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Stumped in Seattle


  • The Choice

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    "Dear Edie,
    I have thought on numerous occasions of writing you to tell you my Salsa story, but it seems that will not happen just yet. A more pressing issue has arisen recently, concerning romantic relationships with people having two left feet and no rhythm.

    I know you're a busy lady, so no hurry on a response. I feel like this is going to be a long one, so I apologize in advance. I just woke up this morning feeling like I needed to write.

    First, for background purposes, here is a brief explanation of what Salsa has meant to me.

    Salsa has been both a blessing and a curse for me. As you know, it's therapeutic for the mind, body, and soul -- it has cured me of countless ailments, ranging from mild colds to absolute heartbreak. And it has helped me overcome my shyness in meeting new people -- making new friends is as simple as a smile and a look that says "You're hooked too, aren't you?!"

    On the other hand, for someone like myself who is easily distracted from more important things, Salsa can be dangerous. Lately, my priorities seem to be in the order of Salsa-Women-Eat-Sleep-Women-Salsa-Work-Study, when they should be more like Study-Sleep-Eat-Study-Study-Sleep-Eat-Work. You know what I mean?

    It has also been murder on my love life -- which is the reason I am writing you this morning. Passion for dancing (and the ability to do it well) has been subconsciously added to an already-impossible list of traits for my "ideal woman." It's hard enough to find someone who's smart, gorgeous, kind, funny, and inspiring (and who likes me, let's not forget that) -- now she's got to dance Salsa, too!

    This issue has come up again in the recent weeks since New Year's Eve, when I met two women, whom I'll call "A" and "B".

    '"A" is drop-dead gorgeous, high energy, very flirtatious, and a very fast learner on the dance floor.
    She moves so seductively that my tongue would wag and my heart pound out of my chest if left to their own devices. On the down side, she seems to feel she can't have a good time unless she is drinking. She also smokes like a chimney, is a little immature and self-centered, and isn't really doing anything with her life.

    On a side note, my father instructed me growing up never to get involved with someone I wouldn't consider marrying, and it's stuck with me -- a curse which has left me single or heartbroken most of my adult life. But that's another story.

    The point is that a relationship with "A" would be short-lived, at best. Sooner or later, I would cease to be a novelty to her, and though I can't imagine it now, even her charms would get old for me after a while. I need to feel a real connection with someone or it's all a waste of time for me.

    Now, on to "B". She is cute, but does not have the same outright sexiness as "A".
    However, "B" is less superficial and more engaging in conversation. We have a lot in common in terms of goals, interests, and what we are looking for in a relationship. Plus, she really seems to like me -- for who I am, not for what I can give her or how good I can make her look on the dance floor, which is the vibe I get from "A". The problem, you ask? SHE CAN'T DANCE!

    "B" has has no "soul" whatsoever. None. Zip. Zilch. Couldn't clap her hands on beat if her life depended on it. In contrast, I feel the rhythm of Salsa somewhere deep in my soul and, as all Salsa "fanaticos" can relate, feel myself physically and spiritually compelled to dance my butt off -- . On the dance floor, that's like an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. Disaster! Fate can be so cruel sometimes...

    As I am a student, I have not yet been able to afford private lessons. But I feel the music and have been told that I have a good lead, and so, despite my limited repertoire of moves, women seem to enjoy dancing with me. Provided they have a hint of rhythm, in a few songs I can teach most newbies enough to sharply boost their confidence and help them have a great evening.

    "B" is the exception to this. I am a patient teacher, but I've never met anyone before who has had this much trouble. We do all right with merengue, but only by staying locked in closed position and me keeping an iron lead, physically guiding her body's every move (which isn't all bad!). On Salsas, I spend the whole song counting out the rhythm and basic steps for her, but have made little leeway.

    It's not for any lack of effort on her part. We joke about the whole thing, but I know deep down she is frustrated.

    Is there hope for her? Would some private lessons with a good woman instructor be of some help? I also read something here about an tape on finding the rhythm of Salsa. Which is it, and how can I get one?

    Now, just to make things complicated, over the past few days (and more so over these very pages) I have decided that I would be interested in pursuing a relationship with "B". But I am worried that this dancing issue could potentially be the source of some bad feelings. Especially in light of the teeny thing I forgot to mention -- "A" and "B" are good friends (although the way they talk behind each other's back I'm beginning to think otherwise).

    "B" does not know my feelings have changed for her -- she still assumes I am ga-ga over "A". I have gone dancing with "A" a lot over the last few weeks, but we are not really dating.

    My concern with choosing "B" is that she, for whatever reason, does not seem to have very much fun when she goes to the club. She usually ends up leaving early, while the rest of us dance until closing. I don't know if this is because she feels left out because she doesn't "get it", or because she'd rather be elsewhere. She is not as seduced by the whole scene as the rest of her friends and much more focused on school.

