Shall We Dance? Meet a Future Partner in the Ballroom

After my marriage ended, I refused to become a divorcee who spent every night on the sofa, eating comfort food, getting unhealthy, and gaining weight. Was I ready to get out there again? I always believed that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. On more than one occasion, magical things happened just when I needed them.

That moment struck one evening as I was standing in my office, staring at a newspaper ad that offered a free dance lesson at the Candlelight Dance Studio. I impulsively picked up the phone. A friendly gentleman answered. I inquired about the lesson and he said they had an opening at 7:30 that very night. Without over thinking, I blurted out, “I’ll be there.”  

Thankfully, I did not need a partner. Instead, throughout the group lesson, we would all be changing partners frequently. (Besides having to adjust to different dance styles, it was a great way to meet more people.) I signed on the dotted line for a package of lessons and also convinced one of my girlfriends, a recent widow, to sign up, too. 

It saved both of us! We danced ourselves skinny, three nights a week, and loved every minute. Then, after an evening dancing to Bachata and salsa music, we continued Latin lessons at the Atrium Dance Studio. 

We now had two new families of friends, every single woman’s dream. We had our ballroom family and our Latin family. My friend met her future husband, part of our ballroom family, at the Candlelight Ballroom.

Was I next? I hadn’t really thought about it, but Barbara Capaldi, owner of the Atrium, had a plan. She had been giving private ballroom lessons to a gentleman who needed a dance partner to advance further. Was I interested? He would pay for the lessons.

I was open Tuesday evenings, so I agreed that she could give him my number. Since I would have to drive across town to the studio, would he agree to 90-minute lessons? She laughed. He said yes.

His name was Jim and he was an engineer. Uh, oh! Left brain, detailed, exacting! Thank heavens he was paying. This could require great effort.

Jim invited me to have dinner with him so we could meet before our lesson. Even now, he calls that dinner my audition, wanting to see if we clicked. We did. Just two weeks after meeting, Jim showed up at my sister’s funeral. This thoughtful gesture was completely unexpected. I was deeply touched.

Over six months, our relationship grew. We met weekly for dinner and dancing. We would compare online dating stories and laugh till it hurt. A comedian (don’t remember who), got laughs when he said that a person posting on a dating site should hold up that day’s newspaper. How true! So many men I met showed up ten or more years older, 50 pounds heavier, and with much less hair than their picture showed. It wasn’t much different with the women that Jim encountered. 

After dinner, Jim would walk me to my door, say thanks for a fun evening, give me a quick peck on the cheek, and jump in his car and leave. This did not make Barbara happy! “What’s wrong with this guy?” she would ask.

But the pace was fine with me. No woman can be every man’s cup of tea. All things considered, I was enjoying his friendship. 

I have a time share in Sedona and each year traveled there with a different girlfriend. This time, I made plans with a friend whose husband became ill. She had to cancel. I was truly fine to go alone since I know the area. But I also knew that Jim had tons of vacation time he never used. I held my breath and shot him a text asking him to join me. 

I heard nothing the entire day! Nothing! Now, I’m thinking, I blew our friendship. I crossed the line. I spent the day regretting the invitation. But at five that evening, he called. “That sounds great,” he told me. “I’ll come by tonight and book our flights.” Whew! 

Relief was short lived. We never even kissed yet alone spent a night together. OMG. What did I do??? This could ruin everything. Is he thinking I want to sleep with him??? Will he take the sofa? Should I get another unit? Awkward!

Jim came over that evening and purchased our flights. Suddenly I didn’t recognize him. This beautiful man revealed a side much concealed. I smiled to myself as I was wrapped in his arms. I had done the right thing! Barbara was about to be very happy. 

I highly recommend dance lessons for single men and women. You don’t need a partner. In fact, most people who attend are single. You will make new friends and get a workout that’s a lot more fun than the gym. Don’t look for the man or woman of your dreams. Just have fun! If it’s meant to be, they will find you. 

Jim and I have now been married for four years. We’re still dancing.

Rose Marie Beauchemin-Verzella is CEO, Director of Education, Beau Institute of Permanent and Corrective Makeup. For more information, go to the website.

Top photo: Bigstock