The Candles Blew And Then Disappeared

If you hadn’t noticed, there was a holiday today! Did you don your favorite costume and have some fun? I did. I thought it would be more fun, since I thought I had an awesome costume and I was all set to hand out lots of candy, but the rain kept things quieter than I was imagining. Ah well, I was still able to amuse myself, and that’s what is really important.

To truly celebrate the holiday, I went out to a Halloween-themed dance party this past weekend, and the party did not disappoint. Oh man, it was so… weird. Weird in a way that I think was really funny, and also a little disturbing. But is that not truly the essence of Halloween? If your Halloween wasn’t funny and a little disturbing, did you actually do anything to celebrate? I would argue that you did not!

Let me set up the scene for you so you can try and picture what went on where I was… Last Saturday night, if you were outside it was dark and cool, and the rain was falling lightly, giving the night an appropriately spooky feeling. The venue where the party took place was the Fellowship Dance Hall – a place I haven’t been to in some time, which isn’t actually a normal dance studio, but rather a multi-purpose gathering place that happened to have wooden floors. On one side of the room there was a stage. The DJ had set up on one corner of the stage to play music, and the rest of the stage was decorated with all sorts of Halloween props, except for a section along the front of the stage where a couple of microphones and a large screen were set up and waiting.

See, this dance party offered something more than just ballroom dancing. This dance party was also going to let people do karaoke – and the other attendees were expected to dance while people were up on stage performing. You can probably see what intrigued me about going to this party in the first place now. When my dance friends asked if I wanted to go along with them, and explained this unique element of the party to me, I just knew I had to be there to witness what a combined ballroom dance/karaoke party looked like.

Oh man, if you weren’t there, you totally missed out.

So let me start off by telling you the awkward way this party started for me… I had what I thought was a ‘cool’ costume. It was something that I thought would fit right in at a masquerade party – the whole ensemble was mostly black with just a few colorful highlights. In a room with people who didn’t know me very well, it would probably be hard to tell who was behind the costume, but in a room full of dancers from the ballroom community where I lived, I figured that most people would be able to tell it was me at a glance. After all, the adornments on my costume didn’t really hide my trademark muscular frame, and I am one of the few males at the party that also didn’t have gray hair, so obviously I was a lot younger. That makes it easy to tell it was me, in my opinion.

Anyway, I got there and met up with my friends, and the first song (a Waltz) comes on, so I ask Sparkledancer to go do it with me. When the song finishes up and Sparkledancer and I head back to stand by the table where we started, this older lady who is a friend of Sparkledancer is following close on her heels to say hello to her. The two of them are talking off to my right, and I was listening to someone else while they did so. I could kind of hear what the two ladies were saying, but I wasn’t really paying attention.

Suddenly the older lady raises her voice a click and asks Sparkledancer to confirm that the person standing there was actually me. This made me change what I was listening to so I could figure out why my name came up. Sparkledancer was laughing and telling the lady that she was correct, it was me. The older lady laughed at that and tells Sparkledancer, in an even louder voice so that there was no way that I couldn’t hear her, that she totally knew it! She saw Sparkledancer and I dancing that Waltz, and she recognized my butt, and that she’s spent a lot of time watching my butt in the past so there was no mistaking my butt for anyone else’s.

My eyes got really wide and I slowly turned my head to look over at the two of them. Sparkledancer was looking at me with this look of shock on her face, while the other lady was just all smiles and was waving at me now that I finally acknowledged the two of them. I waved back and then tried to find something else to look at to avoid getting drawn into their discussion.

I really don’t think she was trying to make a joke to get my attention… I think that she was serious about that comment. That’s… I should probably say flattering, but it was actually a bit disturbing. I mean, I know who this lady is, but I haven’t really spent a ton of time talking to her. Why would she admit to watching me like that? Was she actually doing it as a joke, and rather than being funny it just came across as being totally sincere?

So that’s how the night started off for me.

But the karaoke and dancing combination, that definitely took the cake that evening. It doesn’t sound like it would be all that difficult of a concept to put together. After all, you can certainly dance to music performed by a live band/orchestra with a singer. I’ve done that lots of times, in fact. But the way they combined the two at this particular party, and some of the songs that they allowed, just made me laugh because of how ridiculous things were.

