Last weekend, I did something that I hadn’t done since 10 June 2003.
I went to a wedding reception.
As well as being an event I don’t often experience, this latest case of a friend tying the knot had special significance.
It would be the first reception I would attend since undergoing my great life-change from mid-2007, so I was interested to see how I would handle it.
And one element in particular – dancing.
For most of my life, I have loved listening to music and I have no problems dancing in the privacy of my own home – but up until mid-2007, I had done almost no dancing in public because risk-averse self-conscious guys like me with no self-confidence, that’s what we do (or don’t).
In fact, the last time I had danced had been at the reception of an earlier wedding in 2003, and that had been embarrassing (to me, anyway). A stunning friend of the bride had suddenly dragged me from my seat for the last song of the night, and enroute to the dance-floor I had resolved to be a good sport and give it my best shot…but despite those good intentions, I became incredibly self-conscious and uncomfortable, and thus I spent all of ‘The Time Of My Life’ looking down at the floor as I barely shuffled my feet back and forth.
This time, however, I had resolved to do much better – and I genuinely wanted to do much better.
Still, even right up until after dinner when the dance-floor opened, I was a little nervous about it.
But although I had no plans to take the incredibly bold step and ask someone to dance, I told myself that if I was taken onto the dance-floor, I should relax, dance for myself, not give a damn about what anyone else may or may not be thinking of me, and have a good time.
Sure enough, not long after the second song had begun, a woman at my table whom I’d just met and had had some fun conversation with earlier took my hands and led me over.
I went willingly, and a moment later we began dancing to ‘Thank ABBA For The Music’.
I kept my 2003 massive dance-fail in mind, and moved my arse with a lot more effort and energy.
I kept my head up, looked directly at my partner and did several types of shuffle. I tried moving in time with her and exchanging high-fives, and although we mostly missed by country miles I kept on going. Several times, I even lifted one foot and spun all the way around on the other.
A few minutes passed.
My partner vanished – why and where, I don’t know. But that shouldn’t stop me, I told myself, so I turned to my neighbours and kept on dancing.
Another minute or so passed.
And then suddenly I realised something, and came to a halt.
I didn’t feel like dancing anymore.
I wasn’t embarrassed, or nervous, or self-conscious…
…but I was bored.
At first, I found that both funny and unbelievable. Despite my nervousness during the previous week, I had been looking forward to dancing…but now I was finally here and doing it, and after only a few minutes I wanted to stop because it wasn’t that interesting after all?
But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like just sitting back down, relaxing and enjoying the overall atmosphere.
So I did.
Time passed. The dance-floor remained busy, and I remained seated and relaxed as I enjoyed the general atmosphere and spoke with several people at my table.
From time to time, I enjoyed watching some of my fellow guests dance, but I had no plans to rejoin them and that provoked an interesting question to mull over.
What if I were asked again to dance?
On one hand, if the occasion arose I didn’t want to be a whiny deadshit about it…but on the other hand, I simply had no interest in dancing again.
So what to do?
Eventually, I decided what my response would be – and later when another woman from my table came over and asked me to join her on her dance-floor, I smiled at her and replied matter-of-factly, but also pleasantly and politely, “No, thank you.”
She placed her hands on my shoulder and asked again, so once more I smiled and replied matter-of-factly, but also pleasantly and politely, “No, thank you.”
She kept her hands on my shoulder and asked a third time.
Now I was starting to get annoyed, but for the third time I smiled and replied matter-of-factly, but also pleasantly and politely, “No, thank you.”
Fortunately, the woman I had danced with earlier was now sitting a few seats away, and she told her daughter that if I didn’t want to dance, please leave me be.
So I was left to be, and for the rest of the night I continued to sit there, relax, enjoy the general atmosphere and talk with others.
I had nothing against my second would-be dance-partner – she was a nice person and a few times throughout the night we spoke and had a few laughs.
But, despite giving it my best shot and initially liking it, I ultimately realised that I didn’t want to dance after all, and I was fine with declining her request.
Although I did appreciate her mother lending support at that crucial moment.
Until next time, stay well and take care 🙂