Sarah Grace has taken ballet since she was three, and we waited until she was three only because that was the youngest age the ballet school would accept students. When she was two she began saying, “I want to be a bow-a-weena” after seeing her first ballet. She is now seven.
As part of the ballet school, she participates in the annual production of The Nutcracker. (Plug here: It is a wonderfully produced show, and is quite professional in its presentation while utilizing mostly local talent.) This year however, the show needed a few extra men to portray guests and parents in the party scene, and now Joel is signed up to wear a tuxedo and play along.
All of which has Sarah Grace genuinely upset. “But, he’ll embarrass me!” Upon hearing that Daddy would be in The Nutcracker, she burst into quiet tears, and begged him not to do it. I have reassured her that Daddy won’t actually dance, and he will just be the equivalent of human scenery. But, her fears were not assuaged. “But, he doesn’t even know what a plie is! And, he can’t act!”
Unfortunately, Joel tried tonight to prove to her that he could act. She told him that he would have to act scared of the godfather. So, Joel genuinely tried to make a scared face. Instead, he unintentionally reaffirmed her doubts. “Dad, that’s why I’m going to be embarrassed!” And, she lamented that he hasn’t been to even a single practice yet and there are only a certain number of practices left before the early December shows. Never mind that he only needs to know when to walk on and walk off for a total of one scene, Sarah Grace is mortified that he will destroy her turn at ballet stardom.
Fortunately, she does not know about Joel’s brief, but memorable attempt at modern dancing. Several years ago, married friends of ours relayed a story that involved a different friend of theirs also named Joel. The wife, who was friends with the other Joel, told her husband that the other Joel–who is different in temperament and orientation than our Joel—had taken up modern dance and was quite excited about it. The husband, thinking she meant our Joel, was puzzled and just couldn’t envision Joel adopting such a hobby. Even though his wife reassured him that Joel was enthused about it, the husband finally said, “Joel COOK?” At that point, they each realized that she meant the other Joel while he thought she meant our Joel.
Our friends told us this story just before coming to visit us. And, Joel’s mind began to whirl. He dragged out his old waist to heel spandex work-out tights and tried them on. But, they aren’t just a solid color. Nope. They are black with green, turquoise, and purple geometric shapes with a occasional red stripe thrown in for visual effect. Oh, and what an effect it is. Joel has kindly modeled them in the picture below:
Joel is almost 6’4″, and his frame is best described as broad shouldered wtih large biceps, balanced on top of long, skinny legs. The tights starkly accentuate the contrast between his upper half and the lower half. When our friends rang the doorbell, Joel came out wearing only the tights….no t-shirt, no shoes….and leapt non-artistically across the foyer in his worst imitation of a jete with his arms flailing above his head. Feigning surprise he said, “Oh, sorry! You caught me practicing my modern dance!“ Our friends were shocked, of course. They had never seen this side, nor this much of Joel. And, clearly he couldn’t dance, modern or otherwise.
Yes, Sarah Grace. Come to think of it, you are right to be worried. Now I’m a little embarrassed too.