I proceed to dance my shoes into a wallflowerless frenzy, making good use of a few salsa lessons a Dominican friend of mine taught me 25 years ago while slinging bagels on weekends at Barney Greengrass as I worked my way through NYU. "Keep your midriff stable and rock those hips."
I unleash this advice with a passion, keeping up with a few women - perhaps even impressing some and myself. And then she beckons me, the wild Brazilian dancing machine. Her look says "but can you step up bagel boy? Her moves lack any inhibition.
I become her eager pupil, mirroring her fearless sense of self. She swept her hand across her face, coyly turning her head a quarter turn while catching my eyes out of the corner of hers. I am her carbon paper protege - mimicking her every move. I double the pace of my flamenco feet, trying to bring something to the dance table I can call my own.
She easily steps up pace then adds a more sophisticated step. I am her sponge. Her step is mine. We are in sync. She begins a newly complicated arm movement, looking right past me, playing hard to get. I am right there. Surely she must be impressed by my rapid absorption of her fearless improvisation. She repeats her taunting hand gesture, again looking right through me. I replicate this haughty gesture, throwing my hand away and gazing past her as if she's not there either.
She cocks her head and raises her eyebrows. I'm at one with the master. The music continues but she plants her feet, arms akimbo, now looking right at me, Brazilian Wonder Woman. Well, then hell, I am Wonder Man says my flawlessly mirrored self.
"I'm trying to say hi to my friend." She repeats the "complicated gesture" - over my shoulder, to the woman behind me. I believe they call it "waving to a friend."
"Oh," I say, because really there's nothing to say. As the pregnant seconds tick by, feebly I add, "yeah, I was waving to my friend too?"
"But you're a really good dancer," she throws in, trying to let me down easy, God bless her.
I nod my head and raise my hand in one last tribute to my mentor... my fingers just beginning to articulate the subtle brilliance of this newfound skill. The hand wave. So radical, so misunderstood.
I've been told that being with me is a comfort when it comes to social gatherings. I can blather on about a literary might, wax eloquent on pressing political and social talking points and pull your most social phobic relative or techno centric friend into easy conversation.
I am passionately attracted to intelligent, liberal women with humor in their hearts. Good energy, warmth and self-awareness are qualities I find extraordinarily appealing.
The ability to laugh at oneself from time to time is a huge plus. Beauty without mirth is, well, less beautiful. The above story probably says a lot of things, but one thing I know it says is that I can laugh at myself.
A quick note about faith. I'm not drawn to organized religion but have begun practicing yoga and meditation. I consider Buddhism to be a philosophy that perfectly dovetails with my passionate belief in our extraordinary existence on this glorious planet.