Don’t worry. I had nothing to be jealous of. While my friend enjoyed some Old Spice aromatherapy, I was whisked away by: a middle-aged man who danced as if his knees were magnetically attracted to every wall of the room, a sweet elderly man whose plethora of enthusiastic questions caused a vein to pop out the side of the instructor’s forehead, and a younger guy who was too short to spin me, causing me to do a crouch-and-twist type move. It was quite aerobic.
Each time we were taught something new, we would try it out with our partner. When the instructor thought that enough time had passed, he had us high five this person and find a new human to dance with. As we rotated through the circle of partners for those three hours, the most difficult part was the awkward spoken interaction, of which Blue Shirt was most notorious.
Whenever the women would rotate and I would land on Blue Shirt, he would have eyes wide open, eyebrows reaching toward the ceiling, and an arsenal of bad jokes he was just waiting to let rip.
Blue Shirt says, “Hey ghrgjrkghjrd hgdurdihgrdkgjrddh! gdhjkghdj. hfjdkghfdjhfgjd ghfjdkldj gfdgjfkldfgj!” …Riveting.
He spoke so soft I have no idea what he said. So, of course, I nodded and smiled. I’ve found that I’ve become an expert at seeming like I know what’s going on, in order to maintain the dignity of acknowledged “Awkward Person”, “Quiet Person”, or “Foreign Language Speaker”. *Disclaimer: Often times, I am said “Awkward Person, “Quiet Person”, and/or “Foreign Language Speaker”.
He smiles back. Success! We’re out of the woods! Man, am I good. Oh wait…. he never stops smiling. This is his default look. Crap.
As we continued dancing I could feel his eyes struggling to make contact once again with mine. I refused to meet his gaze (I’m sorry – “gaze” isn’t a strong enough word, but since Merriam-Webster has not yet found a synonym for “searing fixation that burns straight through to your soul”, “gaze” will have to do.)
Finally, after pretending to be very interested in everything but his face for what felt like an eon, I looked back at him. Apparently this prompted some condescending question from him like, “So, you think you’re catching on now?”
A lot better than YOU at least! Remember that hard, tater tot-like object you stepped on? Yea, that was my toe!
This was the last straw. I couldn’t stand to listen to him or smell him any longer. My roommate looked at me, “You want to sneak out?” Yes. Please. We decided to get pizza from Pink’s and watch a movie for the rest of the night.
As we were walking out the door I felt a feeling of accomplishment, relief, and an imminent, aroma-induced migraine from the recent sensory assault.