Thursday, October 4, 2012

Breaking Pointe (and Breaking My Back)

On my third date with GAR we went mini golfing. He looked so cute and my nerves were high so I did what I always do in these types of situations – I made a total ass out of myself. I flailed my club wildly, fumbled with my brightly colored ball and landed it in some really tricky spots. As I tried to putt the wayward ball back towards the hole I stood on some rocks for better leverage and then, as I’m prone to do, tripped and nearly fell into the water hazard. Thankfully though GAR was there to prevent this from happening and he pulled me back to safety – 3 different times. I’m sure he must have thought it was a fake out move … that I was only pretending to be hopelessly clumsy so that he’d be forced to “rescue” me. Classic early date material. But then we went to dinner and I spilled and entire cup of marinara down the front of my cream colored sweater. And I’m pretty sure that by then he had figured it out: This is not a desperate ploy for attention … this woman is clearly devoid of any and all traces of grace.

And so I did what any gal in this position would do – I never called him again. Somehow, miraculously, this man still wanted to talk to me – he called and emailed and texted … and yet I ignored him … for an entire year. And I thought that would be just long enough for him to forget how completely uncoordinated I am. I could get a fresh start. Try again. Not make a fool of myself this time around.

So 13 months later I called him up and invited him out to dinner again. And it went awesome. Then we went for beers at the bar next door and I spilled all 20 ounces of mine all over GAR … and then I leapt to my feet to get napkins … which resulted in me tipping his over as well – into his lap. I guess he found that charming because now we’re married. The end.

Just kidding – we’re still a looooong way away from the end of this story (and you should really know me better than that by now). But I guess my point is this – while my lack my lack of grace is the often the subject of playful barbs at my expense it’s never really bothered me that I am missing all basic skills of coordination and steady control. After all, I still got the guy, right? So what if I’m spastic and my movements are completely uncontrolled? Other than ruining every piece of clothing I’ve ever owned by spilling something on it, snagging it when I bump into something or just generally scuffing it in a manner that I can’t clearly identify, how does this negatively harm my life? It hasn’t. It doesn’t. It won’t. Unless I want to pursue a career in dancing or something ridiculous like that (cue the waltz, or maybe the tango. Or, I don’t know, what’s another dance? I’m not so familiar with this sort of thing. What music do they play during a ballet? Something Black Swan-ish maybe? But without the bulimia and Natalie Portman cutting herself. Thanks).

Okay, maybe I’ve built it up too much. After all, I’m not really considering dancing on a professional level (I can’t even stomach watching “Dancing with the Stars” so it’s clearly not a passion of mine), but I have been taking ballet classes … or really, to be more specific, barre classes.

At this point you might be asking yourself “Why? What would possess this clumsy awkward woman to do such a thing?” Well I have one word for you – Groupon. I do love myself a sweet deal. But that’s only half of it. The other half is – The CW Network. And if you’re now saying “Aren’t you 35? Isn’t that a little old to be watching anything on CW? Do you have no taste level at all?” You’re right. It’s despicable. And it’s totally GAR’s fault. Over the summer he got hooked on this show called “Breaking Pointe” – the “pointe” being a literary wink at the fact the show follows the professional (but mostly the personal) lives of several ballerinas who are part of a highly regarded company in Salt Lake City. I have no idea what implored him to watch this show in the first place but he quickly got sucked into watching petty people discuss their self-made problems (with the occasional ballet number thrown in on the side) and it became our summer tv guilty pleasure (we have one each summer and I’m less proud of some than others. Worst summer ever: 2009’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.” I’m still shaming myself over that one).The “characters” in the show (it’s supposedly “reality” but, honestly, who’s buying that?) were vapid and actually a little boring. But it nonetheless inspired me to get bangs (it turns out they don’t look as good on me as they do on someone who weighs 90 pounds) and gave me the fantasy that I too could try my hand at a plie or two. After all, I do have photos of myself as a child decked out in a tu-tu at recitals. Did I need to quit ballet at age 6? Maybe I could have unlocked some hidden potential … maybe I still can!

Spoiler alert – I can’t. But it goes beyond my lack of ability. Much like many things in life, my barre class is nothing like I expected. I was picturing ladies rockin’ some hot legwarmers while they gracefully bend, dip and twirl – all with the barre as support. I thought that, if nothing else, I could hold onto that barre with a grip stronger than the jaws of life and keep myself from falling flat on my ass. But it’s not that simple … and we weren’t doing any of those things I imagined. Instead I found myself in some sort of twisted fitness boot camp where the barre hardly ever comes into play unless you’re using it to pull your entire body weight up again after you’ve crumpled to the ground in exhaustion as the instructor cries out for 10 more leg kicks while you’ve got a tension band binding your ankles together.

Where are the pretty pink flats? The sequins? The slicked back hair? The tulle? I have never cried out for anything so girly in my whole life but, for the love of all that’s holy, where are the leotards? Talk about false advertising.

Instead I’m suffering my way through another 50 crunches before using the barre as support for some sort of sick modified standing push-up, my newly sheared bangs slick and sticking to my forehead thanks to all the sweat, as I accidentally slide into the person next to me as my palms lose traction … or kick them during our tension band exercises … or fall on them during the lunges. Hey listen - I can handle tough workouts. I'm no stranger to pain. But I wasn't looking for this ... I wanted to feel dainty and lithe and, at the very least, just a smidge sophisticated. But how am I ever going to get more graceful if we haven’t even attempted a single pirouette? Still, unlike 6-year-old me, I’m not quitting yet. Nope. Not until I’ve completed my last 4 classes. Because, let’s face it, I’d rather suffer through this than let a perfectly good Groupon go to waste.

But, damn it, next week I am totally rockin’ some legwarmers. If I'm going to suffer through this I'm going to do it in high ballerina style!

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