Monday, April 6, 2009

Dance fabulously

The number 40 has become associated with this notion of “being over the hill.” Perhaps that is true for some. I believe the concept is more short-sighted than a woman over forty.

On Saturday, I celebrated the fortieth birthday of a very dear friend, Mrs. Debutante. Her friends flew in from all corners of her life. They surrounded her with so much love that I felt it pelting my shoulders. It could have been my own birthday. You might think that having so many women surrounding one would feel claustrophobic, even smothering, but in so many ways the event was just the opposite. We drew in tighter and as the group grew in mass, the increase in gravity only pulled in more.

Excellent karma allowed me to arrive at the party with two of my other girlfriends. The lights were low, the heels were high, the jeans a little too tight, and the hips a little too loose.

Girlfriends ready to rock.

My role in “the girlfriends” had become the master-of-all-trades. I could give each friend an easy nickname – the blonde, the instigator, the beautiful doll. I’ll leave that to Mrs. Debutante. But, somehow, I became a Renaissance woman. The truth is that I spent all week fussing over preparations for my friend. She knows all my usual tricks. I wanted to show her how much she means to me. The other women just simply aren’t used to my shenanigans. So, okay, for 24 hours I allowed myself to be ‘good at everything.’ I took the role with the honor it was given.

And then something funny happened. Because, you see, I’m not really that good at dancing. A stranger told me that I am a fabulous dancer.

“I’m good at everything,” I shamelessly replied. I’m sure it was taken the wrong way, which only deepened the humor in my eyes: delightfully sophomoric silliness.

I learned to dance watching my parents. They are love on the dance floor, even more than usual. Daddy’s little girl had her chance occasionally, but like so many girls before me, I stood in line.

In high school, I wore black and thought dancing meant posing and looking at the floor.

I learned far more than engineering and calculus at MIT. Beyond America’s shores, the art of dancing thrives. I celebrated diversity and my heart still dances from that chapter of my life.

In Japan, I leapt to my toes once more. A few sips of Scotch and the most reserved of Japanese managers will glide gracefully across the floor. I am sure they bought our products due to their efficiency rates, but good design engineering deserves celebration.

In America, we have learned to leave our dancing shoes on the closet floor. We pride ourselves on being sassy, smart, sexy & sophisticated and yet the most social (and even sensual) of arts receives scoffs and shrugs: a shame of colossal proportion.

I am not a good dancer. I am an unapologetic, deliciously happy dancer. Every once in awhile my dancing heart sneaks out of the bottom of the closet to twirl shamelessly across the floor. But, truly fabulous dancing requires two people in love. The day my husband pulls me out to the dance floor, I’ll show you how to dance.

Mrs. Debutante was a fabulous dancer Saturday night.

At 40, she is not “over the hill.” She stands on top of it, inhaling the fresh air and enjoying the beautiful view. She is not staring at her toes – I saw her twirling her sexy, three-inch heels in her hands, celebrating her youth with symbols we all understand.

“Don’t look down,” her eyes implored. She raised her shoes and our eyes and hearts followed. “My arms are sexy. My shoes are scrumptious. I can see to the horizon, and I am in love. I am in love with all of it.”

Are you cresting your mountain? Inhale the fresh air. Enjoy the beautiful view.

Dance fabulously.

Small print: If you happen to get stepped on and your toenail falls off during dancing, throwing a shot of Vodka on it so you can continue dancing should not be considered proper medical care.


Flea said...

I love your postscript. :)

Indy said...

So fun!!!

AreWeThereYet? said...

Ahhhh...I can hear the music in the background as I read this post. Makes me start to sway back and forth. Beautifully said.

It was a magical night, wasn't it?!

Just hope the toe is better.

Chickadee said...

I said it that night and I'll say it again: "That girl's got some moves!"

MIT Mommy said...

I am waiting for Ms. Skirt-flipper flashdance girl to come comment. I guess she is being shy =). Ha!

Laura said...

So sorry I missed it. I was so looking forward to it.

I think we will have to have one for your 40th.

Thanks for coming on Tuesday. It meant a lot.

Anonymous said...

You twirl girl! Sounds like a great night.

I usually dance better after I've had a glass or two of wine.