Monday, February 22, 2010

A Good Follow

I've been trying to collect my thoughts all day to properly describe last night's Ball. So much was going on that it's been hard to get everything organized in my head enough to be able to write about it.

Be forewarned, this is gonna be a looooooooooong post. So I'd recommend you grab a drink and a snack. I wouldn't want anyone to suffer from dehydration and/or malnourishment while reading through this behemoth post.

I'll start with this - I'm 10000000% (that would be ten million percent) in love with Mr. David. He is absolutely my dream guy. He's smart, funny, genuine, has a great sense of humour and is devastatingly handsome in a tux.

I spent about 2 hours getting ready for the ball. I did my own hair and make up and I think I looked pretty good for someone who can barely identify with her feminine side. I wore a necklace and matching earrings that Jelly gave to me as a belated birthday present. I did not end up wearing the street shoes that I wanted. Somehow, I've managed to lose a pair of 4" red stiletto heels in my tiny apartment. I ended up wearing a pair of cute little black heels that I've worn many times and many places.

Everyone kept looking at me on the streetcar. Probably because I was totally rockin' my tiara! I ended up running into a friend of mine and he said I looked FABULOUS! That gave me a much needed confidence boost.

I got to the King Edward a little before 6pm. My heart started thumping going up the grand staircase to the ballroom. For those of you who don't know, the King Edward is one of the oldest hotels in Toronto. They've stayed true to its original art deco glory. It's glorious and romantic and the perfect place for a Ball.

I managed to get up the stairs without tripping or making a fool of myself. I set my shoulders down and put my head up high and walked around the corner to the check in table.

And, there was no one there.

Holy crap I was early! So much for my grand entrance!

I stood awkwardly at the table for a while before my instructor Nicole came out of the ballroom. We hugged and shrieked at each other's fabulous outfits. She told me to head inside as my Waltz partner was already there doing a run through of our choreography.

I stepped inside and immediately my breath was taken away. The ballroom was GORGEOUS! I felt like I'd stepped inside a fairytale.

My partner greeted me and commented on how nice I looked. I returned the compliment. We moved to the dance floor to start practicing. We did a quick run through and everything seemed a-okay, aside from the ghastly duct tape keeping the dance floor together! My heel got stuck in it once so I made a mental note to step over that portion during our routine.

My friend (and dance school receptionist) E came in and we squealed at how gorgeous we looked in our awesome dresses. :) She took some pictures of myself and my dance partner. While we were doing that, Mr. David began to approach.

Okay, so I really tried not to totally die when he came over to say hello. It was hard because my heart kept skipping beats. He extended his hand out and I took it and did a little curtsy while he bowed forward. God I LOVE old school ballroom etiquette! I think he said I looked nice. I'm not exactly sure now that I think about it. My brain always turns to mush around him.

The four of us headed out to the lobby where it was finally starting to fill up with people. I started snapping some pictures of everyone in their finery. Then I asked E if she would have a picture with me. And then I asked Mr. David if he'd mind a photo.

"Mind? No, I demand it!"

*giggle* That fine photo was the one in my previous post. I really think we make a handsome couple.

We chatted about how he had to get his tux taken in. Apparently he lost a bunch of weight since last year. I saw pictures from last year's Ball and I did notice he was a bit fuller in the face but I didn't notice him being significantly larger. Now he's just freaking chiseled.

E and I headed over to the bar where I discovered it was a cash bar. GAH! You'd think for $110 ticket, they'd throw in a least one drink! No such luck. And it was bloody expensive - $7 for a domestic beer and $12 for a glass of wine! HOLY BANANAS! If I hadn't spent $30 on my tiara, I may have been able to buy some booze. Oh well, water for me! I think that was probably a good thing given that I'm so terribly awkward at ballroom dancing.

We headed back over to where everyone was mingled and I ran into Nicole again who introduced me to her dance partner S and her husband JF. She told me that I would be sitting at her table with S, JF and Mr. David. I smiled casually and commented on how she was lucky to have a handsome guy on either side of her. On the inside I was screaming OH YEAH BABY!!!!

We all headed inside for the start of the festivities. There were place cards at the table and mine was right next to his!!!! I almost did a Happy Dance. I knew there would be a better than good chance I'd be at his table, but it never occurred to me that I could actually end up seated beside him. Thank you Sweet Baby Jesus!! WHOO!!!

The evening started off with a welcome from the owner of the school and a few performances. As I was looking through the program, I came to the listing for my performance. We were the first ones up after dinner. Yay! Everyone would be happy and full which would mean they'd be more forgiving if I ended up getting stuck in the duct tape. I also noticed the way our names were listed that mine and his were next to each other. Just like the two of us at the table. Awww!

Dinner service began and I suddenly got really nervous. This was the moment I'd been dreaming about ever since my Fairy Godmother made it possible for me to go to the ball. What was I going to say? Would he even talk to me? Would he be interested in what I had to say? What if I get food stuck in my teeth? All these questions were running through my mind when the servers came around with the bread rolls. And then he asked, "Do you want some butter?"

