Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Man Gotsta Have Some Ballroom

Ballroom dancing, that is. "Permit me to have this dance?" The question unuttered has rendered many a teenage boy a wallflower. And many a grown man too! The answer is either permission granted or permission denied. Permission denied, of course, is rejection. But permission granted is permission to touch; permission to hold; permission to guide; permission to lead. And, oh boy, it's more than permission. It is surrender. It is willful surrender.

And even though the question may come from the man. It is in the answer the decision is made. And that decision is made strictly by the woman. For only the woman can choose to be chosen.

As she rises, her reach answers the dangling question of his outstretched hand. Contact! First, the warmth of fingers touching. But then in a whisper: the heat of the hand. Fully now, the whole hand. He draws her to him: a gentlemanly tug. She slips quite willfully into his grip: a confident sweeping grip which finds its completion over the spaghetti strap of her otherwise bare shoulder blade. A gentle grip. Yet firm enough to provide a masculine contrast to her delicate and feminine hand. It finds rest upon his right shoulder. She belongs to him now. They're connected now – if only by two thin threads. He leads, the recipient of power conveyed through willful surrender. And yet, he's aware, he's keenly aware that any victory won is, in reality, her victory. Yet still, he is also aware that her victory is his very own victory. And they dance. They are one now. Sharing the same space. Sharing a "common center" worthy of their mutual sacrifices.

I know, I know, I know: that's some powerful shit ain't it? It sends a jolt of electricity through your relationship that fuses your souls together and reverberates from the ballroom to the bedroom. Me and my SugarAnne have been bitten by the ballroom bug. You would expect that a chick would have a low resistance to said virus. But listen here dude, ballroom dance is where masculinity meets femininity. And it's all set to music. It brilliantly percolates with relational dynamics. The BabyMan guides my SugarAnne. The BabyMan leads my SugarAnne. In the ballroom the BabyMan "handlz hi' b'niz" with my SugarAnne.
"A man gotsta have some ballroom". Waltz, foxtrot, classic stuff. Good, good stuff. Every man better recognize:

A man who's good with numbers
Is likely good with money;
With a man who glides across the floor
They're never lacking "honey".

But if you have not number one
And she looks at you askance;

Just put a twinkle in your eye
And say, "M'have this dance?"

Guide her gently, lead her firmly
through every step and twirl;

Unto her give all of the glory,

Show her off to all the world.

A "piece of change" is good to have
For some that will suffice;
But if you "trip the light fantastic"
You're on the road to rice.

You just might have a "pretty penny"
And always in her pants;
But she won't let you in her heart
Until you learn to dance.

Guide her gently, lead her firmly
through every step and twirl;

Unto her give all of the glory
Show her off to all the world.

Now, the BabyMan is doing o.k. I mean he is doing aw-right. But look-a-here, I ain't sitting on a pile of it. A little while ago my SugarAnne sprung for a pair of Capezios and I popped some dance lessons. It was fun. But we let it drop. Well it's baaaack!. In the ballroom my broke ass is able to treat my SugarAnne to the MasterCard moments she so richly deserves. And sshhhh – don't tell no-body: my MasterCard ain't got a dime on it!

Ballroom is reinforcing what the BabyMan has already learned about what to do when I get my hands on my SugarAnne. Ballroom dancing confirms Itself. You simply have to do it to understand this: If a man wants to please his woman, a man gotsta have some ballroom.

Here's the deal: There's at least three basic and constant "crossover" realities in both a classic ballroom dance and say, the relational dance of a man and his woman. The first one is simply this:

It's all gonna take some work.
Relationships are like dancing. They simply don't get better without work. The way I dance in my head is remarkably graceful and nimble. Frankly, it's downright stunning! I'm talking Dancing with the Stars here people! But what's in my head is a stark (and dark) contrast to what occurs on the dance floor with me and my SugarAnne right now. Just like anything, we're getting better with practice. There got to be a lot of practice. There's got to be a lot of work: a lot of blood and sweat and (man! oh! man!) lots of tears. Yes, there will be tears - before we even come close to that Dancing with the Stars vision of grace - if we ever come close at all.

