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Posts Tagged ‘Yale Stories’

I used to post occasionally about ‘Yale Stories’ that I would have while blues dancing at The Yale on Monday nights.  Sadly I get up too early to go very frequently, and the regular Monday night band has now moved to Wednesday.  So Yale Stories as they were happen much less frequently.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t happen: take buying parts for a hard drive at NCIX a few weeks ago — I had a sales guy offer me a special deal on a printer ‘for beautiful women only’.  And another guy, after watching me for ~15min sidled up to me to say Hi, just as I was leaving.

But sometimes the random encounters happen and a yale story presents itself in the most unexpected way.  Last night, I was running some errands and realized that I didn’t have a couple of ingredients to bake this week’s batch of Amish Friendship Bread (By the way if anyone needs some starter — let me know, I’ve got lots) so I stopped by the grocery store after dropping a friend off.  I got a few things (forgetting a few more so baking still hasn’t happened) and went to stand in line. A guy gets in line behind me, asks me if I have a card for that store (for price discounts). I did. So he asks if he could use it. I let him know that he can and at this point I reach the front of the line, he steps forward, combines his purchase with mine and pays for it all. I’m babbling and confused at this point and don’t know what to say (it could have been a flirting opportunity but I so missed it! Oh well). He said it was thanks for using my discount card, grabbed his purchase and took off.

The cashier and I stood looking at each other completely confused. His purchase, even without my card, would have been about $3. Mine closer to $10 or $12.   Random, but who’s to complain?!?

Sadly, though, it was a prime flirting-practice opportunity and I completely blew it. I apparently don’t do so well at flirting pop quizes. Ah well, I still got groceries for free out of it.

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A Yale Story… Almost

Men in Vancouver are wimps. Call me traditional, but I expect to be asked out. I expect to be pursued. I expect to be approached, at the very least.  If you are a guy, sitting in a place and you find a woman attractive, you need to step up. Particularly if you’ve caught her eye. If you’ve caught her eye, it probably means she’s attracted to you too.  And maybe many women in this city would go up to you as you sit there drinking your drink, hanging with your friend — but most want you to approach her. Why? But I am worthwhile to be pursued. If you’re attracted to me, checking me out as I dance, you can get off your ass and walk up to me as I sit there alone listening to the band. Because you are not going to get anywhere if you don’t. I am beautiful, a good dancer and worthwhile enough to be shown that I am valued enough to make the effort — rather than forcing me to make the move just to meet a good looking guy in this bloody city.

What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll find out that a woman’s not interested. You will have flattered the woman, perhaps boosted her self confidence, but as long as you are not creepy and as long as you are socially well adjusted you will probably flatter her. Come on men in Vancouver! Play the game. Sheesh.

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I was chatting with one of my running partners about my life. She reminded me of a story. A parable if you will.

There was a man, in the middle of the ocean, drowning. He was sure that God was going to rescue him. Completely convinced of it. What happens? A helicopter comes along, a ladder drops down and a rescuer comes to try to save him. He refuses the help. He’s convinced that God is going to save him and he refuses the help. So the helicopter leaves. Next, along comes a lifeboat. Tries to rescue the drowning man. Same response “No no, go away, God is going to rescue me”.

What ends up happening? The man drowns, and when he reaches heaven what does he ask God??? “You were going to rescue me!!! Why didn’t you???” God’s answer? “Why do you think I sent the helicopter and then the lifeboat??? You refused my help and you died”.

There are some (loose, perhaps) parallels to the rollercoaster I seem to be on. I’m not the man, rather I’m, perhaps, the lifeboat in this story.  But what happens when the helicopter and the lifeboat have a conversation? Anything can happen.  Perhaps a coordinated effort, perhaps… well, anything. I can think of both good and bad. And I am not going to depress myself by dwelling on the bad at the moment.

That was how my day has played out.  This rollercoaster I’m on at the moment just took a turn and I have no idea what that means. I have no idea what’s ahead, and all I can do is live my life.

