits and pink accents, the man oddly hopping every few measures to no beat I heard. The 8 year old girl who is no bigger than my leg, dancing like a professional ballroom dancer and putting women all over the room to shame. The Korean girls who could salsa–where did asian girls learn how to dance? The black girls with little afros. The giant hispanic men who could lead the most intricate dances.
Even with so much to watch, I couldn’t keep the inner fat girl quiet and had to escape twice to cry. The problem with sniffling in the bathroom of a restuarant and then having red eyes from crying, is that I look more like I was doing cocaine than feeling fat.
I’ll just have to remember that I can dance, because once upon a time I was asked.