Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains:
Knatz.com / Personal / Stories / Theme / Dance /
This post is temporarily in limbo as I separate anti-social dance memories from trivial dance stuff, such as nicknames. The nicknames also belong among all pk nicknames.
2011 10 21 I learned of a new nickname for myself last evening at a line dance session: a dance compliment: and to some extent a social compliment, made by a new “friend” who doesn’t know me yet apart from the dance floor. But whatever Bobbi calls me in future, if she calls me at all, she’s already called me Mr. Smooth: and in the hearing of the friends who passed it to me (Carole specifically). I hope you find the story interesting, I find it delicious!
I have to introduce a couple of the characters:
First there’s me. My dancing caused a sensation in the sixth grade. But I pretty much stopped dancing when my partner was hired by Frank Sinatra to dance in his act in Las Vegas. (Doralee was fourteen at the time.) I learned to my embarassment that I couldn’t dance with other women. Doraleee read my mind, I didn’t need a strong physical lead. Also, by that age my dancing, which had begun pre-pubescent sexy, had become pubescent erotic, then puberty-burdened obscene. Jazz fan fashions and other reasons mixed in. In any event, I stopped: until a few years ago: at age sixty nine. I worked on my lead, I worked on a couple of steps … and I became famous again.
I learned line dancing, was invited to teach it, was made dance director in general of a social …
And now, though I remain persona non grata politically, and socially, I’m welcome, sort of, by some, as a dancer.
Currently the welcome seems to be winning against the shunning. (But don’t call the end of that race until I’m dead: and things can still change, post mortem.) [2013 06 09 Currently the dancer is definitely winning, people who’d been sabotaging me are now pretending they’re my great friends: I don’t contradict them.]
Also: there’s Jan, my beloved. Jan is a great dance partner, wonderful to look at, wonderful to hold. But she doesn’t line dance, won’t learn a single step to a single one. (2011 end of October: she did! 2013 12 22 She’s since explained: her balance isn’t what it was: she dances with courage only when she can hold onto something: someone: me.)
Then there’s my likewise beautiful friend Carole, who does line dance, and who ballroom danced with me all summer while Jan was in Nova Scotia: kindling rumors which Jan has wisely ignored. (Carole minded like hell, but bravely smiled through them.)
(Life Magazine gave Carole a full page in 1953 in her high school cheer leader outfit! Carole’s daughter, a beauty with her own professional modeling portfolio, said, when I met her this summer (on Jan’s trusting me to myself), “If it were me, I wouldn’t leave him alone for five minutes.”)
That’s a basic enough cast. Now, enter Bobbi.
A couple of weeks ago at the American Legion the band started to play the Boot Scootin’ Boogie. They did not announce it as a line dance, a few couples started to jitterbug. I took a position well away from the jitterbugging couples and started the line dance. The two styles don’t mix on a crowded floor. A few line dancers joined my line, there was still room for both styles.
I noticed a blond — goodlooking! — dancing by her table as she looked at me. She clearly didn’t know the dance but was trying to imitate it. I beckoned her to the floor. She stayed by her table, but still danced. I went and got her, led her to the floor, resumed the dance, and sort of led her through it. She picked it up amazingly fast!
I brought her back to the floor for the following foxtrot. She told me her name was Bobbi, widowed one year, and she gave me the name of her husband’s company, the surname prominent.
I told Bobbi that I had a regular dance partner but that though she got the lion’s share of my dances, I tried to save some for my other friends as well: if she’d be my friend under those circumstances, we’d dance plenty in time.
Bobbi seemed to accept that. Last Wednesday evening I introduced Carole and Bobbi. Carole and I urged Bobbi to come to the line dancing: last night. She did.
I came in a minute late. I saw Carole on the floor, and Lisa, and right by them, Bobbi. What a row of great looking gals! (All of the regulars are above average in health and looks, several damn cute. (Hell, they’re dancing: what exercise is more healthful, invigorating, rejuvinating?))
