Ballroom Dancing.

Two little words that tend to get wildly different reactions from husbands and wives. Husband: “I’d rather have a root canal while watching a Desperate Housewives marathon.” Wife: “Oh, goody. Swishing around the floor in a ballgown, gliding, dipping, twirling.”

When I recently mentioned those words to my husband Tom, he nobly refrained from gagging and agreed to sign up for a series of five lessons. The fact that I’d already bought a Groupon coupon for them may have had something to do with his willingness. I was also able to mention the magic words “tax deduction” since I write a ballroom dance mystery series as Ella Barrick and the lessons qualify as research for my books.

Ballroom dancing has always appealed to me, but it’s one of those things, along with voice lessons, tap dancing, art classes, and many sports that I’ve never made time for. I had one excuse after another: no partner, no time, inconvenient location of dance studio, etc. They all boiled down to this: I was afraid I wasn’t going to be as good as I hoped I’d be. I suffer from perfectionist tendencies—“No!” gasp those of you who know me—and I’ve dodged activities all my life that I might have enjoyed but which I didn’t think I’d excel at. How very sad. But now, in the spirit of living courageously, I’m giving some of them a try.

Guess what? I’m not very good. But it’s still fun. We’ve had two lessons and we’ve got three to go. Here’s the “before” version of our attempt at the waltz:

I’ll post “after” video so you can see if we improved at all. The best part has been finding something new to do with Tom. He’s got almost no aptitude for ballroom dance, but he’s really trying, and I’m a bit awkward, but we’re being kind to each other. I like having an hour a week that’s just him and me with no kids, TV or other distractions. I think it’s bringing us closer, so I’m pushing for more lessons after we finish our introductory five. It would make sense to continue with the waltz, or take up the foxtrot, but I’m thinking . . . Argentine tango. A sexy gown slit up to here and down to there, passionate music, dips, lifts . . . strained muscles, chiropractor bills.

Okay, we’ll give the foxtrot a whirl.

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