One night back in the ’80s, I was part of a throbbing floor of people bopping to Billy Idol’s Dancing with Myself. From the ’60s on, we danced mostly individually, whether it was with a partner or not. Our parents would give us tips on how to slow dance, but we never really mastered the lead/follow thing. I don’t think too many of us girls really wanted to. Dancing solo was self-expression.

I guess to achieve the fluidity of the slow dance, there has to be the convention of someone to lead and someone to follow.  Maybe males got the job to lead because of a height advantage that works well in initiating the dips and turns. I don’t know. A slow song only lasts for about 4 minutes; there’s plenty of time left for the partners to shift the lead/follow roles back and forth. A marriage with flexible lead/follow roles would be a nice dance.

But if you’re newly separated, all the roles are suddenly yours. Sometimes you may be too overwhelmed to find your rhythm to a song like, say, The Ocean by Led Zeppelin. Although probably not a huge Led Zep fan, Fred Astaire would come in handy right then. But you find yourself alone on the stage. That’s when you notice the mosh pit.

You never noticed it? Neither did I, but it was there the whole time. Maybe we got lulled into doing one dance– the Marital Foxtrot. Maybe we didn’t remember to dance with ourselves enough, and maybe we didn’t notice the mosh pit because we were smug-married-types who didn’t think we needed it that much.

Maybe being married meant you never had to worry about who would drive you home after drops from the eye doctor. My husband watched the Weather Channel, then he did stuff, and then our pipes didn’t freeze. Weeds got wacked without a thought from me.

Being responsible for all the roles now isn’t even the scariest part. The scariest part is that there is no other adult with a commitment to be my primary caregiver.

It takes a leap of faith, but sometimes you just have to trust the mosh pit. I’ve already gotten help with frozen pipes and the weedwacker. And with an emotional meltdown just before Christmas. And I know I’ve helped people in the ways that I’m good at helping. We’re all in this together—single and coupled people.

The lights may be turned down, but trust me, they’re there– all the moshers ready to catch you. Just jump in.

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