Salsa – Chips Optional

Saturday night Lee and I hit the town for a rare and necessary date night.  We hired a babysitter like big kids, got all dolled up (little black dress, rockin’ red high heels and a smokey eye completed my ensemble – I felt like a rock star!) and headed to the Central West End, where we reminded ourselves once again just how far removed we are from college.

After a quick dinner, we headed to the basement dance club, Club Viva! where we took an hour long Salsa lesson before they opened up the floor.  It was nothing short of a blast.

I should preface this by telling you that I love to go dancing.  It was one of my very favorite things to do in college and I would go dancing every weekend if we could.  Lee, however, over the years has decided that he’s not crazy about going to dance clubs anymore.  I’ve had to practically beg him to take me, and somehow, since we’ve been married, we’ve only made it out dancing twice.

And both experiences were, uh, not great.  The first, when I was roughly 18 months pregnant with Sloan and I thought a little dancing might be good to get things kick-started, left Lee worried I’d have a baby on the dance floor, so he refused to dance with me and I spent an hour dancing with an adorable mentally challenged boy who kept trying to kiss me – I swear, I couldn’t make this stuff up. 

 The second time was spring break in Florida right after I found out I was pregnant with Tia.  When the girls started licking shots off of one another’s bodies on stage, Lee and I quickly realized we were out of our league and left.

Thus, when he said he wanted to take me dancing – I was thrilled…and a little nervous.

So, we found ourselves in a line with a few other brave souls where a little Columbian man show us how to shimmy and shake our hips.  And, I gotta say, Lee and I weren’t half bad.  I mean, I’m no Shakira, but I got my hips swinging back and forth without completely falling all over myself – and considering I was in 3 inch heels, I’d say I deserve a medal.

At one point I did look over and see Lee doing the Electric Slide, which caused me to keel over in a peal of laughter, but otherwise, we were rockin’ the joint.

1, 2, 3 (pause) 5, 6, 7 (pause) These are the counts for the salsa.  Apparently the numbers 4 and 8 are taboo – you just skip them.  Now, stand up and step forward 1 on your left foot, then step back 2, on your right foot, then step back 3 on your left?  Got it?  Did you swing your hips?  You’re set then!

After the lesson, the dance floor was opened up and the real dancers came out.  Those girls knew how to swing their hips!  Lee and I got out on the floor and with our limited knowledge let loose with the meanest beginner salsa you’ve ever seen.  It was awe-inspiring.

Upon taking a break and letting my screaming feet rest, a young, adorable latin dancer named Vinnie asked me to dance.  Lee laughed and pushed me toward the danced floor while I stammered, “Uh…I’m not…ya know…very good.”

“S’Ok,” Vinne shrugged, then started girating his hips back and forth and spinning me around.  I felt like Baby in Dirty Dancing (“I carried a watermelon”).  My arms flailed about,  my feet tapped danced more than salsa’ed and, at one point, I threw in a rather impressive arabesque.  But, through it all, my hips shook like a professional.

I think Vinnie liked it as he asked me to dance two more times.  Either that or he felt sorry for me and was hoping to give me some pointers to keep me from making a total fool of myself.  Actually, it’s been a long time since I danced with a strange college boy and I kept trying to tuck my hand into Lee’s arm to show that I was taken, but my darling husband refused to let me turn down an offer to dance.


He stood on the sidelines and laughed as I danced with not only Vinnie, but the tiniest little Columbian man I’ve ever seen.  He was adorable, sweet and about 65 years old.  At one point, he grabbed my hips and moved them back and forth to the rhythm.


But so much fun.  Lee and I partied like rock stars until we looked at his watch and realized it was going to cost a a small fortune to pay the babysitter for our night out.  

And so, like the thirty-somethings that we are, we hobbled out of Club Viva!  But, we both vowed that we would return, because it really was one of the most enjoyable evenings we’ve had in a long time.

And my hips don’t lie…


  1. I went to Club Viva on a Thursday night with Jen Rhodes. She is really into salsa now. I was overwhelmed. I get the basic steps, but it was just awkward to me. Do I look at the guy while dancing…that seems too intimate. But I didn’t want to be stand-offish either.

    And I think I danced with the same 65 year old man. He was short, and also took my hips and tried to help me.

    Sounds like you had a good time!

  2. FUN!!! I am impressed that you can WALK in 3inch heels, let alone dance the salsa!

  3. Shannon Mette says

    It was fun to get Lee’s take on this at Homefront on Sunday. He was somewhat impressed with, I think from your descriptions of the two gentleman you graced the dance floor with, must have been Vinnie. He told us that he one day would be the one dancing like that with, “that girl!”

    You will have to let us know when you are going back, I think I could twist Keith’s arm to go along!!

  4. Have you ever heard of Zumba? It’s latin salsa dancing and exercise…like latina jazzercise! HA! It’s a blast! And there is a Salsa club here on post…I’ve been…it was um, funny. Jeremy could not be serious…there were lots and lots of bad spanglish accents going on and silly girating hip things…but no guy swirled my hips around…good thing. 😀