Through work we get use to each other's moves (i.e. moods) and tendencies (i.e. sensitivities). We have to take mental notes of the things that keep us in step and the things that trip us up. And ain't that something that comes through constant exposure to (practice, each other? I'm not talking passive exposure here friend. My SugarAnne has to work at being a BabyMan-ologist. And the BabyMan has a responsibility to become a SugarAnne-ologist. And like all PhDs, the education requires constant work. You gotta get past the B.S. (you know what that is). You gotta get on to the M.S. (that's more of the same). And then you gotta climb over the PhD (that's when the shit is piled higher and deeper). It is a daunting task when viewed as a whole but manageable in small steps. So we dance! We dance when we're together. And we dance, mentally, when we're not together because we carry the constant hope that one day we will be Dancing with the Stars. It may sound like an impossibility today but rather than focus on the hopelessness of never arriving - me and my SugarAnne - we concentrate on the hope in our striving. By the Grace of the Lord we have been at love for over 7 years now. Yep - "at" love. It's active. Working. Me and my SugarAnne. Working. Together. One of my mentors used to tell me: Teamwork makes the dream work. It's gonna take work. But I assure you, we will dance. I tell ya, we are gonna dance! Second,

You're gonna step on toes.
Sometimes dance practice goes pretty well and, well, sometimes it don't. But me and my SugarAnne find that with practice we don't step on each other's toes nearly as much as we used to. And when we do, we're so busy diggin' the dance we simply say, "Excuse me", forgive, and move on. My SugarAnne would be the first to tell ya she's got some fickle feet so you know she don't need nobody stepping on her toes. I'm trying.

We went "live" for the first time last weekend. Our first big event. My SugarAnne was looking too hot y'all! I wanted to fry that bacon right there on-the-spot! Yum-yum! I digress. Going "live" for the first time was not one of those times when things went well. I was stepping all on my poor SugarAnne's toes. If there was a rug, I woulda cut that up too.

I tell ya there's a whole lotta stuff going on on a packed dance floor. The Babyman lost his concentration. I was drawn away by how good this couple is doing and how bad that couple is doing. And trying to avoid bumping into people. Listen, you can make yourself feel good or bad by looking at other couples. But good or bad, however you're making yourself feel, the minute you start worrying about what somebody else is doing, you're gonna start stepping on your woman's toes (literally and figuaratively). Not worrying about about what other couples are doing and concentrating instead on what we're supposed to be doing, well, that's half the battle. Holds true for the ballroom. Holds true for the relationship with my SugarAnne.

When we began tour marital waltz 7 years ago. We stepped on each other's toes every now and then. Frankly, we stepped on each others toes a whole lot! But learning was fun. We were dancing. With marital intimacy. And the music of our marriage was bangin'! Pun intended - I mean that's what we were doing: bangin'! - if you know what I mean. We'd waited almost two years! I took incredible pleasure in leading her into the turns. And I turned my SugarAnne every which way. And my SugarAnne delighted in being turned. With joyful expectation she anticipated being turned this way and that way. We were caught up in the delight of sharing our "centers" -hee-hee. We'd come together for the oneness of it all. As long as our boots were clickin' our hearts were tickin' for each other. And, we were numb to the pain of stepping on each other's toes.

A quick word about making love:
Permission granted, is permission to touch; permission to hold; permission to guide; permission to lead. And when the question "Let's make love" (by word or action) comes from the man, where forth the answer comes is really where the decision is made. And the decision made strictly by the woman. And when permission is granted, it's more than permission. It is surrender. For only she can choose to be taken in the marital way. Regardless of position, unless there is a willful "parting of the waters" so to speak (a distinctly feminine gesture and act of compliance), ain't nothing happening. Everything about making love, from its position (any position) is contingent upon the woman opening herself up to receive the man. Making love can only be accomplished in feminine surrender. Willful feminine surrender.
Close quick word.

