Monday night at Swing Club, Mr. Zoot and I were teaching a move called the Reject, where the follow walks forward into her lead’s arm. Now if she turns as she’s walking, as she ought, she’ll end up with her back against her partner’s arm, ready to execute the second half of the move. If she doesn’t turn, whether because she wasn’t paying attention or because her partner didn’t actually lead her to turn, she’s walking straight ahead into her partner’s outstretched arm. Which can lead to, um, awkwardness, depending on height and/or hand placement. Technically, the name for this awkwardness is Accidental Boob/Butt Grab, or ABG. And, you know, it happens. You’ve got two bodies in motion, sometimes people move in unexpected ways, and suddenly you’re touching something you really didn’t mean to be touching. It’s an accident, you giggle, you apologize, and you move on.
Sometimes, however, it’s not an accident. I remember dancing years ago with a certain friend. The first time he got himself a handful, I was pretty sure it was an accident, so I let it slide. The second time I knew for sure it wasn’t, and gave him A Look. He turned a rather fetching deep pink, promptly apologized, and behaved with the utmost propriety for the rest of the dance (which is part of why we’re still friends). Or then there was another guy who, whenever I danced with him, seemed to always work in the Inside Turn Speed Bumps. He was such a very proper young man that it never occurred to me that this might not be an accident. In fact, since he was much better than I was, I figured that somehow it was my fault – that I was turning too fast or something. So, in all innocence, I decided to bring it up in our weekly practice session. It’s a testimony to my blinding cluelessness that I was a little disappointed that the senior dancer I was working with didn’t give me anything to do to fix the problem. It wasn’t until I thought about it later that I realized what was really going on, and then I had to shake my head at myself. Still, I never had that problem with the guy again, so one way or another, the problem got fixed!
However, those incidents were small stuff compared with the first time I ever had a dance partner put his hands where he shouldn’t. That time it was all Bounce’s fault. I had only been dancing for a few months, and was taking Swing I for the second time. Bounce was teaching with Belle, and when he was teaching Inside Turns, he made a big point about how the lead should drop his left hand immediately after leading the turn because, “you might get slapped, or you might make a new friend!” The guy I was in the rotation with, much older than me and rather creepy in a everything-I-say-is-secretly-a-dirty-joke kind of way, decided that he wanted to find out if I was his new friend. Even though he had led the move perfectly before Bounce decided to make his little joke, the next time he led it, he deliberately didn’t drop the hand. And it was just so gross. When the move was done I took a deep breath, looked him dead in the eye, and said, “Next time, you’re going to drop the hand.” He colored, looked shiftily anywhere but at me, and agreed. And he dropped the hand. Still, once burned… for months I couldn’t follow an inside turn without tucking my free arm protectively across my chest. And the next time I took Bounce’s Swing I class (I ended up taking it 3 or 4 times because it was the only class WSU offered), I specially went to Bounce and requested that he not make that joke ever again. Usually he remembers.
Anyway, to get back to my original story, on Monday night after we taught our students how to avoid Awkwardness while performing the move in question, I made a joke about how we didn’t teach the How To Feel Up Your Partner class. That’s when Mr. Zoot told me that there were actual instructional videos out there on the interwebs on How To Feel Up Your Dance Partner. He told me that they were made as a joke, but that they were awesome, and that I should check them out. So I did. And they really kinda are. I would embed one or two of them here, but the website won’t allow it. So if you’re not easily offended, and you’d like to laugh a little this gorgeous Wednesday afternoon, go check it out!
In other news, I have my little car Vanya back! It’s such a relief to be driving it again. I feel a little like Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd (at last my arm is complete again!), except for it’d have to be my foot, or perhaps my butt. Whatever part of me connects the most with my car. Regardless, I’m thrilled to have it, and it’s superb gas mileage back.
Also, holy cow, how did it get to be November so quickly?!