We stood there waiting for our first salsa lesson that one Thursday evening.
I saw him standing beside the dance floor, arms crossed over his creme cable knit sweater. He had on khakis too baggy for his skinny frame, and his heavy wallet pulled his left back pocket down, making his skinny rear appear lopsided. His hair was sort of floppy and disheveled, but not in a wonton way. It only accentuated his visible discomfort. His look was complete with a pair of nerdy specs.
He was my second dance partner. At least a foot taller than me (Dutch men can get extremely tall), his long legs struggled with the steps, occasionally stepping on my foot. We both looked down at our feet as we danced, inexperienced as we were, even with the basic mambo.
At one point, I peered up at his face. He was looking down into my eyes, and I smiled and retuned my gaze to the floor. He was way too young for me and not at all my type, but still!
Dancing with someone you’ve never met is a confronting experience. You shake hands, and then you clasp hands. Some men have warm ones, some cold and clammy. Some have a light touch, some a firm one. You can smell them, they are so close. Some wear cologne, some smell of nervous sweat.
Sweater-wearing guy’s hand was warm and fluttery, that first lesson. He smelled like soap.
The next lesson, he wore a button-up with his khakis. Slightly more appropriate for the hot room.
And the next week, he wore a t-shirt and jeans. He wasn’t wearing his glasses, which totally changed the angles of his face. He grabbed my hand with more confidence this time; his transition steps clear to me as he guided me into Mambo and right-turn.
Every lesson, I see him emerge more out of his shell. What a delight to watch him learning to love Salsa with me and all the other girls.