Dance card

When we danced at Glen Echo in the 1980s, there was dance etiquette. We did not have dance cards. Instead, we would see someone we wanted to dance with, sometimes while we were dancing with someone else. One finger meant next dance, two meant the one after that. If both were taken, a head shake. No one could remember beyond two so the etiquette was not to make promises beyond two dances!

Dance card

We finally meet again at a live band dance. I have not seen him since August. It is January.

“Hello!” says T. “Where have you been?”

“That is a great question!” I say very cheerfully.

He is looking at me.

“Oh, what a great song!” as the next song starts. I tap my foot.

He narrows his eyes a little, but replies “Shall we dance?”

We dance really well together. We have danced off and on for nearly twenty years. I asked someone for his last name just a week ago. I may have known in the past, but I had forgotten. It doesn’t really sound familiar. I do know he worked for years in counseling.

The band is loud so not conducive to talking much. The dance ends and he twirls me to a close embrace. He walks me back to the tables.

“You have not been at dances much.”

I blink at him. “You said your dance card was full.” I say.

“What?”

I sigh, trying not to exaggerate too much. “You asked me personal questions. Then at the next dance you tell me that you have a woman for every night of the year.” I flutter my lashes down. “I do hope you mean dancing.”

He is silent, absorbing this.

I am channeling my Tidewater Belle mother-out-law. “Ah am sure you are very busy.” I look modestly down at my lap, glancing across his lap as I lower my eyes. .

“Hmmm.” he says.

“Ah was so amazed that you had a woman for every night of the year that I could hardly bear to go to dance.”

I look through my lashes. He is studying me.

I smile sweetly. “Perhaps you could let me know if your dance card clears a little. Mind you, dancing only. Ah can be a little old fashioned about some things.”

_______________

The story is fiction. The photograph is from my wedding, 1989. He’s hamming for the audience again. I do not know who took this!

The happiest day of his life

When I was a preteen, I got my first Spiderman comic book. I was enthralled. A hero who had powers, but had a grandmother, responsibilities, made mistakes, felt guilt and confusion. I wanted this, not the princess crap. I did not want a prince to ride in and carry me off. I did not and don’t trust princes. The wedding being the happiest day of a woman’s life: what the hell? Is it the happiest day of the man’s life? If not why not? It’s important to the woman to be married to her love but not the man?

And anyhow, the Disney movies were very consistent. There were no good Disney Queens. The good ones died in childbirth, or were absent, or their ship went down. The stepmothers were evil. The princess career ended with marriage. Pregnancy either kills you or turns you evil. Actually, sex turns you evil if you are a female. That was the very clear Disney message judging by the animated features. Virgin girls are pure princesses but there are no adult female role models for years and years and years. By my preteens I wanted to drive my own wagon: I was not going to be taken care of, controlled, or left poor and with small children through divorce. I would have a career and children.

What IS the happiest day of a man’s life? Do we have any map of that? When they are promoted? When they buy twitter? When they are elected President? When they get married? Why do we have a happiest day for women (and is it the marriage or the sex?) but not for men?

In the romance novels, the man is usually older, “experienced”, rich, and has a reputation for seducing women. The woman is often a virgin, or she has a child because there was an evil man who she thought loved her, or the older man got her pregnant and she never told him. She knows it is true love because she is pure and yet is overcome by lust, so it must be true love. Snort. I have always thought this is stupid and silly. So men in the novels are experienced, have sex with lots of women, and then are carried away by lust that turns out to be true love with this woman? What about all the others? Did they think it was true love too? Or were they “bad” women, who had lust without true love? Impure, not virgins, not a “good” girl. Seems pretty confusing to me. Often the virgin gets pregnant because, hey, she is carried away by uncontrollable love, so of course she would not think about birth control. What is the experienced man thinking? Hey, let’s get this one pregnant, I’d like to pay child support? Oh, he’s carried away by uncontrollable love, but really now, you’d think after all that experience that he would use birth control. Apparently the rich experienced older seducer males are all morons when struck in the heart by true love. These books should be burned, really.

Anyhow, I was suspicious of the princess story and I wanted my own horse and armor and sword and I’ll fight my own dragons, thank you! I was much more interested in the super hero story, even though the superheroines were still pretty lame and likely to get killed off. Oh, and girlfriends get killed off. Gwen dying from fear during a fall: give me a break. Yuk. Made me glad she was dead if she was that much of a weakling. At least she couldn’t reproduce. I liked Mary Jane a whole lot more: feisty.

I wanted to be a superhero and still human, not a princess.

So what is the happiest day of a man’s life?

_____

The cat is Boa, not Sol Duc. Boa died at age 17 right before Covid-19 started.

Songs to Raise Girls: three songs

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is memorize, and oh, what I have memorized! I saw a t-shirt at the Nowhereelse Festival in Ohio that said, “My memory is 80% lyrics.” Yes, me too, a mix of songs, poetry and books that I have read. My sister Chris and I were busily memorizing songs as soon as we could. Here are three very educational songs for young girls. The last one we learned from our cousin, who was a girl scout and a girl scout leader. She was in the calendar one year, making cookies. I was very very impressed and a little jealous.

I bought a four hour recording session at a silent auction and the recordings are me and my sister and my father. We did them in two sessions. We made a list of songs and lost it immediately so we all took turns suggesting songs. My mother had already died of cancer. My sister died in 2012 and my father in 2013. I am so glad to have these recordings. We called it Mocoko for Malcolm Ottaway, Chris Ottaway and Katherine Ottaway. We sang most of them just once and so they are not polished, but I still am happy to have them.

Bridget O’Flynn

I sang Bridget O’Flynn to my daughter when she called me about dancing. “Mom! I love to twirl!” Um, well, yes, your parents met at a contra dance at Glenn Echo Park in Maryland. We love to twirl too.

Late in the evening

A cautionary song, an old barbershop quartet song, that we sang.

Fascinating Lady

I wonder if the girl scouts still sing this.

The photograph is my son scaring me. Ok, that boulder is sitting there balanced BUT! GET OUT OF THERE! Taken in Palm Springs in 2011 up on the mesa. Beautiful.