It’s a normal Saturday in mid-October here at college. Midterms are finishing up for most of us, the weather’s starting to get beautifully cool, and it’s a normal day. But wait! What’s that? A cowboy just walked by my window! Yep, that’s right: it’s hoedown time here at PHC! =D
My borrowed hat sits on my bed next to my carefully laid out jeans and plaid shirt. The window is open, welcoming the cool breeze. A mixture of country music, Josh Wilson, and Casting Crowns plays from my computer. Dinner is a mere 15 minutes away. After dinner, the activity begins: it’s hoedown time!
Hair to be braided. Jeans and plaid shirt to be put on. Hat to be donned. Pictures to take. Friends to giggle with. Finally, a car to pile into, practically sitting on top of each other. Music to be blasted on the way to the barn. Excitement, laughter, dancing: just seconds away. Bright eyes. Bigger smiles. Laughter exploding. (Have I mentioned laughter?) The 2nd dance for PHC freshmen. Here we come. =D
Laughing and chatting with country music in the background, our group of 5 crammed into the car and took off, trusting our safe arrival to the GPS… which sadly failed us at first. Our detour led us straight into the most beautiful sunset we’d ever seen. It was a great start to an AWESOME night. Finally, we pulled up to the barn. It was hoedown time!
After a line dance or two and one simple rotating partner dance, we were ready to try the two-step. This is one of the most nerve-wracking moments of any dance: will someone ask you to dance the first “real” dance? Will some guy deem you worthy of this important moment? Or will you be left standing of the edge of the dance floor, longing for someone to ask you? I was seconds from being a part of the latter group when a young man came running from the far side of the room. Not just any guy either. He’s one of the better dancers, an upperclassman, and a very sweet guy. My roommate, who had gotten the last guy (before my partner showed up), glanced at me with a look that said, “Lucky!” I was so happy. I has been so afraid that I’d have to sit that dance out. But I didn’t.
Then, the dance started. He put his arm on my back, I slipped my hand onto his shoulder, and he took my other hand in his. Now, this moment is one of the most terrifying and beautiful moments of the dance. Just when you think you’ve gotten used to having a guy slip his arm around you, it happens again. Honestly, it’s frightening. Suddenly you have to completely trust this guy, whom you may or may not know well. You have to trust that he’s going to lead you properly, you have to trust that he will treat you like he wants someone to treat his sister, and you have to trust that he’s a good dancer (not! It really doesn’t matter to me if you can dance or not. I just want to dance!). But in that moment, you look in the guy’s eyes and wonder if you should be scared. Your personal bubble has been completely invaded. There is so little space between the two of you that you’re wondering why you let this happen. Yet, this moment is simultaneously beautiful. When a young man slips his arm around a young lady, he is making a promise. He silently, implicitly promises that he will treat her right, that he will lead her, that she will be completely safe in his arms. He promises to protect her from running into other couples and to not step on her feet. =P While those last two promises aren’t always kept (usually my fault for trying to lead!), the first few promises are essential to a successful dance; the last two aren’t. If I, as a lady, am going to allow you, as a man, into my personal bubble, if I am going to let you hold me and dance with me, treat me right. If you do, I am more comfortable the next time. You make it easier on the next guy who dances with me, and you make it easier on yourself if you ever dance with me again. You’re building trust. And that moment, that split second when trust is established, is beautiful, wonderful, and exciting. Thank you for that moment. It makes my night so much more wonderful. After that moment, you could crush my feet by tripping over them, you could back me straight into another couple, you could do just about any number of clumsy, silly things. I WON’T NOTICE. The only thing that goes through my mind is, “I can trust him. He is safe. He is honoring me.” Even if I end up with bruised toes, I will still be convinced that you didn’t hurt me. It wasn’t your fault. Everyone makes mistakes. Ok, so I’m a bit of an idealist, an optimist, and a dancing fanatic. =) But these are my thoughts. It’s the beauty of hoedown time.
When we took the first break last night and only a few couples were on the dance floor, I stood on the edge of the dance floor, chatting with one of my friends. We were having a great time when a young man came up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder, and asked me to dance. To be honest, I was completely shocked. He wanted to dance with me? There were dozens of girls standing there, and he picked me? I placed my hand in his, he led me to the dance floor, and began leading me all around the floor: dancing, spinning, smiling, laughing. I was thrilled to share those few moments with him. His dancing wasn’t “perfect.” In fact, he stopped at some point, said there was an easier two-step to dance, and promptly taught me this different way to dance. At the end of the dance, I was grinning from ear to ear (oh… wait. I do that after every dance… =D ). It was just a reminder of the beauty of dancing, the honor of sharing in that moment, that space, that time with a brother.
One more dance: the last dance. This is another one of those essential moments. To not be asked for this dance is a huge disappointment. Yet there I was, standing on the edge of the dance floor with the last dance half over. It was sad… And then a fellow freshman came up to me, offered to dance, and walked me onto the floor. It was then that he admitted he had no idea what he was doing. So I taught him. We laughed and tried a couple moves, over and over again, until the song ended. These moments are some of the most precious. They are not perfect, but they are beautiful. I got my last dance, and I loved it!
So… my second dance was a success. Why? Because it once again reminded me of my womanhood, of my brothers’ manhood, of our separate roles that make the dance beautiful and blissful. It’s hoedown time! What a wonderful night!