Last week I hit another wall with online dating. I was totally frustrated with putting myself out there and getting so little in return. The guys I’d “Liked” hadn’t responded, but the ones that were totally unsuitable matches– seemed to think differently, and I had plenty of “Likes” from them. And then a man I’d messaged back and forth who seemed to be a good fit, dropped off after a half-day of written conversation. Seven days later, he gave a one-sentence response to my last comment. It seemed odd to have that seven-day lapse when I knew he’d looked at my profile on two different days.
Years ago when I was dating, if a guy was curious about you after a first meeting, he might drive by your house when he thought you weren’t watching. With online dating, you can see who’s “Searched” you, who’s gone back and taken a look at your profile and pictures, virtually driving by your house. That’s kind of unnerving.
I felt frustrated and disappointed. I had no ability to “just be objective and don’t get your hopes up,” as my friend and online dating mentor, had advised. That’s not possible with my daydreamer, romanticist nature. So I fumed, and complained, and prayed, and finally the nudge came, “Call Carol.”
Carol’s my friend who I met in a Texas 2-Step class taught by Shari Huggett-Milton. When we took the lessons in the Fall of 2019, Shari taught and had dances at her studio, Southern Star Ballroom in Raleigh. We would take our Intro 2-step class on Thursday evenings then go downtown to Loafer’s Country Night to practice. There, I met Carol’s sister, Donna–whom I’d seen at my Sunday night swing dance at the Elk’s Lodge.
This past February, Carol invited me to a small group dance. The men and women participating had been vaccinated and maintained a limited number of contacts during the pandemic. I wanted to go so badly, but I still didn’t feel safe participating since I’ve had to be so careful– for myself and my two young grandsons. Carol told me they may have one in the spring and she’d include me. I didn’t want to miss that opportunity and thought I’d better call her to let her know I’d plan to be at the next one.
“Things are starting to open back up. We even had a small gathering of couples– all wearing masks, that Shari organized,” Carol told me. “Loafer’s is having their first Country night this week and I’m planning to go.”
I’d been there that last night before the lock down– March 12, 2020. How weird it had been driving to Raleigh and so few people on I-540 that was usually stop-and-go at six-thirty in the evening. It felt like September 11th and the surreal atmosphere after the Twin Towers came down, not understanding what had happened, what was next. There was a small crowd that night and we tried to let go of our uneasiness and enjoy the dance– even with fewer partners. How good it was to hear that Loafers would be opening this week, things feeling like they’re headed toward our new normal.
Carol and I settled into our phone visit and talked about how we missed our Sunday nights dancing at the Elk’s Lodge. It’s the place where I’m the most ‘established’ with friends and familiar partners. I’ve danced there since March of 2012– primarily East and West Coast Swing and Night Club 2-Step. They do other dances, mixing in a ballroom foxtrot or waltz, a Latin salsa or rumba— but I usually sit those out. It seemed like too much to learn the ballroom dances that I didn’t know. Why not just get better at the ones I knew, I’d reasoned.
But Carol challenged my thinking.
“You know, Connie. You’re expanding your options with online dating– getting on more sites to increase the numbers of guys you’ll meet. You may want to think about that with expanding your dancing.”
She gave examples of the different places she and Donna dance– the types of lessons offered at various studios, group practice sessions and dance parties. I’d heard of most of the ones she’d mentioned, but had never checked them out. Before my divorce, I’d just dance on Sunday nights–saving the other nights of the weekend for being with my husband; But now that he was gone, I didn’t need to do that. I had the time to branch out with these other options that Carol and Donna were so familiar with.
I didn’t have to depend on the possibility of that small dance in spring. I could explore the new lessons that were now being advertised by the places Carol mentioned.
“Different types of dances attract different types of men,” Carol continued. “Maybe you’re missing some possibilities by not pursuing ballroom.”
I’d felt the nudge to call Carol to maintain my spot in the small group dance; but our conversation opened up to a much bigger world of possibility.
I felt encouraged to spread my wings and try something new as we came out of the pandemic. I’d assumed that I’d return to my pattern of Thursday night 2-Step and Sunday night swing. Now, I considered that there were new venues to try, new lessons to consider–helping me to grow in dancing and in my circle of friends. Perhaps I’d find more than a dance partner; maybe I’d meet my new life partner the regular way, as I mentioned in last week’s post. I would love it if that man had a love for music and dance that we could share.
One of the places Carol mentioned was Jordan Jewell’s studio, Move With Grace in Durham. They were starting to schedule ballroom classes for the spring. I liked his description from the About section of his website of the power of dance to bring change:
Dance encourages you to understand yourself, to acknowledge and engage with your emotions, and to find healing to grow past longstanding obstacles. Move With Grace was founded with these ideas in mind, with the belief that ballroom dance is an art which can facilitate great change in the lives of individuals.
The conversation with Carol had opened me up to taking another step forward in my changed life. One conversation can make a huge difference; at times it can change everything. There are many examples in the Bible and throughout history of one conversation that had a profound influence. While this may be an overstatement when it comes to me branching out in my dancing repertoire, it’s worth considering that when a conversation comes up that leads us in a different direction, it can make all the difference.
I felt encouraged when I ended my conversation with Carol. She and Donna are friends who will also be resources and familiar faces at those future ballroom dance parties. I’m glad I followed that nudge, that internal navigation, and called Carol.
How About You?
Have you had a nudge to contact someone and your conversation led you into a new direction?
How did that one conversation change things?