"Yes, thank you."

"I usually don't eat butter. So I'm going to have lots tonight." He scooped two of the butter balls out of the dish and put them onto his bread plate.

"What about 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter'?"

"Oh margarine? Yes, I usually have that. I buy Becel."

"I use that too. I heard it's better for you than butter, but I'm not exactly sure how something synthetic could be better than something natural."

Wow. We were having a conversation about butter and margarine. I was trying to be witty and charming and the best thing I could come up with is "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter". Really smooth Paprika, really smooth. Yeesh.

As we ate our bread, we both started humming along to the background music that was playing. I told him if they kept playing songs I know, I'd end up singing more than dancing.

"Three Times a Lady" started playing and Mr. David asked who sang it. I responded with Lionel Richie. He asked if it was when Lionel was still a part of the Commodores. I confidently responded no, it was when he was a solo artist. (Turns out I'm wrong! AGH!) JF joined in on the conversation and he asked how exactly did one become three times a lady.

I immediately launched into a hilarious (well, I thought it was hilarious) explanation that being three times a lady was similar to the graduated drivers license system of Ontario. JF asked how I knew of this and I explained that I was going through the process myself. I'd successfully completed the first and second stages of ladyhood (we tossed around other funny terms like ladyship, ladydom, lady gaga and lady madonna before settling on ladyhood) and I was about to complete the third stage.

"What is the third stage?" asked David.

"Performing tonight and not falling down."

Everyone laughed. Well played Paprika, well played!

Nicole jumped in and asked who would be the judge. I replied HER of course as she is my teacher after all. She was pleased with that answer and happily accepted her duty as Ladyhood Judge.

The main course of chicken, mushrooms, potatoes and vegetables came out. Mr. David began asking me questions about where I grew up, about my family and about when I came to Toronto. After I answered, I asked him the same.

He is the youngest of 6 children - 3 boys and 3 girls - and he was born and raised in Edmonton. When he was 11 years old, his family moved to Toronto and have been here ever since. I was DYING to ask him how old he is, but instead, I asked him when the move happened.


Mental math clearly showed him to be 12 years old than me. And more mental math equalled him to be 47 years old.

I'm in love with a 47 year old. I'M IN LOVE WITH A 47 YEAR OLD!

I told him that he is 12 years older than me. And a few minutes later, after he finished doing mental math, he blurted out, "You were born in 1975! You're 35!" I honestly believe he thought me to be in my twenties rather than in my thirties because he made a comment earlier about me being barely old enough to drink.

From that point on, I kept making jokes about his age. I made references to vinyl and the dark ages. He was a very good sport and laughed at all my jokes. He got me with a few zingers as well.

During the rest of the dinner service, I found out:

- He's an actor by trade
- He went to university and has a performing arts degree
- He's trained in ballet and jazz
- He's an uncle 8 times over
- His mother is 91 years old
- His father died 22 years to the day of the ball
- His mother never remarried
- He listens to Q107
- He doesn't like Lady Gaga
- He still has a record player and vinyl records
- He lives in the same area as the dance school
- He started ballroom dancing last year when he had the time and money to do it

He asked me a lot of questions about my family and if we are close. I told him that my Mom had passed away 26 years ago the day before. He pointed out it was weird that our parents had both died in February and almost on the same day, albeit 4 years apart. He noticed the tattoo I have on the inside of my left wrist and asked what it meant. I explained it is both my mother and father's initials, written in my father's handwriting.

"How is that?"

"How is what?"

"How is that your father's handwriting?"

"Well, I asked him to write his initials on a piece of paper and I took that to my tattoo artist and she made a stencil directly from it."

He asked me how my father coped with my mother's death. I told him he did the best he could. We were the typical European family where the father goes to work and the mother stays home and raises the kids. And after she died, we all kind of took care of each other. I told him in spite of the fact that my brothers drive me bonkers, we are very close. He found that interesting.

Dessert came out and it was this delightful chocolate cup filled with mousse and Bailey's. David inhaled his in about 10 seconds flat. I was pretty full from dinner so I only ate the mousse inside the cup. JF insisted I at least take a bite of the chocolate cup.

"I only ate half my dessert last year."

"Why is that?"

"Oh the Ball was right around the time I had started losing weight. So I wasn't allowed to eat my whole dessert."

"Well, you sure made up for it tonight."

We settled into tea and coffee and then it was announced there would be some general dancing before the performances.

I was really excited about this because it was my first time getting a taste of social ballroom dancing. And I was really terrified because I know I'm more likely to trip and fall around Mr. David.

A Meringue kicked things off and I asked David to dance. He said sure, but he didn't really know how to do the Meringue. Okay seriously? I've seen him Rumba and Cha-Cha like nobody's business and he was telling me he couldn't step from side to side to the beat of the music?