I also had some realizations dance-related tonight.  I have learned a few reasons why I have such a general crush on Seattle dancing, or Portland dancing:

  1. Connection. In Vancouver no one does the ‘in connection’. I get so used to the default ‘out’ connection that I defaulted there at ECBF sometimes. But intentionally working on the ‘in’ and playing with it in Vancouver these past few weeks I’ve learned that most leads don’t know what to do with ‘in’ and they seem to immediately send me out. Maybe they’re creeped out. Maybe that was what the jerk meant when he said he wasn’t comfortable (See hallowe’en posts). But the reality is, the ‘in connection’ the torso connection is very important in blues dancing, and it doesn’t mean grinding, or awkward pelvis thrusts or any of that sort. It’s just a torso connection. And when it’s done, it feels fantastic, dancing moves to a new level, and the limits can be pushed.
  2. Leads in Seattle and Portland know how to feel the floor. They get the analogy of dancing on a floor that’s 2 inches below the actual floor. And they do this without dancing low. This one guy in Seattle is 6’6″ (I’m guessing, but he’s quite tall) and he dances his height. When we dance we get that full torso connection, we’ve got an athletic stance so there’s no pelvis grinding, and our shoulders definitely don’t match. Mine are closer to his stomach, in realitiy. But you know what, he really can feel the floor.  Another lead from ECBF was much shorter, shorter than me, and he too danced his height while still feeling the floor. Maybe this is two things going on here (feeling the floor and dancing one’s height can be two different things), but I guess my point is to question how leads in Vancouver feel the floor and what they think that means. I’m by no means an expert, and this is something I’m working on constantly (I think if people videotaped me as I dance and clean my apartment, they’d laugh — this is a common thing for me to explore…).  I know I used to have this habit of going up on my tiptoes more when dancing with taller leads, particularly when doing Balboa, but I’ve realized — from comments that were made to me — that when I dance my height, my connection improves, I can feel the floor better and and I feel better as a dancer.
  3. The other thing that I particularly appreciate? My favourite leads, of all time, are ones that push it. Not every dance necessarily, but they respond to me and they take anything I give them, build on it and the dance grows from there because then I have a chance, and the freedom, to respond in creative ways that allow me to interpret the music and add to the communication of the dance. But most leads in Vancouver don’t do that — at least not very often. A few do, one (the one who was in classes with me at ECBF, in fact) as one who has broken out of his comfort zone and will push the limits with me. I know that I have to bring it to the dance too and that any lead who’s at all decent can probably tell the difference between a follow who is into the dance and who is not. So I’ve been making a concerted effort to bring all that I can to any dance that I dance. Because there are leads there who can bring it, they just don’t. Not often. And I can tell that they dance in the ‘usual’ way with me, yet if they were to just push things and test the waters at all, they’d discover that there is quite a lot more to me and my dancing than what there was 6 months ago or a year ago.
  4. My favourite leads of all time? Do all three, at the same time consistently. And because I expect it, I bring it. Every time.

Oh yeah, and I had a yale story tonight too… A french man, 41 years old, married, wanted to chat. It’s funnier than it sounds at the moment, but it’s 1:15am and I need to go and take a muscle relaxant so that I can sleep. 2 more days until my chiropractor’s appointment. OWWW my back hurts.

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Okay so Yale Stories are usually reserved for that particular bar where they regularly occur. However, it’s probably the best description.

I’ve been in an interesting place this weekend. Realizing that I’m dealing with things, and being frustrated that I’m not in the ‘dealt with things’ phase of life.  I’ve realized the importance of support systems in all of this, and I feel a little like I’m not sure where that is – especially this weekend. Some friends would like to be support, but I can’t lean on them all the time. Others are support, but can be clueless at times.  Still others aren’t here.

So, after a fun Friday night and a great time having brunch afterwards with the Seattle People, I spent a quiet weekend mostly alone with my thoughts, even when I was around other people. Because of where I was at, I almost didn’t go dancing tonight as I’d promised I would. But I decided that I’d go, have fun, dance when I felt like it, and just be.

When we got to the dance (in Abbotsford), it was pretty early, so I decided to go for a solitary walk. I ended up at a Gelato place. I couldn’t resist the temptation. As I tried to figure out where the entrance was, I got some smartass comments from a bunch of guys, which made me chuckle (about them eating all the ice cream). I grabbed my two favourites: hedghog and tiramisu. Or at least, currently, those are my two favourites.  As I left they also made comments about flying the ice cream from Italy just for me. I had some wisecrack back at them.

As I left, I decided to wander down a different road, and I came across this in construction pub. The security guard came up to me, chatted about the pub, encouraged me to come back, chat with him as he’ll be head of security when it opens and to enjoy the place.  I was at least a little amused at this exchange, and eventually continued on my way.  As I started back towards the dance, a couple of guys in a pickup come screaching up to me. Asked me about the lollypop I was eating (they couldn’t see the ice cream part).  I explained it was gelato, and they asked me to go for a beer. I said ‘no thank you’ and they commented that I was beautiful, which made me smile a little. Their response was that the whole exchange was worth it to make me smile.  Then they took off, tires squealing.