Making love is a fundamental oil for keeping the wheels of the marital dance turning with minimal friction. The oil is good. Ah Yes! The oil is mmm mmm good! And with it we dance - toe "injuries" notwithstanding. And we dance: with pebbles in our shoes. So we dance: on rugs conspicuously lumpy with miscues of our pasts. And yes, we dance: in spite of missteps of our united present. We dance. With love for the Lord, we dance. With love for the dance, we dance. With love for each other, we dance, we dance, we dance!
Oh, we still step on each others toes. We still apologize. We still forgive. We still make love. So true, it is said, "love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 5.8). Finally,

Communication is critical.
There's not very much to say about communication. Everybody knows how important it is. In the ballroom communication rests on a thin thread of contact: my hands. Likely less than 1 per cent of the surface of our bodies come into contact. But that's enough. I hold my SugarAnne's right hand in my left. And in my right, I hold my SugarAnne's left shoulder blade. That's it friends. That's all they wrote on communication in ballroom. My hands are the tools with which I must guide my willfully surrendered SugarAnne through the dance to victory. My left hand guides - every so gently. My right hand leads - firm when necessary.

But the BabyMan is not yet adept at pulling these "strings". So my SugarAnne and I, we're moving through a season where I'll just tell her what the next dance move is. My hands still do the business of guiding and leading. The non verbal cues are still being conveyed and picked up. But because she hears what's coming, she knows what's coming. And she moves. She moves to the command. And if the BabyMan's hands don't match the BabyMan's commands my SugarAnne asserts a suggestion. And well she should. And get this (this is critical): I listen. That's the best way, I think, to learn how to lead my SugarAnne. I have a sincere desire to know what my SugarAnne thinks about the BabyMan's lead. But where the next step leads rests solely in the hands of the BabyMan.

My SugarAnne, she's got kinda a "artsy" side to her. She thinks outside the box. And even in this the early stage of our journey in dance I sense that my SugarAnne is gifted more than the BabyMan for choreography. She simply sees the playing field in a broader more imaginative way than I do. That quality has to be respected. It is to our glory for me to listen. She is free to make suggestions and recommendations (and even insistences) about how she may be better led. Beside, I don't wanna barrell over my SugarAnne. And I definitely don't want to extinguish the essence of her personality or smother her gifts. My SugarAnne's victory is my victory. My contributory responsibility is to enhance her, and present her higher qualities and her beauty to the world through our dance.

Communication ain't no one-way street. Ain't it now? When I listen to her ideas it shows my SugarAnne that I am compassionate and sensitive to her needs. Frankly, I think that's part of cherishing her. Chicks dig being cherish. It also shows her that I have respect and love for her. In turn she grows to trust and respect me more and more (that's admiration - dudes dig that). Before you know it, we'll be dancing without the benefit of words.

We've actually have danced without words a few times. I suggested to my SugarAnne that she close her eyes while I lead her around the dance floor. This takes some trust on her part. After trust, touch becomes the most important thing in communicating which steps we would take as a couple. For a stretch here and there we sensed each other's entire bodies through the thin threads of contact: hands and back. All based on prior communication. We were dancing without words. Moving together in partnership. Enjoying our created "shared centers". We were sensitive to shifts in weight. We moved with the same momentum. We flowed together in a beautiful union of two dancers - becoming one - connecting on the dance floor. (I did see her peak a couple of times on some of the more difficult moves). The whole became greater than the sum of its parts so to speak. We shared a moment, a presence, a responsibility. We found mutual pleasure.

I'm looking for longer stretches of that wonderful feeling. The feeling of being "meshed" body and soul to my SugarAnne: ONE! There's a lot of communication that has to happen between where we are and that Dancing with the Stars vision. Not that we're deficient in it. It's just part of the process in developing trust and respect - in earning trust and respect. And me and My SugarAnne know it's gonna require bringing our whole "being" and "self" to the experience.

We're still stumbling in the ballroom (but getting better with practice). But our marital waltz has moved on to a solid marital foxtrot - with steps, turns and spins. I can't wait until we add the dip! But for now I'll:

Guide her gently, lead her firmly
through every step and twirl;

Unto her goes all of the glory
Show her off to all the world.

We're dancing people. We-are-dancing!