So yesterday, somebody I know went to a board game meetup group. I forgot meetup.com even existed, so I thought I would get on and see if I could find any groups that interest me. As I was perusing all the groups in my area, I came across one for people who have traveled/would like to travel/are interested in other cultures, countries, languages, etc. This is right up my alley!
I have always been interested in other cultures and languages. I started studying French in 7th grade, even though Spanish would have been much more practical in the area of the country where I live. I continued studying French through a couple years of college and even tried learning Spanish in college, too, but I literally walked from my French class to my Spanish class, and I was having a hard time keeping the languages separate. "Hola, me llamo Jennifer, je suis tres bien, muchas gracias mon ami!" After I dropped out of college, I bought an "Italian for Dummies" book, but the French and Spanish I already knew were taking up too much space in my brain for me to learn another romance language.
Then, a few years ago, I fell in love with Bollywood movies and music and Indian culture as a whole. (I blogged about this last fall here.) Most of my friends and family pretty much think I'm crazy for having this obsession. Most people I know don't like subtitles, and a lot of people hate musicals. But for me, I've always loved musicals, I love a good love story, and I love color. Bollywood has all that and more!
Anyway, I am alone in this passion; I don't have anybody to share it with. I haven't traveled much but would love to if I could afford it. So this group for people who love other countries, etc had my name written all over it! And the super duper extra bonus? The very next meetup was this Tango dance lesson! I LOVE to dance. When I was in my mid-twenties, I used to go out country dancing 2-3 times a week. I can two-step, triple-step, triple-two-step, waltz, line dance, and do a little bit of swing. I briefly took a Bollywood dance class, but I was too out of shape to keep up. I've always wanted to do more dancing in more styles, but I was always afraid to go alone and not have a partner to dance with. So here we have a group of people all going together; maybe some of the men will dance with me after the lesson during the "practica"?
This group is also doing a masquerade ball for Carnivale, which looks really interesting (I blogged about that here).
Anyway, I didn't have anything to wear for the masquerade and I was worried it would take a long time to find a cheap, nice-looking dress that fit, so I decided to start shopping today since I only have a couple of weeks before the masquerade.
Dress shopping turned out to be fun! I've lost about 35 pounds, so I wasn't really sure what size I am anymore. I grabbed a bunch of size 16s and size 18s to see what would fit. To my surprise, some of the 16s fit!!! I don't even know how many years it has been since I have fit into a size 16. And the dresses were so cheap (Yay for Ross!) that I could afford one dress for the masquerade and another for tonight's Tango lesson. I walked out of that store grinning from ear to ear - I'm starting to look good!
Time was slipping away from me, so I ran home to shower and get ready. This is not a great picture, and I am obviously not a Photoshop wizard, but imagine a beautiful dark purple dress that makes me look like a shape other than a rectangle or maybe an apple. I felt curvy and beautiful in that dress!
So I walked into the hall where the dance lesson was to be held full of confidence. I felt beautiful, and smart, and funny, and WORTHY. I walked in and headed for the area where the group was supposed to meet. Not having been to any other meetups with this group, I didn't really know anybody other than a few small pictures online. I saw a couple of women about my age sitting off to one side. Being terribly shy, it was somewhat difficult, but with my newfound confidence, I walked up and asked if they were with the group. They said yes, so I introduced myself, sat down, and started talking to them.
Talking to other women should not be a huge ordeal for a straight woman, but I get so anxious and shy that I usually hang out alone, too afraid to talk to anybody, so having the confidence to start talking to these two women was more encouraging and positive for me than you can even imagine.
During the dance lesson, which included a lot more people than just the ones in our group, all of the men had to shuffle around to different partners throughout the class - and even though there weren't quite enough men to go around, I managed to always have a man to dance with, so that was exciting! Especially since half the class was about leading and following, and the women had to place their hands on the mens' chests and let the men push them (terrible description, sorry). Anyway, that would have been awkward to do with a woman, especially one I had never met before.
I took care to remember the names of all the men I danced with, especially the younger ones, and after the lesson was over, I went up to one of the men and asked him to dance.
This blog post is getting to be too long, sorry. Anyway, long story short, I danced and chatted with several men all night long, and one in particular. He had experience with Salsa and Swing dancing, and I had the Country experience, and we had just had that first Tango lesson - so we wound up doing this crazy mishmash dancing. It was so much fun!
I still can't believe I had the nerve to chat up men all night long. I was even flirting - or trying to anyway. I've NEVER been brave about talking to men.
At the end of the night, I offered my number to the guy I had talked to and danced with the most, saying that if he ever wanted a Swing or Salsa partner, that he should give me a call. He was very friendly and gracious and even put my number in his phone in a way that he would remember who I was.
I have no idea whether or not he'll call - but it doesn't even matter. Just the fact that I was so brave all night, that I was able to talk and flirt with men, the fact that I had the nerve to give my phone number to a guy...
I've already won.