Dipping into honey
There was a handwritten sign advertising belly dancing classes at the YMCA.
I signed up.
Seven middle-aged women attended the first class. We all shared one thing in common, none of us looked exotic or sexy. Even the instructor looked forgettable, like she could be a school bus driver rather than a dancer of seduction.
She began the class by opening a canvas bag that was stuffed with bright-colored bedazzled polyester scarves that jingled from the coins sewn at their edge. We nervously tied them snugly around our hips over our yoga pants.
School Bus Driver began playing music from her IPod that sounded swirly and foreign. I distantly recalled hearing a similar beat while I was scarfing down grape leaves at an Armenian restaurant a few months prior.
Now draped in a purple encrusted sheer scarf, School Bus Driver moved gracefully. She instantly transformed her forgettable self into a rhythmic confident sensual Goddess. We watched her with a mix of awe and confusion. She expained that we were to make slow elongated figure eights with our hips. I eyed the class of women with concern.
Admittedly, at first, our figure eights were repressed and awkward. However as the music quickened so did our confidence. We began to move with surprising elegance and increased delight. We were transported from the florescent lights of the YMCA to a place where women danced with an unabashed desire to allure.
School Bus Driver /Goddess faced us, rhythmically undulating, spoke soothingly over the Mediterranean music “imagine your fingers are dipping in to a bowl of honey.” She pressed her middle finger down into an imaginary pot and turned it upright as if she was watching the liquid gold drip from her hands. “Figure eight …dipping into honey” she murmured to the beat.
As we each attempted to gyrate while dribbling the sweet condiment, she looked us each in the eye to check out our form. Yes, she seemed to say with her eyes as she smiled and nodded approvingly. “Yes, Oh yes” she said out loud to some of the more eloquent figure eight-ers or honey dippers. She scanned the room nodding and murmuring approval, until her eyes fell on me.
As she took in my thrashing attempt at dancing her nodding stopped. Her smile looked more compassionate than approving, even her gyrating stalled for a split second.
My inner voice thought, “Oh my God, I stink, I can’t believe this …you better figure eight your jingly ass out the door….No, I am not going to quit. I may be a rigid with my eights, but I certaintly am nailing the dipping into the honey. Focus Amy, you can do this.”
Each week I returned begrudgingly, tied a shimmering scarf to my waist and waited for School Bus Drivers oscillating approval. It never came. Every time her eyes got to mine, she forced a meek smile.
On week four, I felt certain my luck had changed. We had a new member. She sat heavily down on the bench outside the class door. I am guessing that she clocked in at an easy 300lbs. An array of crumbs lay on her stained grey sweatshirt from the corn muffin she was hasilty eating. “Are you here for the belly dancing class?” I asked hopefully.
“Yeah” she said now licking her buttery fingers clean.
My mind jolted up in joy. This is my moment, there is no way Corn Muffin can be better than me. She groaned as she struggled to get off the bench and pushed through the double doors into class.
“This has to be the day where I move up a notch. Second to the worse Amy, come on you can do this.” I said to myself with a new competitive gusto.
As the music swelled in the room, I closed my eyes to unleash my full figure eights in all their glory; I imagined thick honey dripping from my fingertips. I danced and softly smiled in a cocooned confidence of a seductress.
Even under an ethereal spell of seduction, I sensed a shift in the energy of the room. There was a hush of quiet adoration. “ Wow, look at her.” I heard. “ She’s so graceful” “ Beautiful.”
I didn’t want to open my eyes to break the spell on my new gift. The seducer. I had finally found my Mediterranean mojo. After a few more gushes of praise I opened my eyes with a practiced expression of blankness so as not to appear to vain.
There was Corn Bread, she was alone in the center of the room, her head tilted back in wild abandon, her legs light and fluid, her hips proud and swaying, her hand delicate and fluttery. She was spectacular.
School Bus Driver looked at her in awe struck appraisal and with a series of quick nods said, “Yes, that’s it, yes….amazing. ”