A few weeks back I got to thinking, what if I had a few single women speak on what a single woman wants in a relationship? It would be the perfect opportunity for us folks in the married club to get a check-up. To either take stock on what we have or take note on where we as men might be falling short. After all, it may seem as if it were ancient history but once upon a time our wives were single too!
I hope you like this installment as much as I do. I'll say why at another date and time so as to not steal her thunder. Who is "her"? She's Veronica Miller and she's bringing a whole lot to the Holler Spot just as all our guest bloggers have...
What a Single Woman Wants? The One-Man Pep Band
by Veronica Miller
I came home exhausted. I signed up for a weekend-long dance convention, and came home from the first day, spent and reeling from the five hours of classes. Five hours of popping, jumping, sliding, 5,6,7,8-ing. At the time, I had a part-time job as a kids’ dance teacher, and I’d decided to go to the convention to pick up some fresh for my 8-year-old students. Who knew I’d wear out my arms during a crash course on locking? And who knew I’d be taking class with people who’d been in movies, on stage and on TV? I’m just a girl from Pittsburgh that likes to move. It was exhausting, overwhelming, and exhilarating all at once.
I shared all this on my nightly phone call with the guy I was dating at the time. It was a long-distance romance, but we chatted for hours on end each night. That night, I collapsed on my bed, exhaling. “I’m so exhausted, babe!”
“But you love it,” he said. “You’re tired but you had a great time.”
I smiled. “I know...I took this awesome class with Dave Scott, and he --”
I smiled. I forgot my boyfriend didn’t exactly have an encyclopedic knowledge of choreographers -- or dance at all, for that matter. “The guy who choreographed 'You Got Served.'"
"OH! ...Yo, that movie was hot!"
“Yes, it was,” I laughed. “I took his class and it was awesome. Now I have to figure out if I’m going to this audition tomorrow.”
“Yeah, the people who plan this convention produce a show at the end of the summer. So they’re auditioning people to be in the cast.”
“Ooh. And where’s the show?”
“It’s in California. So if I audition, and they happen to like me, there might be chance of going to L.A.”
“YOU’RE GOING TO L.A.?!” he exclaimed, excitedly.
“No, babe.” I giggled. “Calm down. I have to audition first, then, maybe, if do well enough ---
“IF you do well enough? What are you talking about?”
“Because babe,” I said, feeling an uncharacteristic anxiety setting in, “there are so many incredible dancers at this thing, and you know I only dance part-time. I mean, everyone is so good! I don’t even know if ---”
“No,” he interrupted. “NO! F#@& THAT! I don’t want to hear it. You are going to go to that audition in the morning, you’re going to dance your little dancer-girl behind off, they’re going to love you, and pick you, and then YOU’RE GOING TO L.A. And then when the show happens, I’ma be in the crowd with signs and confetti and foghorns and shit. Screw that. YOU’RE GOING to L.A.”
I should interject and say that the odds were stacked up against me in this audition. There were close to a hundred dancers trying out, and a number of them already had professional credits under their belts. I was, if nothing else, a no-name underdog. But I couldn’t say that now. Not with my boyfriend leading the cheer for his one-man pep squad. So I swallowed my anxiety and soaked up his encouragement -- hell, I’d need it if I was going up next to a hundred professionals -- and promised him I’d give a great audition in the morning.
The next day I headed back to the convention hall, my water bottle in my tote bag and my boyfriend’s pep talk in my back pocket. I stretched, learned the audition piece, and prepared to face the judges. I don’t remember much of the choreography, but I do remember dancing with a big, goofy grin on my face. One, because I was having a great time. And two, because I knew I had someone, even if he was three hours away, cheering for me to be great. I didn’t get chosen for the big show in L.A., but I did get to chat with the choreographer at the end of the day
"You know, I really loved you,” he said, “You were great."
"Yeah! You’re energy was awesome! You did a great job."
I pretty sure I grinned all the way home.
Later, the boyfriend seemed a bit bummed that there would be no trip to LA. (“I had a sign ready and everything,” he whined), but I assured him that his pep talk didn’t go to waste. “I had a GREAT audition,” I told him. “Even if I didn’t get picked. I felt amazing just being up there.” He helped me feel amazing.
The boyfriend and I parted ways some time later, but we remain friends to this day. What he doesn’t know (or didn’t know, lest he stumble upon this post now), is that that one pep talk, that one little nugget of encouragement, set the standard for the kind of encouragement I now know I need in a relationship.
I’m never surprised when I start dating a guy and find out that he has little to no interest in dance, and that’s fine by me. We all have our esoteric interests. So it’s not loving dance that’s important to me; it’s knowing that I love it and honoring that fact. The boyfriend couldn’t tell me the difference between a plié and a jeté, but that lack of knowledge didn't hold a candle to what he gave me. And in those moments of self-doubt and anxiety, that support is crucial. It could be the difference between a great audition, or falling flat on the floor.
When a woman has a one-man pep band playing for her, she feels like she can take on the world --- and whether she wins or not, she gets to come home to someone who’s still cheering, regardless.
Veronica Miller is a writer, radio producer -- and dancer -- living in Washington, DC. She blogs occasionally at veroniiblog.blogspot.com. She tweets constantly at twitter.com/veronicamarche. And if you're in the DC area, she'll be hitting the stage in November with Contradiction Dance
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