vendredi 20 novembre 2015

A quite-funny story about the time I took up belly dancing*

I am the bookish type.  But sometimes I like to dance around in my kitchen to Beyonce.  We all do, right?  No?  Please tell me we all do.

Anyway, when I am a bit drunk, or bored or sad or happy, I like to dance around to Beyonce.  Usually by myself, occasionally with a girlfriend or future/current sex partner as witness.

When I saw the advert for belly dancing classes, it appealed to what I guess is the same instinct.  I signed up for a six-week course, bought a scarf with jangly bits to tie around my hips, and diligently took a bus to a community hall every Tuesday after work.

I loved the belly dancing class.  I was probably not the best in the class but I was definitely not the worst!  I downloaded the songs and practised the routines at home in my kitchen, occasionally for polite girlfriends, who I’m sure were truly fascinated by my new expertise in doing a figure-of-eight with my pelvis.  Not to mention my new desire to talk about it at every possible opportunity.

Most of all, I loved the teacher.  We will call her Gala, like Gala Dali (her name in real life is very much like Gala but is not Gala – have I mentioned that this is a true story?).

Gala was probably in her late forties, but with the air of somebody who has a superhuman pelvic floor and probably has sex with twenty-two-year-olds.  She was tall, with long red hair and tattoos.  She wore the sort of swishy skirts and clanking bracelets that one would reasonably expect in a belly dancing teacher.

At class one week, she informed us all that she would be hosting a one-day workshop on women’s sexuality and empowerment.  I was IN.  Obviously.

I turned up on a Saturday morning and prepared to feel empowered.  This was going to be so great.

To cut a long story short – it wasn’t great at all.  Amid a load of other total bullshit, we all had to dance around in circles while Gala barked strange commands at us.

‘Dance like a prostitute!’

Everyone else in the room ramped up the sexy.  My dancing, which had previously been pretty joyous and energetic, kind of slowed down.  I affected a surly expression and popped a hip in a grudging fashion.  I did a half-hearted sexy grind and made a sad face.

Gala pulled me aside.

‘What are you doing?’

I was happy to explain.  I was quite pleased with myself.  I was feeling very ‘method’.

‘Well, I was thinking about how sad I would feel if I were forced to work as a prostitute and dance around.  It also made me feel quite cross.  I thought it came out rather well in my dancing.  That was definitely how a sad prostitute would dance.’

‘You are ruining today for everyone,’ she informed me.

Next, we were instructed to dance ‘like a queen’.

‘What are you doing now?’ Gala asked me, visibly losing patience.

‘Well, after our previous conversation, I didn’t really feel like dancing.  And I thought – I’m a queen, I don’t have to.’

‘You have a very bad energy,’ she told me.

In response, I told her she could go fuck herself.  Then I dramatically stormed out.

Well, I mean, obviously I didn’t.  I am the bookish type, remember?  I meekly endured the rest of the horrible day, paid my money and thanked her on the way out.  Then I went home and cried.

Then I got drunk and danced around the kitchen with my girlfriends to Beyonce.  Like a queenly prostitute.

* it occurred to me only as I was writing it, that I have written about this experience before.  (Shit, am I running out of amusing anecdotes?)  I was out running the other day, and thought this would make a funny story.  It’s only recently that I am seeing the funny side of this incident, TBH – previously I was pretty freaked out by it, which you can read about here.

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