The petite Contra Dance caller, Lindsay Dono, took command of the dance floor at the Grange Hall.
“There seem to be more women than men tonight, so some women will have to be pretend men,” she said. “Please decide with your partner,” she continued, “that is, if you are a two women team, which of you will be the man. The gal who chooses to dance the guy’s role will then receive a necktie.”
Great, I thought. Thanks a lot, Lindsey Dono! It’ll be just my luck to be cast in a man’s role tonight. Please don’t make me, please!
Zoe, my new friend and dance partner turned to me and asked, “Who do you want to be, a guy or a gal?” She did not care-after all, she was a seasoned Contra Dancer.
I lied and said, “Oh, I really don’t care.” But I did care, I cared very much! Keep in mind that this was not a big deal up here at Black Diamond Grange Hall. The point of the evening was to have fun and dance the cold, winter night away. No one gave a fig what role you played, man or woman.
“OK, then you be the man and I’ll be the woman,” she said. Gulp, I gulped twice.
“Fine,” I said, but my word did not feel fine. My increased discomfort temporarily sabotaged my mind with thoughts of: I want to find out who the real me is, and, I know for sure I’m not a man, and, I have never been comfortable with role playing, and, I don’t even know how that works, and, I just got done being married to a gay guy for twenty six years and I sure as heck don’t want to be a man, and, I want to dance with a real man! What the heck?
But it was too late for that now. The die was cast. I was given the opportunity to state my preference and I did not take it. What was wrong with me that I was unable to say what I wanted? I felt like Homer Simpson. Doh!
So we danced. We switched partners and danced again and it was a blast. It did not matter one fig that I was the “guy” and after a few minutes I did not care. What mattered was, after getting the hang of the moves, there was a connection with others-eye contact, manners, freedom of movement. Freedom of movement that is, until a man asked me to dance with him.
“Sure,” I said, “but I am used to the guy role.”
“No problem,” he said.” You can switch to a woman and it will be all right.” I believed him because I am a trusting soul and, as it turned out, it was not altogether all right, due to the fact that I got a little “contra” with my “dance.”, He was patient, as were the others on the dance floor. Luckily, they survived.
Needing a break and some water, I went to the kitchen for a drink and ran into Zoe.
“How are you doing?” She asked.
“Pretty well,” I said, “except I had to switch to a woman and I am terrible at it!”
“Aw, don’t worry,” she said. “Here’s the thing: when you find a man who is really good at being a man, he’ll teach you how to be a woman.”