Cowboy says I can’t dance. That I have no rhythm. He’s worried about our first dance at our wedding. We don’t dance together. Ever. We tried one night after having a few too many glasses of wine and putting Johnny Cash’s "A Boy Named Sue" on the stereo but Cowboy said I was leading and not letting him be the man. I was stealing his mojo.
Cowboy says this tendency of mine emasculates him and that I need to learn how to let him lead, at least with this, because we can’t get up right after our vows and show the whole world that I’m in charge and that he isn’t even allowed to lead a silly dance. He thinks it would give the wrong impression and set a bad precedent. Cowboy wants to be in charge, but barring that he wants to look in charge, at least with this.
So he signed us up for dance lessons at our gym. We worked out first, though I realized too late that both of us wearing sweaty shorts and T-shirts might not help our problem, which may merit the kind of sensuality that I imagine tango to be, having seen all the movies but never tried it myself. Rather than shorts, which make me feel in charge, I need the J.Lo-inspired outfits of flippy skirts and sweat between nicely exposed bits of cleavage with big dangly earrings. No such luck - I'm stuck with an old tank top and dirty Nikes.
When class starts, we need to stand in rows facing each other. But there's a problem.
Teacher: So, let’s have the leaders on this side.
Cowboy and I look at each other.
Teacher: It’s OK, either way these days. Traditionally it’s the man . . . but . . . um . . . either one can lead, if you want. I mean, times have changed.
The teacher looks nervous suddenly and like he’s wishing he wasn’t here.
Cowboy: Baby, just let me lead.
Me: But, he just said these days anything goes. So, we should do what we’re best at.
Cowboy: Babe, I’m best at leading. Trust me.
Me: But . . .
Cowboy: Goddamnit baby, we already talked about this!
Then there’s a tense pause. Everyone’s looking at us. Does no one else have this problem? Are all other girls just born knowing they don’t lead?
Teacher: So . . . Let's get started. Leaders, take your partners' hands.
And then he showed us the step and twirl combination he wanted us to try. He put on "Twist and Shout," and I started twisting and shouting and throwing some steps all over, some of them were even the ones I was supposed to do. Cowboy threw up his hands.
Cowboy: Babe, you need to look at me. You move when I move.
Me: But I was ready to go.
Cowboy: I’m leading.
Me: But you were taking too long.
Cowboy: Which part of me leading don’t you understand?
Me: OK. Go already. Lead.
Cowboy: There’s no twisting in this dance. Just do the steps we learned.
Me: I’m updating them.
Cowboy: They don’t need updating. This is our foundation.