Let’s go through what I think were the three most poignant acts:

  • The most hilarious: this just cracked me up to no end. A group of friends got up to do a song together, and they were soooooooo far off time at the beginning of the song. Normally that isn’t so funny, but can you guess the song that they weren’t able to sing on time with the background music? Rock Around The Clock. Not being able to sing a song that is about time and stay on time with the music was just really, really funny to me.
  • The most cringe-worthy: there was a Tango that was a song from a famous musical you might have heard of (one about an apparition who haunts a performance house for singers) which a man and woman decided to perform in German for some reason. The DJ also decided partway through the song to join in and sing with them. First off, their German was questionable. Having been taught to sing in German in my past, there was a lot about the way they chose to pronounce their words that would have made my vocal coach sad. The part that really made it hard to listen to though was that the three singers each seemed to be trying to outsing the others, and the result made the song sound discordant and dissonant, and (when one of them put the microphone too close to their mouth) even a little painful to the ears.

As for the saddest act, there were actually two songs that, together, just came across as being a sad combination, but to understand why I’ll have to tell you a bit of a story…

There is this older couple, a husband and wife pair, who are avid social dancers. I have seen them going to dance parties together for many years. While they often dance together, the husband was a nice enough guy that he will mix with the crowd to dance with other ladies who don’t have partners during the party… or so I thought.

Someone told me that this older gentleman actually got caught having an affair with another woman in the dance community. Supposedly, and I don’t know if this is entirely true or not, the woman started the affair with the gentleman because she wanted to get preferential treatment from him at social dances. Meaning that when he wasn’t dancing with his wife he would naturally want to dance with her more often because she was putting out for him.

The man got caught because of a mistake that this woman made – on the two year ‘anniversary’ of when they first hooked up, the woman wrote the man a long email detailing all of the dirty things that she wanted to do with him the next time they got together. Since this lady was “friends” with both the man and his wife, somehow she didn’t look closely at the address she was sending this explicit email to, and ended up accidentally sending it to the man’s wife instead… OOPS! Obviously that mistake brought an end to the affair. The wife reconciled with the husband and they are still together.

You would think that getting caught in such a manner would teach him to give up his philandering ways, but apparently not. Some time after the email ended that affair, a different woman from the dance community who was friends with his wife had gone through some sort of surgery that left her unable to do many things around her house while she was recovering. The wife, feeling bad for her friend, would go over to visit and bring her husband along so that he could help take care “manly things” while the two women visited.

This setup was going fine while the wife was there on the visits, but one time the woman needed help with something at her house and the wife wasn’t able to go over there, so she sent her husband over by himself. The woman says that at one point while he was there doing the work, he stopped what he was doing, came up behind her, reached around her and put his hands all over her chest, and said something creepy along the lines of ‘C’mon, you’re not getting any action anywhere else…’

While this other woman did manage to get away from the situation without anything untoward happening, she doesn’t want the wife to find out about what happened. She is worried that if the wife finds out and the husband gets in trouble (again!), that he will no longer ask her to dance during dance parties. When there is already a shortage of men at these parties, she couldn’t bear the idea of losing the opportunity to dance with one of the few that attends, even if the dances she has had with the husband since that encounter have been rather awkward, as you can imagine.

What. A. Jerk.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, both the husband and wife got up on stage a couple of times to do karaoke at this Halloween party. The first time they did a song together, and it was a bouncy East Coast Swing number. But then each of them did a song on their own, and those songs were so… well, knowing the story behind their relationship, there is something sad about what they sang.

The wife got up and sang the Patsy Cline version of Crazy. Yeah, if there is a better song that a wife could sing directly to her cheating husband in front of everyone she knows, I can’t really think of one. Except, while she was singing, the husband wasn’t even paying attention to his wife’s performance. I saw him keeping himself busy out on the dance floor, slow dancing with another woman who was dressed up like a cowgirl. Not slow dancing in a ballroom way using either Rumba or Bolero or the like, but just swaying back and forth in time with the music with this woman in his arms.

What kind of song do you think a man like that would get up and perform? A song to express his sorrow for wronging his spouse? Something that would show that he has true feelings for her despite the ways he has wronged her that she knew about (and those that she didn’t)? Perhaps a love song to try and make her swoon?

Nope. He got up and sang the theme song to Gilligan’s Island.

Such a weird night. Such a strange adventure. Only in the world of ballroom dancing, right?

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you got all the candy that your stomach could handle today. If you want some more, I have a bunch left over that I didn’t hand out to kids who came to my door this evening. I’ll end up throwing it in my freezer, and it will probably take a whole year for me to finish it on my own, so if you want any just let me know!

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