I want someone to surprise me in the kitchen with Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me.” I want to silently move with someone to “And I Love You So” by Perry Como. I want Fred Astaire to serenade me with “Cheek to Cheek” while I sway with someone. I want to dance. More to the point, I want to slow dance.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Catch Me If You Can, you might recall the scene where Frank’s parents dance in the living room to Judy Garland singing “Embraceable You.” That is what I’m talking about.
The best dancing I have done was with a little man. It was a tradition we had carried on for three-and-a-half years. He would run up to me on tip toes, arms stretched up, saying, “Boompa, Kimmie, boompa!” Boompa is what he called “our” song, “Papa Loves Mambo” by Perry Como. And you know, he’s the only man I’ve ever found who would dance with me to Perry Como. Hmph. He may have been a little man, but he was light years ahead of most grown men.
Outside of a spontaneous moment at home, I want to attend a dance. That may sound a bit juvenile, as if I’m waiting for Homecoming or the Prom, but I’m referring to those dances held in the community. Ones with a real band, not a DJ. Ones with tables to sit at having a drink and chatting with friends. A place where the songs range from those get-in-close songs to the pick-it-up-with-a-little-swing songs. These would be varying dances, the 1950s-60s to big bands, think Glenn Miller (Yes, you read that right, I said Glenn Miller!).
I don’t know of any place that holds these types of dances anymore. Perhaps I haven’t researched enough, or just don’t know the right people who would steer me in the correct direction, or maybe it’s just where I live now. My grandparents went dancing every week for over 25 years. They had VFW and Knights of Columbus dances. Nights of fun and carefree enjoyment with friends and neighbors.
This is what they did. This what they loved to do. I don’t remember personally seeing them dance, but I often have visions now, of what they must have been like on the dance floor. About how much fun they must have had and how good they must have been. Over 25 years worth of dancing memories I would love to have known more about.
I also wish for those fine restaurants with an orchestra and a dance floor. The kind you see in classic movies. Everyone is coming for a meal and a dance, classy and sophisticated.
It’s unfortunate, that for several generations the only “dancing” has been gyrating, grinding, and sweaty drunkenness. This is what I grew up into, and it mostly made me cringe. Don’t get me wrong, I liked to go out with my friends to a club and have fun on the dance floor, but as soon as some handsy guy with beer breath approached, the appeal was gone.
What happened to the days of a man being a gentleman, asking a woman for a dance, taking her by the hand, and effortlessly moving across the dance floor? A time when being close for a slow dance was sexy, without all the overt R-rated movements?
This kind of dancing is intimate in a simple kind of way, looking into one another’s eyes and moving as one to a gentle rhythm. You can even be surrounded by people, but it is a quiet, enclosed private world between two people, with such simple movements and a moment shared. This dancing was for holding one another, to touch, and to express an unspoken connection.
My toes are waiting. . .