You Should Be Dancing

Last year, a good friend who was single at the time invited me to a GLBT breast cancer fundraiser dance. She invited another good friend of mine, also single, who she had recently gotten to know better — I was in heaven — a night out with my two favorite dancers. We are now well into midlife, but back in the day, I’d gotten to know them separately and had spent many happy hours dancing with each of them when we were still young enough to pull off a night out that starts at 11 pm. Still, we sounded like the beginning of a bad joke — a lesbian, a gay man, and a straight woman go to a lesbian dance…but what was the punch line?

Oddly enough, it was “I’m getting divorced.” We three share the same sense of humor and we use it liberally to get us through the indignities and unfairness of life. So we riffed off one another all night. As L and M recounted their bad dates and online dating photo and profile exaggerations, I contributed in a fake peppy voice, “I’m getting divorced.” I don’t know why it was funny, but it was — we weren’t even drinking (that much). M lamented that many men his age had gone to seed, and L countered with the observation that many lesbians our age are either partnered or live in the suburbs. Again I added “I’m getting divorced.” And again we laughed, perhaps at the absurdity of it all, of finding ourselves in a place we’d never intended to be and the opposite of what we’d hoped for at this stage of our lives. And we’d discovered the galling truth is that it’s just as awkward and difficult to be unpartnered now as it was when we were 20. Maybe we thought age and wisdom would make it easier, but that’s turned out be a bunch of midlife propaganda. Instead, we turned to the wisdom of our 20-year-old selves, and danced away the hurt with heart and soul. By the end of the night, the long scarf I’d brought as a dance prop had both coiled and floated playfully around L and M and had steadied M as he gracefully came out of a back bend on the dance floor. It was glorious.

We came, we laughed, we danced, and for one night it didn’t matter that M had pretty much chatted up every single woman there and we still hadn’t found L a viable date. It didn’t matter that I had a mountain of divorce paperwork to sift through. It didn’t matter that neither L nor M had gotten messages from their respective love interest. I was getting divorced, and while we danced, it just didn’t matter. 

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  1. Somehow I”m thinking of that idea that everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten. We know how to give ourselves joy and how to embody the moment. We don’t always remember that it was once all we knew. I think where you say you used the solution of your younger selves is gorgeous.

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