The Mating Dance is a series of observations of human nature in pursuit of (more or less) romantic endeavor They are not in any particular order. That would imply rationality .
He was a dancer.
Well, he wasn’t really a dancer. He didn’t dance professionally or anything like that. He was just a guy who had learned how to dance along the lines of the Western Swing dancing made popular in the roadhouses of the southwest.
Disco music was “in” when he learned and Saturday Night Fever had been a recent hit. The Bar also booked some country flavored bands that suited the style nicely.
Men who go to saloons would do well to take up dancing. It gains them many points and gives them a higher profile on the women’s radar. He quickly found this out. He had learned some basic moves and was a strong leader on the dance floor. Women would ask him to dance because swing dancing, when done properly, was great fun.
He likened it to a trapeze act in which he was the ‘catcher’ and the lady was the ‘flyer’ as he led them through his series of moves.
His partners varied. Some were good and interacted well. Some were not and did not.
Some women took the words ‘swing dancing’ too literally and would grip his hand as if they were swinging on a rope over a creek. Some never quite got the trick of how to hold his right hand properly and he would have to break stride to catch them and keep them from falling. On one or two occasions he wasn’t quick enough and the poor dears would skid across the dance floor on their backs. Thankfully, the only injuries suffered were to dignity and ego.
“Hang on and pay attention” he would tell them and off they would go, he and his partner of the moment. He gained a reputation for his ability to dance and women would seek him out because they knew they would look good dancing with him. His moves were much easier to follow than the elaborate moves shown in John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever movie and some of the women really jelled with his style.
She was not a dancer…
He had seen her sitting alone at a table looking a little sad on a Tuesday night. She was a dark haired, pretty girl, with a nice figure and pretty legs.
There was a jazz band playing but no one was dancing so he asked her to dance in hope of cheering her up.
She initially declined, saying she didn’t dance well but he coaxed her up. “Just hang on and pay attention, Honey.” he said.
Like so many before he led her through the basic moves he used and she quickly caught on. He liked dancing with her because she was an ideal height and weight for him. She learned quickly and didn’t make an issue over natural mistakes that happen when learning a New Thing. But best of all it turned out that she was absolutely fearless on the dance floor. Her trust in his ability to keep her from falling was almost childlike and they spent more and more time on the dance floor learning communication to such a degree that their connection was almost magical. They incorporated some of the more strenuous moves from the old jitterbug days…in short they became a dance team. She lived for their dancing sometimes wearing skirts that would flare out like disks when he spun her.
Dancing is a sensual exercise and on the dance floor they were like two lovers in one of the musicals made in the thirties. Dancers who convey this kind of intensity are more interesting to watch.
She got so she was quite demanding and he had to work hard to exhaust her so she would settle down and let him tend to his duties at The Bar. Once the dance floor filled up they would no longer dance because there wasn’t enough room and they wouldn’t communicate again until closing time.
They grew very close and had love for each other but never joined as a couple.
Inevitably, as it always must happen, she left the carousel that was The Bar. She left the state, actually and eventually got married and had children.
Every year she would call him on his birthday which was in April and he would call her on her birthday which was in January. Always they would express their special love for each other and his final words at the end of their birthday calls were “Save The Last Dance For Me” after a song popular in the early and mid sixties.
One year he called and instead of getting her or her husband on the phone, he got their answering machine. Thinking they were out celebrating the birthday he identified himself and said “Save The Last Dance For Me.” as he usually would.
About twenty minutes later her husband called back and gently told him that she had died a couple of months earlier… “She just didn’t want to live anymore.” her husband said…
… she was almost thirty…
He still thinks of her almost every day. Sometimes he thinks he sees her out of the corner of his eye, walking next to him…for some reason she is always barefoot in a summer dress… she is always happy…
and of course he always is reminded of her when he hears the song
Save The Last Dance For Me
Paper Dolls by Vann~
Popular fashion model of the seventies and eighties.
Thin girl, but one who had a yearning beauty that earned her a lot of money.
This is one of two that I did…side by side on the same piece of 20 x 30 illustration board. One was a scrub because I had botched something and thought it ruined. So I did an indetical copy on the available space. Water color is tricky and treacherous but I somehow pulled it off and ended up with two looking so close to identical that you needed to look closeley to tell them apart. Great hair for me. Hair was always a problem for me.
A sharp knife broke up the set. A guy bought one of them and , (gasp) had it framed. A friend of mine saw framed painting on his wall. “That’s a Vann” his friend said…
Good feeling… someone bought a painting… Even better to be reckognised…