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  • Penny Sterling

You Can Dance if You Want To.

Am I too old for houndstooth miniskirts and fuzzy sweaters? I don't care. I will wear them because I want to. I like the way I look and feel in this. There's a lifetime of experiences I have wanted to do and I'm going to do as many as I can. Saturday, I danced. I really didn't dance much as a man. I was always afraid my movements would be awkward and/or feminine and so my self-consciousness would kick in. I'm still bit self-conscious, but I am letting myself move more. For example: 15 or so months ago I went to a birthday party with two of my girlfriends and we all danced for hours. But that was freeform, '80's new wave dancing. Last night was a called dance--like a square or contra dance. But most of the folks there didn't know how to do it and the ones who did were easygoing and encouraging, and the caller had the patience of Job, so when someone asked me to dance, I said yes, and had a great time.

Then a waltz was played. And a man asked me to dance. In the 3 1/2 years since I started transitioning, I have found myself doing things that I never thought I would be able to do. Like wear a houndstooth miniskirt with a fuzzy sweater. But there are some things that just won't ever happen, and I'm more or less okay with that. Not everybody gets everything they want. I never thought I would be asked to dance a waltz. I was so thrilled and so nervous and so unsure of myself. He told me where to put my hand and how to move my feet and led me around the dance floor with a smile and the patience of Job. About halfway through the dance he spun me. I was probably the worst waltzer in the history of waltzing


. I was so bad, that if it wasn't for the music, a casual observer might not even be able to tell it was a dance, but i relaxed and had fun and was so absolutely thrilled that I kind of went into shock. In a good way. There was nothing romantic about it. It was just a guy--a happily married guy--asking a woman he's been friends with for years to dance. So what if for most of the friendship they were both guys? I don't have a bucket list. If I did, most of the items would probably look rather mundane. But they wouldn't be to me. And it would be one item shorter. Two, if you wanted to include the houndstooth mini with the fuzzy sweater. By the way, the person who asked me to waltz? It was the guy who called the Virginia Reel. And also the same guy who had that birthday party where I Rock Lobstered all night. Thanks for the dances, Chuck.


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