B and I went to a dance last night. We do a little ballroom dancing now and then. Some Swing and Foxtrot. Cha cha and Salsa. We're not particularly good at it, but we have fun and meet a lot of nice people.
There's a whole subculture of ballroom dancing, populated mostly by an older crowd. At every dance there's a small group of real good dancers. The women show up in backless dresses and skirts that twirl around; the men wear suspenders and dancing shoes. You can tell, they've been doin' it for 50 years.
Most of the other couples -- well, they look like they're trying real hard. Clearly, the women have dragged their spouses into the program. And the women look pretty good, turning and dipping and twisting. But the men are slow and awkward. They clomp around the dance floor like Frankenstein trying to escape from his Transylvanian castle. (Count me among this crowd.) But, you know, the guys are all smiling and laughing, having a good time. And so are their dancing partners -- a lot of them wives, but a number of girlfriends and a few singles as well.
There's also a "younger set". The freshmen. The greenhorns. The newbies. These are the people in their early 50s.
We meet in church basements, the back rooms of restaurants; in the summer we go outdoors on the terrace. Last weekend there was a big dance at a ballroom in Manhattan. A few of the more sophisticated dancers from our group boarded a train and went in for that one. We didn't make it.
One fellow at last night's dance celebrated his birthday. He was turning 98 years old. Not kidding. And he was out there cutting the rug with the best of them. So there's your prescription for staying young and healthy, fit and happy.
This is last night's most requested song. Now get up and dance!