How could I not pass up the opportunity to tell you about being 47 and having to go back to the tried and true method of meeting members of the opposite sex at dances? I mean no one can make this stuff up. NO ONE :) I have found it to be a very entertaining and yet painful process. As I make small ventures into the world of single, older people the realizations come rushing in faster than I can handle. I have noticed I will take one step, learn something, retreat, assimilate information I acquired, get up my courage, and attempt it all again. So many good times :)
Anyhow, my dear single/divorced friend April and I decided about a month or so ago, that no matter what, we were not going to be found doing nothing on New Years Eve this year. It is just too depressing. So we found a Single adult dance in Portland and decided we needed to go. We figured out where our kids could be so we could go. We fussed about what to wear...we decided on dresses just in case you needed to know. We reassured each other that this was going to be fun. As I got ready on Thursday night in the bathroom with my 16 year old, who was heading out to her own dance, the irony of the situation was not lost on me. There we were, both doing our hair and make up to go to a dance....weird....and so not where I ever thought I would be at this point of my life. To be reminding her of the age old rule I have told all my girls, that you must say yes if a boy gets up the courage to ask you to dance and realizing I had to practice what I preached now....ugh :)
The drive to Portland is about two hours and that drive must be done if you want to find anyone of the opposite sex to even talk to, let alone date, not to be dramatic but Portland is our only hope. The singles in Portland always think we are crazy when they hear that we drove all the way up from Cottage Grove to hang out with them but you do what you have to do to find someone of the opposite sex to talk to.
Dances were hard when I was 14 years old let alone now, do you remember?
Trying to be kind to and yet, at the same time, avoid someone you do not want to dance with.
Not being embarrassed or inhibited about your lack of dancing skills.
Worrying about your breath.
Wishing the cute boy would ask you to dance.
And now I can add to this list of things that complicate a dance:
All of us who have had at least twenty years of life experiences that cause us to be a little wary.
Being brave enough to tell a guy you are a bus driver :)
Worrying that he can feel your muffin top when you are slow dancing.
Usually when April and I go to these dances there are not many people there. We honestly never know what to expect. So when we pulled into the parking lot last night at about 9:05 pm we were both a little bit giddy and nervous to see that the parking lot was very full. It was so full that we got the second to the last parking spot. It is so weird to be standing in this gym full of adults from age 31 to late 60's and realize we all never imagined we would get a do-over at dances. We are all a little afraid of each other because we know what life is about now and what we can do to each other. All of us with all sorts of life baggage. All of us wondering if there really is a second chance out there for us? All of us wondering how old each other is? Yeah, now we have no idea how old each of us is and we have all aged differently.
I am learning that this is the obstacle for me at these dances is that besides being short, I look young. Someone at the dance last night thought I was April's little sister. I am wondering if the guys are looking at me and thinking they would rather die than rob the cradle without realizing that I am 47, have 7 children, and 2 grandchildren. I do not know how to fix this problem? Wear something crocheted? Let my hair go gray? Get some Grandma shoes?
I did get asked to dance and I did have a good time. I danced with guys that were taller than I am...duh:) And even though we are in our 40's they still can not resist the urge to make a smart comment about how short I am. I just told them I had most likely heard the short comment before but challenged them to try to come up with something new :) I danced with guys that insisted on teaching me all that they knew about dancing. There were guys that I danced with that really wanted to talk about themselves and guys that didn't.
There was that moment when some guy asked me to dance to a song that a few select people were doing a very complicated line dance to. So complicated that these people had come to the dance early to learn it. He insisted that I go out there and dance it with him. I am thinking this was maybe not the highlight of my evening....but I am thankfully grown up enough now to have been able to just laugh my way through it and not care that everyone could see the mess I was in.
It definitely brought back a lot of memories to be dancing to Journey and Depeche Mode songs again. It definitely made me smile to see cute little, older than me, couples doing the swing dance to the song YMCA....now I know it is possible. The eclectic mix of what we choose to wear now that we are grown ups definitely entertained me. The personalities that never change and are found at every dance felt comforting.
April and I made a whole bunch of new girlfriends and it was so fun to connect with them. They told us about 80's music night at a club in Portland on Friday nights. They would sadly make a face as they declared to us how long they had been single....14 years, 17 years, 12 years, 8 years. Apparently good guys are hard to find. They invited us to join their big circle of people dancing to fast songs. We were very grateful for them. They told us we both looked to young to be there, so young that they thought at first that we were sister missionaries....silly girls.
If I had to choose I would prefer getting to know people by playing games, hiking, or simply sitting and talking but dances are part of the meeting people process when you are human....no matter how old you are. On January 9th a group of the singles are taking their kids and going sledding on Mt. Hood and that is more my thing so we are going....wish me luck :)