    What should I do? I may be naive, but it'd be nice if things could work out such that I would have a girlfriend but none of us would lose any friends or have to give up dancing.

    • My heart says go with "B".
    • My body says go with "A".
    • And my mind says forget both and do some studying for a change! Such a dilemma!

    Sorry for the long-winded message, but I had to get this out of me somehow. It must be weird to have complete strangers pouring their hearts out to you. Just so you know, we citizens of Salsa freak-dom appreciate your bestowment of time and wisdom upon us. We're not worthy!!

    You seem really cool (not to mention gorgeous) and I hope to meet you one day, if not dance with you (I will probably never be worthy of that honor, at least in the near future). Everyone needs a dream like that to keep them motivated, though Hasta entonces, cuidate!
    "- Stumped in Seattle"" - Stumped in Seattle"

    Dear Stumped in Seattle..
    After receiving the many responses from Salseros all over the world, I’ve come up with a combined solution that I felt was best suited for you. They were all in agreement that number one, you should first finish your studies, and not get seriously involved with either woman. You’ll be wasting mind space with Girl "A" - unless you want a one night stand, so will she, and it will be over sooner than you think. PLUS, you’ll still have to face her each night at all the Salsa Clubs.

    This kind of situation puts a slight DAMPER on your DANCING.

    It’s hard avoiding these short-lived relationships - it’s almost like you have to ban yourself from going out to certain places for a while because you know "she / he" will be there and you don’t feel like seeing or dealing with "her / him".

    With girl "B", she may be marriage material, however, her non-interest or lack of "Fire for Salsa" concerns me. Pay for half of them if you can. It may work, it may not. Remember, "When the student is ready, the teacher will come".

    But my dear Stumped, you must first finish YOURSELF, before even THINKING about spending time and energy with girl "B". Unless you’re a dance teacher, you’ll end up frustrated because you’re NOT enjoying the teaching experience. Leave this up to the Pros. The "Salsa/Mambo Addiction" is something she must find and then experience on her own. The magic that takes place in your mind, body, and soul from the rhythm of Salsa/Mambo can never be forced. It just "happens". The affects some like the sharp sting of a viper, others like the rush of a warm deep wind, and yet others, like kissing their sister.

    It seems Salsa-Holics are "chosen" to love this music with a passion. There’s a craving deep down inside of true Salseros, that only the rhythm of Salsa/Mambo can fulfill. This is not true for everyone. From what you said about its healing power upon you, I believe you have found your "fix". She hasn’t - yet. Give it time. Give it a few months with . If it doesn’t happen, then move on. There is no point in sharing your life with someone that doesn’t share the same passions as you. You’ll find her. She’s there. She may be right in front of you… and until you are ready, you may not even know it…

    Remember, you must not only respect each other as people, but believe it or not, also admire or have fun with each other while dancing. If you don’t dance well together, and one or the other gives up, "cops a tude", or just doesn’t want to try any more, it will rub off later on - sooner than you think. Pretty soon your "exciting romance" will "suck", and you will do anything to get out.

    If you do decide to settle down with a "B"-type, there will eventually come a day when someone else on the dance floor will sweep you off your feet (for the gals) or knock you off your chair (for the guys) for a brief moment.* Someone will ALWAYS be better on the dance floor. This is the tease, the fantasy, the "almost, but not mine" …the mystery dancer.

    Why do we always want the things we cannot have? Why do we get bored with things that are ours, and take for granted? Why is forbidden fruit so appealing?
    • Human Nature?
    • Selfishness?
    • Pride?
    • Spoiled Rotten?

    ...a never-ending list of selfish egotistical characteristics we all as normal "human beings" struggle with and don’t even realize sometimes.* Until something is taken away, we don’t realize just how "important" the things we take for granted really are…

    Consider this. What if you were in an accident tomorrow, and both your legs were cut off. How badly would you want to dance, and which person would be there for you?

    My advice to you? Keep dancing for FUN, and don’t get serious with ANYONE yet. Get your schoolwork done first my friend. Pass with flyers colors, GRADUATE, get a decent job, make good investments, NEVER lease a car, BUY a place to live, THEN start looking for the perfect "C". "A" will always be there, and will always be your fantasy in one woman or another. You’ll find her every night on the dance floor, in one woman, and in many women. That’s what’s so wonderful about dancing SALSA and MAMBO. You can get your "fix" with all the A’s on the dance floor, experience a different, warm and pleasant "flavor" with the "B’s" and with the one and only "C"… get your fix, on the dance floor, AND at home… You’ll find your "C" one day my friend. You will. Trust me. When you’re good and ready, she will be right in front of you…

    (PS: Check out my Timing CD to help you find the beat. )

    Happy Dancing!
    - Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!

