Dan and I will be celebrating our 24th anniversary next month. We started dating 27 years ago. That is a really long time. Sometimes people ask how we do it, how we sustain the relationship. This is part one of a two part series on marital bliss.
Forget conventional wisdom and avoid having common interests—highly overrated. Quite a number of years ago Dan and I somehow got it in our heads that we should have more in common. So I agreed to take a Physics for Dummies class at the Smithsonian, in the hopes that one day I could keep up with whatever the hell Dan talks about all the time. Dan agreed to join me in ballroom dance lessons at Arthur Murray. Why ballroom dance? Because I had this vague, romantic idea about swishing my silk gown (that was before Dan banned silk) and twirling all over the place. I’ve seen it in the movies and it is way cool. At our wedding all we were able to pull off is what Dan fondly refers to as the “7th grade shuffle” Ahh, those junior high slow dances to “Color My World” Fab.
Ooops, digressing as usual. I settled in to the first Physics class determined to learn the stuff. After all, this was the most basic beginner’s course. At least, that’s what the instructor said at the beginning of class. But wait, what was he saying now? Oh, he noted wryly that he certainly wasn’t going to bore us by rehashing the whole Theory of Relativity thing. No one was that basic. Giggles and nods all around. I slumped down in my chair as he jumped right into mass and velocity or something. By the end of the class the two things I thought I knew about physics were proven untrue, so apparently I knew less than nothing.
After constantly interrupting the instructor with what were apparently stupid questions, I decided it was in everyone’s best interest that I not return. And don’t think that I didn’t see the other students high fiving each other when I said I wasn’t coming back, because I did. And OK, the standing ovation when I left was tee hee ha ha funny. Everybody’s a frackin’ comedian.
Well that was a bust but maybe the whole dance thing would work out. I was already picturing us swirling around the dance floor at our next… what exactly? Waltz? Debutante Ball? No matter, we would be dancing under the starlight somewhere or other before we could blink. Class one, the box step. Right away there was a problem-the instructor gently noted that I’m not supposed to lead. Dan quietly explained “my wife can’t go backwards, she can barely go forwards and you can’t believe how clumsy she is and”…but the instructor was insistent. The woman does not lead.
After I finished telling the instructor that I don’t know where she comes from, but where I come from women can do any damn thing they want, we moved on to class two. Somehow by the second class, other couples were already gliding gracefully around the floor. Dan and I were still in a corner, practically screaming ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR and flopping around like Lurch being electrocuted. An hour later when the rest of the class was moving on to the foxtrot or something and we were still in a corner arguing about which one of us couldn’t do the stupid box step, backwards or forwards, the instructor came over and as diplomatically as possible explained that the Arthur Murray Dance Studio would be more than happy to give us our money back if we were finding that perhaps this wasn’t something we enjoyed. She asked if in good faith we could just agree that if we were ever dancing in public we would never utter the words Arthur Murray. We took the money and ran. Well, walked really fast because I’m too clumsy to run.
Since then, we’ve wisely decided that separate interests are the way to go. And no more dance lessons, ever, ever again.