As we were leaving Carole and Lisa told me: as I’d come in, Bobbi had said, “And here’s Mr. Smooth.”
Bobbi disappeared for a while, but a couple of weeks ago there she was, looking cuter than ever. She reports that she’d moved away but now she’s back: Lake Placid sure is a nice place to live if you like semi-rural. Sebring, just north, isn’t too bad.
2015 07 21 Jan is in Nova Scotia, Carole is here though ill, and abracadabra, here’s Susan, newly at the post. A woman I’ve seen before but never spoken to takes hold of me and starts dancing. “I’ve seen you lindy,” she explains. Toward the end of the dance Buddy Canova plays Pretty Woman. The usual suspects are solo jigging, rock n’ rolling in a big oval. There’s that cute gal, new to me. I pluck her from the oval and claim her as my partner: big oval, one couple. At the end it gives me great pleasure to salute her with a deep bow, timed to the last beat of the song. “Thank you”, I announce, formally, to Elaine.
And Elaine says, beat beat, “Thank you! Pretty man!”
That really tickles me. I am old, I feel old, I look ancient, decrepit … impoverished: except on the dance floor. The other evening Susan was aghast when I told her Jan had just turned eighty-four. She looked at me with new intensity. “Well, how old are you?” “Seventy-six, about to be seventy-seven.” (I don’t know, it’s a stretch, but Susan might be fifty: she has a sixteen years old son living with her.) So: dancing: I guess it doesn’t show: or is overridden by something else that does show.
update: 2015 08 11 Elaine turns out to be my age! Susan turns out to be younger than my son!
more on “Pretty man” will follow as Widow Woop.
2012 12 06 New nickname, last night. I’m at the dance, Jan still has a cough, so my favorite dance partner is absent. Carole, my other favorite dance partner is there, but Bill, her boyfriend, at least of the moment, can’t stand her dancing with me, pouts, so I hardly dare invite her: fortunately for me she signals me when she’s ready. Well, the band started to play Blue Spanish Eyes, Carole is bent over in converstation but not with me, with some gal seated behind me. Oh, I recognize the voice, Jean, a new acquaintance, good looking gal, OK dancer, old friend of Bill’s, unmistakable rumble of a voice. I wedge an arm between them, “Girls, there’s a rhumba playing.” And they go right on gabbing. The song ends, I missed dancing with both of them, was so miffed I didn’t seek elsewhere, the hall full of widows.
Minutes later I’m still sitting there, fuming, and Jean prods me, “OK, Bug, let’s go.”
Bug! That’s cute!
I’ve been called Gnats all my life (identical pronunciation to Knatz): Ignatz … insect names, rodent names …
Crowded Dance Floor Rights of Way
I now see clearly that all the dances I’ve been to in Highlands County are run by morons, too stupid to know when they sabotage good sense. I still go: to dance with the women, not to reform our institutions. That’s my life’s work, but I’m retired: till God will let me cash my whip scars in for real tender.
If the dance floor is empty enough it doesn’t matter if the first dancers to arrive are doing a line dance or are ball room dancing. Just stay out of each others way. Ah, but when the floor fills up, it’s different. Whoever is running the dance should declare territories. If the line dance wa first on the floor, then line dancing should have priority: the ball room dancers should stay out of the way.
Better yet, the music provider should say, “This is a line dance: line dance has sway.”
If the administration doesn’t organize the activity, and there’s an accident, the injured should sue. But of course the court will be as stupidly run as the dance.
The other night Carole and I heard FrankE playing Play That Funky Music, White Boy: to which we routinely dance Amos Moses. People were already dancing. When Carole and Dorothy and I arrived I started the Amos Moses: too late realizing that Trish was already dancing several women to Amos Moses. I and my new arrivals should have followed them. But it was alright, there was room for all.
But many a time I’m there first, others arrive and free dance, right in our line of dance! And the administration doesn’t stop them!
So: I let myself get run over. I rely on my acrobatics, not altogether lost at 76 1/2, not to get injured, nor to injure. So far, so good.
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