49: Dancing in the Kitchen

49: Dancing in the Kitchen

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: True Love

Dancing in the Kitchen

To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.

~Hopi Indian Saying

I love my husband. I also love dancing. Over the years we learned from experience, however, beginning with our wedding more than forty years ago, that the two were not compatible. We just didn’t dance well together. We seemed to have an abundance of left feet.

So when our son announced that he was getting married, I knew something had to be done. I was not about to let us stumble our way through the official parents’ dance. I did what I thought was the easiest and fastest way to come up to dancing speed—I signed us up for dancing classes.

My husband grumbled. He complained that it is impossible to count the beats, do the variations, and feel the music at the same time.

“That’s multitasking,” I told him.

Women are used to it. Folding the laundry and helping with homework. Cooking dinner and talking on the phone. It comes naturally.

“I’m a focused kind of guy,” he said. “I do one thing at a time.”

“Good,” I said. “Do one thing. Dance.”

He was reluctant but, with the wedding approaching in a matter of months, he agreed to go.

Our instructor taught us the basic steps but warned that if we didn’t practice, we would forget them by the next class. We knew she was right because by the time we got home that first night we were already struggling to remember everything she showed us.

But where to practice? Our house didn’t have an appropriate dance floor. The den was too small, the living room too crowded. We decided to practice in the kitchen. We moved the table and chairs to one side. The room really wasn’t big enough for an elegant foxtrot, and it would put a crimp in an enthusiastic swing, but it would do.

It was difficult at first. Our instructor told us that the male and female each have specific parts: he leads, she does the flourishes. Yet between my jittery energy and his resistance, our individual styles, limited as they were, frequently clashed. I would resort to leading when I thought my husband wasn’t assertive enough, which irritated us both. With practice, though, we began to sense each other’s strengths and respond to each other’s timing. Our posture became more confident. We stopped staring at our feet, willing them to go where they were supposed to instead of being surprised by where they ended up.

We noticed that our dancing improved the more we practiced, so we practiced more. We noticed something else, as well. Things seemed to be changing between us—in a good way. We were rediscovering each other. As we accepted our differing approaches to dance, we began to be less critical in other areas. If dinner was a little late, Benny Goodman helped us while away the time. When we held hands as we got ready to dance, the anticipation of our dating days returned. We laughed a lot more when we danced, no longer upset by our mistakes. We started with our instructor’s steps and then began making up our own. We were having fun!

We danced at our son’s wedding and to our mutual surprise we keep on dancing. Sometimes it is at a party, often just in our kitchen. I can tell when my husband wants to take a swing around the kitchen floor. His eyes light up. I love the grin on his face when we finish a pattern and come out on the right step. I am even more delighted at our laughter when we don’t.

Dancing has drawn us closer, renewed our intimacy. There is a lot more hugging, more innuendo, more delight. Maybe it’s just our endorphins running wild. Dancing is, after all, an aerobic exercise that releases those wonderful chemicals of euphoria.

The wedding was the excuse to dance but the result was more than a physical exercise. It helped us remember the excitement of who we are together. And as we continue dancing in the kitchen, wrapped in each other’s arms and looking into our happy faces, we rekindle our love.

~Ferida Wolff

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