By this time it was time to go back to the dance, so I walked back, feeling a little less horrible than I did before.  I had some dances that made me smile, spent a lot of time relaxing between songs – trying to keep my hair dry (had my hair done yesterday and it can’t get wet until Tuesday night), and am now at home, still feeling uncertain, and in some ways a bit ‘raw’, but I’m glad I went out.

Oh… PS. My last post… I tried password protection rather than 100% private, see how that goes, that way I have control over who reads it… 😀

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It’s season two because it’s the rebirth of Yale Stories. Week two because it’s the second week I’ve had one since the long dry spell.

A recap of S2.W1… Old obese dude wanders over… ‘hi… you’re beautiful…’ wanders 6 feet away watches and waits for my response, a dancer rescues me.

This week the guy is younger, perhaps not inappropriately old but I’d say in his 40’s or so. Horrible too tight kahki shorts, untucked 1970’s style white shirt. Hair short sandy blond but kind of shaggy, and with his moustache, thick curving down just enough looked like he should be in a 1970’s movie — or like he just walked off a movie set.

He comes up to me asks me to dance. For other reasons I was NOT into dancing with anyone, and probably would have turned down a dancer had I been asked.  He asks me to dance I say a very emphatic ‘no’. He shouts at the top of his lungs… “I KNEW YOU’D SAY THAT!!!”.  He walks away and leaves me alone for a few minutes. Comes back asks me again says “Are you with someone?” Loud. Obnoxious. Very drunk. I emphatically say “leave me alone”, he says it again. so I repeat myself too. Then I look away and just ignore him.

I’m amused at getting hit on by a 1970’s… er… throwback… but definitely would have preferred to have attention from someone frome the right decade. Oh well. I suppose it means I’m less in a shell than I was, even if I was in a “i’m not dancing and want to be left alone” which is probably not the friendliest vibe. Though they say one’s senses are dulled by alcohol. And I’d agree. Perception.

T-Model Ford was good. I enjoyed the music, though the sound was as usual mixed very poorly, and I couldn’t understand what he said and eventually his style melded into one long song. But I think I need to know his music better to appreciate it more. Listening to just one song wasn’t enough.

The opening guy. Kenny Wayne. Was Fantastic. Had the slow bluesy stuff at the beginning. Built into a very uptempo set. Had a fantastic mix of styles and really played to the crowd well. Plus he’s local. I hope they bring him back. I’d dance to him all night.

And just a short comment that wont be expanded upon, at the moment. Sometimes people need to learn to think before they speak. Just because someone may look pulled together doesn’t mean rude comments don’t sting. There. Enough said.

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Last year, for those dance friends who may have stumbled on my blog, you may recall I had many a ‘Yale Story’. I’m talking about The Yale, a blues bar where a group of us have danced for the last ~18 months on Monday nights. For much of last year I had many ‘Yale Stories’, and it got to the point where people thought I should keep a list. I didn’t. Though I remember some of the best.

What are ‘Yale Stories’? Yale Stories are those stories that happen when a drunk (or not so drunk) guy hits on a woman.  Usually I’m there to dance, so I’m not drinking heavily.  Needless to say their attempts are unsuccessful, I get a free glass of wine. On occasion.  100% unsuccessful on the poor drunken bar guy though. Mostly it was funny, and I have a lot of guy friends who would protect me — sometime too much! 😀

Anyhow, last December certain events became stressful in my life. I was having a conversation last week that made me realize that there is a correlation between that stress and the lack of ‘Yale Stories’.  I was asked the question why should those events and that stress suddenly change this.  I think I retreated back into some ‘shell of protection’. And it’s permeated all areas of my life. Or most anyhow…

Tonight at The Yale, I had a ‘Yale Story’. Nothing particularly special, certainly doesn’t top my best ever yale story, but it was a Yale Story. An older man — old enough to be my father — came up to me and said… “Hi… Wow… You’re Beautiful…” then stood about 6 feet away from me. Waiting. A dance friend rescued me.

So this intentional journey of healing, personal growth, and simply ‘dealing’ with those issues that we all have to deal with, that I’m currently on seems to be taking me somewhere. I’m projecting more self confidence perhaps? I got a Yale Story back. And that’s a good thing.

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