    • ediester
      ediester commented
      Editing a comment
      I had a couple of thoughts about your letter of the week and your personal letter. It dawned on me that both you and the gentleman from Seattle have not yet decided what you want from the opposite sex, or at least found it. Both of you spoke of the beauty of people you could have spent time with, yet that was not enough (good thing). The fact that your date was not interested in dancing was enough for you to question the whole evening. Maybe it is more a reflection on the other people than you. If I was your date I certainly would have gone dancing with you, just for the opportunity to spend time with you, one thing I have found is that when my date is happy, I am happy. You find something in dancing that your date does not and for someone as serious about it as you, that seems significant. There is nothing wrong with you or the guy in Seattle, life is far too short to spend time doing things you don't enjoy. It sounds selfish, but if you are up front and honest, that's all anyone could possibly expect. Don't give in to second guessing, as long as you are honest with yourself things always seem to fall in to place.

      I would think about it twice... If dancing is your passion, then you do notwant to get involved with someone who is not even interested in the subject.This was one of the reasons why I have ended relationships.

      I can't deal with someone who doesn't appreciate or at least respect and tolerate what I love. You have to be able to share what you love to do with your other half! Maybe not all the time, but sometimes. I'm kind of in the same dilemma myself... you see, I just recently "officially " started dating,and I just met this wonderful guy who I have a date with on next Saturday.The man doesn't dance, but when we met, we totally hit it off... It was pathetic! it was like we were alone in our own little world immediately after they introduced us. Any who, yes he does not dance, but after he saw me dance that night, he practically begged me to teach him. So at least he is very eager to learn. You see, in the past I have turned guys down because they don't dance. I personally find my self attracted to men who dance BETTER than I do. That's kind of stuff since I hear I'm pretty good. So, what will I DO?... I'm giving the guy a chance for a change, I think he's got potential [I hope]. But just think... he IS eager to learn and he does love what I do, and he wants to become part of it.... not only that! Think of all the physical contact when I teach him ... woo hoo!

      The bottom line is that I WAS wrong about not giving non-dancers a chance. I will now, but they have to be at least interested in learning and appreciate what I love, DANCE. Besides, the guy wants to learn [verbatim: "ALL I can teach him"] is totally old fashion, a gentleman, a fashion model and we are extremely attracted to each other... Need I say more?
      -The Lil’ Princess of Chattingham

    • ediester
      ediester commented
      Editing a comment
      " father instructed me growing up never to get involved with someone I wouldn't consider marrying......."

      He's right so for me HERE is your answer. Go with girl 'B' !!!

      Although I can REALLY understand your frustration to have a girlfriend who doesn't get the same feeling to dance her butt off. But really she will understand that you have to do this once in a while. If you don't dance for two days, you notice. If you don't dance for four days, everyone notices, including her. She will beg you to go out and only return home after you got your Salsa fix !!!She will understand, just like you will have to understand that if she has taken a course of Salsa classes (which I think will really help !!)but if not, accept that she will never dance as girl 'A'. If she is really the love of your life then just think of it this way dancing is only a few hours a week, sharing your life with someone is 24hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

      Send us all a wedding invitation ;-)))

    • ediester
      ediester commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello Edie,
      This man's main problem is not what woman he should date. His problem is an unbalanced lifestyle. He has given dancing too much priority in his life.

      I first started dancing because I was very shy. Dancing did help me out there. I got into Salsa because I liked the music. Then I was fortunate to get a job in Miami. I had the best time of my life and had plenty of girlfriends because of my ability to dance.

      Pretty soon I was doing nothing but dancing in my off time. I was addicted. This was hurting me but at the time I did not know or care. I had wasted my young days being shy and now I was making up for all that wasted time.

      The problem was that I did not do what I needed to do. I needed to further my education and put some money aside, but I didn't. Now I'm suffering because of that.

      I can remember those days of going out at least four nights a week, dropping $300.00 a night and waking up at 1:30 PM the next day... just to get up and prepare for the next evening out!That is not a good life. I just thank God I don't drink, I'd probably be dead now if I did.

      After a while the whole scene got old. The waste I was making of my life was becoming apparent. Then I lost my job. I haven't worked in almost a year.

      Now I am in New Orleans. The Salsa scene is almost non-existent here. Even if there was a good Salsa club and good dancers, I would probably go out only on Saturday night.

      Now my advise to the Salsero. Balance your life. Do your school work, take care of your health by eating right, getting proper exercise and adequate sleep. Dance on the weekends when you have time.

      WOMAN A - Do not go out her. She sounds like a trashy chick. I don't care how good she dances
      or how easy she jumps in the bed. No respectable woman drinks or smokes.

      WOMAN B - If you like her for the other things she does, then go out with her. If you can not appreciate her because she does not like Salsa or the nightclub scene then don't waste her time and risk hurting her
      Bruce Monjure
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