As I (slowly) look around for more dancing options, I am beginning to realize that the lindy/swing scene is a lot more “socially oriented” than the ballroom world is. If you want a dance studio that has regular lessons and private instructors for ballroom, your search is easy. If you want the same for lindy hop or any form of swing that isn’t taught at a ballroom establishment, then you’re almost kind of screwed.
Dance classes are natural to me and easy to justify. I started ballet classes when I was three or so and didn’t stop for ten years or thereabouts, so the whole “trained instructor gives a specialized lesson for a pre-determined amount of time” format is coded into my personality in ways that can overcome even my introversion. Sure, I get anxious showing up to a new place, but it’s a class, so I don’t have to pretend to be normal, try to make small talk, or even make eye contact. (I usually try all these things anyway because it would be rude not to, but there’s relief in knowing that if I fail, I’m not failing at the entire concept of “class.”) Even better, I can usually justify the cost without thinking, because in my subconscious, “class” equals “learning,” and “learning” equals “good.”
On the other hand, when you’re dealing with the format where you show up for a quick lesson and then have a party afterwards, my inner cheapskate screams “YOU’LL NEVER GET YOUR MONEY’S WORTH!”
This is partly because a social party doesn’t have the same “officialish” quality that a dance studio has, but mostly, it’s because my inner introvert sees the party portion as a trial and a huge investment of effort, and thus I must resist the urge to
FLEE TO FREEDOM I mean, uh, go home and do adulty responsible things, uh, like going to the grocery store. By myself.
I only started going to the parties at Mystery Studio after Instructorman assured me that he’d be there and would look out for me, and I seriously stressed out about the first few anyway. (Sad note: Instructorman left the U.S. of A. recently. Guess that’s one less reason to go back to Mystery Studio!)
I had an unoriginal idea of sorts: take someone as backup, so I can have
a safe person to run to someone I already know to chat with, because that makes it much easier to shut down the introverted portion of my personality that’s constantly begging me to make a break for it. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have any friends other than the Former Significant Other in the area who are willing to do that.
There are three problems with taking the F.S.O. as backup:
- While he said he’d go with me, he also pointed out that he is Super Busy and he can’t go on This Night or on That Night or That One Either, which makes me think that, quite frankly, he’s not going to do it at all. If he can’t be bothered to part from his schedule even once to help me out, I’m sure as hell not going to beg him to do it. I’ve got my damn dignity.
- The F.S.O. used to dance a ton before we met, but he refused to dance while we were together, never went with me to any of Mystery Studios social parties, and showed up for a single showcase. He attempted to help me do the cha cha once. Now that we’ve broken up, the F.S.O. is now dancing like mad again, and frankly, I resent that, even though it makes no sense and no difference either.
- I’m sure the F.S.O. would have suggestions on how to improve and that isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but given that he was always fixated on my problems and what I could fix during our relationship (and I’m still mad about it), I would find it exceptionally difficult to take any advice without also telling him where he could shove said advice.
Going dancing with the F.S.O. wherever he dances wouldn’t quite work right now, either:
- He does blues dancing, which I’m not interested in at this point in time.
- I’d have to meet his current girlfriend, whom he met while dancing. She does blues dancing a lot. While I’m sure I’ll end up meeting her eventually, I am just not ready to do it in a context where she’s clearly superior to me. And skinnier. And more sporty. Etc. etc. etc.
- Issues 2 and 3 from the first list apply here too.
So I suspect I’m going to have to invoke Ye Olde Discipline and force myself to pick something and go to it for at least a couple weeks straight. Between the breakup, the moving and so on, there just hasn’t been a whole lot of willpower left over for it. It doesn’t help that I remain self-conscious after my recent weight gain. On the plus side, I finally have the exact rack I’ve wanted ever since puberty hit. Yet I don’t have sufficiently supportive bras for dancing in, much less dance-appropriate clothing that fits the new bosom, waist, butt, etc. I’ve been going to spin classes twice a week, but it seems clear I need to pick up the pace and do more of that, and give up the bottled Frappuchinos I so adore, and magically completely shift my eating and cooking habits, and and and, and there’s just not enough damn willpower in this body to do it all at once.