Turns out he was right. He didn't know how to Meringue. I died laughing! But we muddled our way through it without any injuries to ourselves or the people around us.

The next song was a Waltz and David went off to find another partner. I was happy to sit and watch everyone twirl around. It was so magical! All of the professional people were on the outside circle and those who weren't as experienced took the inside circle. The whole floor was moving as one entity. Truly beautiful!

The third song was a Quickstep and I was quite prepared to stay seated as I've never danced that before. However, a young blonde guy came over to me and invited me to dance. I told him I'd never done it before and he didn't seem to care. That was a fucking train wreck. I really should have been adamant in saying no. He was stepping all over my feet and I was tripping and unable to keep time.

By the last few bars of the song I finally managed to figure out the basic step but it was too late. He bowed and thanked me. I was the one who should have been thanking him for not pointing and laughing or slapping me for being completely inept.

Next up was my performance! I took to the floor with my partner as David went with his partner to the other side of the floor. We started on opposite ends with our backs to each other. All of a sudden my brain clued in that this would be my first ever ballroom performance in front of people and technically in front of him!

That would also be the very first time in my life that I've ever been nervous before a performance. I've never felt panic like that before! My heart was thumping, I immediately started sweating and I know that I had a frozen smile pasted on my face.

The music started and my brain switched into performance mode. I took a deep breath and just started moving. I really concentrated on making sure I was emoting properly and doing all the stylings with my arms.

Two minutes and it was over to thunderous applause! My partner and I made our way back to my table and Nicole said, "THREE TIMES A LADY!!!!"

It was official, I reached ladyhood status! Nicole hugged me and JF hugged me. I got lots of, "Great performance" from various other people.

(I think I need a sandwich now. I've been typing for over an hour!)

Fast forward to more of the general dancing. David and I danced a Cha-Cha that was hot, if I do say so myself. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm way better at the Latin dances than the Smooth dances. I was really getting into it and I could tell he was enjoying that. Then I clunked out on the stupid duct tape! UGH! It's hard to be sexy when your heel gets stuck to the floor.

We did a Rumba, some Salsa and eventually we did the Foxtrot. I think I liked the Foxtrot the best because we were in a very close hold. I could feel all the muscles in his arms and legs moving. (I just got chills up and down my spine thinking about that.)

At the end of that dance he looked down at me and said, "You're a good follow." That is probably the best compliment I could get from a leader on the dance floor.

We were going to dance the Waltz when the Blonde Guy came back and asked me to dance. David was just setting down his beer when he noticed the other guy with his hand out inviting me to the floor. Then BG realized that he had trod on David's dance territory. He apologized and was starting to walk away. David said it was okay that he could have me for that dance. BG asked if David were sure.

I jumped in with, "Please boys, fight over me!" They both laughed. David conceded and off I went with BG.

I have to say, the Waltz with BG was pretty good! We were dancing in the outside circle so we were moving rather quickly. But I managed to hold my own! At the end of the dance, BG thanked me and gave me a big hug. How cool is that?!

We headed into the end of the evening and a West Coast Swing was playing. I asked David to dance and he got all scared and said, "NO! I don't know how to WCS." I was all like, "Whatever dude, let's just go do it." And he was insistent that he didn't know how to do it. Apparently the follower's steps are completely different from the leader's and you actually do have to know your own part.

I looked at him and said, "So let's just go groove then."

He looked at me puzzled.

I took him by the hand and led him to the dance floor. I just started to dance the way I do at clubs.

And at that moment folks, it was totally the scene from Dirty Dancing when Johnny brings Baby onto the dance floor and he shows her how to dirty dance.

My hips were bumping his hips. I swayed and sashayed. I had my arms up around his neck. And I did every sexy move I could think of.

And he was totally digging it! At least I think he was because he didn't run away screaming in the other direction - which is what usually happens to me at a club when I try dancing with a guy I think is cute.

For the rest of the night, we DANCED!! No more prim and proper holds. We wuz gettin' DOWN!

He was getting really into it, to the point where a bunch of the instructors got in on the action!

Just after midnight, the Ball was officially over. I changed my shoes, gathered my things and began making the rounds to bid everyone good night. My Friday Showcase instructor gave me a bear hug and told me that I rocked. The owner of the school gave me a huge hug and told me that my Waltz performance was beautiful.

After I finished saying good night to everyone else, I made my way over to David.

"I had a lot of fun dancing with you tonight."

"Thanks David. I know I'm a lot of fun to dance with."

He laughed.

"Did I mention that I'm freaking hilarious?"

He laughed some more. He leaned in and gave me a really nice hug.

"I'll see you on Wednesday at class."

"Yes sir."

"Yes ma'am."


  1. I love this story, and you are freaking hilarious for sure. I laughed a lot when I was reading this. I can't wait until your next dance class to hear more!

  2. so glad you had a great time my friend!!!