Through These Eyes: Waltz For a Honeymoon

By Justin Jones August 23, 2012

Categories: Dating & Relationships, Our Lives

“Are you ready?” He asks.

I hesitate. There are so many people watching us. So many eyes—some belonging to my friends, others to acquaintances, and few(I can’t reckon how many) to those who don’t like me (some unbeknownst to me, others apparent—their faces indicate as much). “A little nervous,” I say, “but I’m ready.”

1. Closed Position. Face your partner. If you are the leader, put your right hand on your partner’s waist. To maximize body contact, fix your right hand to your partner’s back. Clasp your partner’s left hand with your own and extend your arm, gracefully, away from your body.

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” I say. My last foray onto the dance floor ended in embarrassment.

He laughs. “It’s okay,” he says. “I don’t either, really.” He takes the leader’s position. He places his hand on my back.

2. First Beat. As leader, step forward on the first beat—delicately—with your left foot. Your partner will mirror your movement.

My heart beats in my head. My palm is in his, and our hands are sticky with sweat. It’s the nerves, partially; infatuation, possibly; passion, definitely. There are a few others dancing in the ballroom tonight, some more gracefully than others. The other duos note our entry to the dance floor, and the veterans smile at us as they glide by, ever so elegantly, with their partners. They nod in welcome. I smile back at them, nervously.

I focus on the audience occupying the perimeter of the dance floor more than on my partner; they watch our movements and quietly judge our form. They whisper to one another and sometimes giggle. I can’t tell whether they’re laughing because they’re happy to see us dancing, or because they think we shouldn’t be.

He steps on my foot on the first beat. It’s my fault. “I’m sorry,” I say.

3. An Upside-Down “L.” With the very next beat, move one step forward and to the right with your right foot. Think of this as an upside-down “L.” You’ll trace the letter in the air, gracefully, and not too high, before touching the floor once again.

It’s hot here. Don’t they have air conditioning? Can people see me sweating? Why aren’t we dancing as well as the others?

“You’re distracted,” he says and holds me tighter. “Don’t worry about everybody else.”

“We didn’t practice much before we came,” I offer.

“No, we didn’t,” he responds, moving me through other motions. I stumble on a few beats, he does so on others. “But we’re here,” he says.

“I’m afraid I’m messing this up. Many people are better at this than I am.”

“I’d rather dance with nobody else.”

4. Final Beat. On the final beat, slide your right foot to your left foot until your feet are together. Now you’re ready to start over with your left foot.

We’ve somehow glided—stumbled, rather—into the middle of the floor, the ballroom veterans still smiling in silent encouragement, the audience still judging, but now more lost in conversations about other newcomers’ performances on the floor.

There are duos that have come onto the floor—and left—since we arrived. There are a couple of tries at a trio, but such a waltz cannot exist, and their attempts end quickly. They’ll take their style to another hall.

“I hope this doesn’t jinx us, but I do believe we’re improving,” he whispers as we enter the second movement.

It occurs to me when he says this that all the smiling couples around us, those who dance the best, are perhaps smiling at us not only because they hope we’ll get the hang of it, but because, for them, it’s nostalgic. The most graceful dancers, I posit, are those with the most practice, of course, but those who have also stumbled the most.

I notice, too, that some of the premature departures from the dance floor danced perfectly well through one or two movements, and then abruptly left—sometimes in pursuit of a new partner, other times due plainly to a loss of interest.

We pay no mind, and my partner and I move now through the second movements, haphazardly, awkwardly, brilliantly…

Our very own Waltz for a Honeymoon. 

4 Responses to Through These Eyes: Waltz For a Honeymoon

  1. Victor says:

    The hit show “Dancing With The Stars” has revived the love of dance. I watch it religiously. Therefore, I was wondering what dance studio you and your partner take lessons at? Is it a traditional ballroom studio in Minneapolis or is it another studio located in Minnesota?

    In addition, you wrote:

    “I can’t tell whether they’re laughing because they’re happy to see us dancing, or because they think we shouldn’t be.” [JJ]

    When you insinuate “they think we shouldn’t be” is this due to the fact that you are a same sex dance couple? Are there other same sex dance partners in the ballroom or are you the only couple of that is man2man?

    Was this a lesson or a contest?

    Will you and your partner continue or was this a one shot deal?

    If you could please respond that would be terrific.


  2. Samantha says:

    This article spawned many new questions for me.

    First, I am curious to know if you were assigned a new dance partner or did you arrive with your partner?

    Did you feel discriminated or overly gazed at because you were a same sex couple dancing in a traditional heterosexual space or was it due to another dynamic at play?

    Was this the first time you were at the dance studio with your partner or has this been an ongoing activity that you both are engaged in?

    This topic seems like a major digression in what you typically write about. What was the impetus for the change in content?

    You opened with a disclosure about how you felt with the eyes of others gazing on you.

    More specifically:

    “There are so many people watching us. So many eyes—some belonging to my friends, others to acquaintances, and few (I can’t reckon how many) to those who don’t like me (some unbeknownst to me, others apparent—their faces indicate as much).”

    So, you felt the gaze from your friends, acquaintances, and enemies.
    How do you know that others do not like you?

    Just curious…that’s all…

  3. Eric says:

    Ironically, you used the word “honeymoon” in your article entitled “The Lullaby Is Mine” in honor of St. Valentine’s Day. For example, “This is no honeymoon, to be sure. We argue every day.”

    Most normal relationships are go through a love hate phase or “polarity” as Freud argues. There are several parallels and overlapping themes between the two articles “The Lullaby is Mine” and “Waltz For A Honeymoon.

    More specifically:

    They both focus on your romantic partner.

    They both focus on romance and relationships.

    They both are stripped of pretense.

    They both explore what it takes to be with a same sex partner.

    They both tap dance around intimacy on the dance floor and in the bed.

    Personal lullabies and honeymoons are meant for those who are amorous just like Romeo and Juliet were. However, you put a unique twist on it in that this is a “same sex” dance session and a same sex retrospective look at love (I still feel his fingers…)

    These two articles force one to examine what “love” means from myriad perspectives while maintaining the SAME SEX lens!

    Nice Job!

  4. Justin Jones says:

    I appreciate your analysis, Eric, and I blush at your study. Thanks ever so much for reading so closely

    Victor and Samantha, what you see here is largely a metaphor. I’m sorry to report that I don’t attend a dance studio or patronize a dance hall. I wish I did, though, which might contribute to my inspiration here. There is a wonderful piece called “Waltz for Versailles” that I listened to while writing this.

    But you both hit on what I was using my metaphor to convey: the anxiety of being early on in a relationship, deciding when to “step out onto the floor” with your partner (i.e., with worries like it being too early to go public with the relationship), paying too much mind to those around us, driven by the insecurities around being a same-sex couple in some situations, or other times being concerned with what your friends and acquaintances will think. You enemies, too, will be sure to take note of your new relationship and they’ll judge you–they’ll hope for you to stumble–and take joy when you do.

    This isn’t my experience alone, of course. We all at some point find ourselves on the dance floor, stumbling around and hoping for the best–hoping that we’ve found the right partner. For many of us, a hope that we’ll find one to dance with forever.

    Thanks for reading.


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