Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Of foolishness and frailty

Ah, so I thought a Cuban dancing weekend sounded like a good idea: social dancing on the Friday and Saturday night, dance workshops and classes the rest of the time. A friend was coming with me, I’d know people – well one person –it’d all be fine.

On the downside the accommodation was less than salubrious.  It was advertised as dorm style accommodation of 6 – 8 bunks. All the two bed, en-suite rooms were already gone. When I arrived I discovered it was more like an army barracks. There were about 20 bunks stretching down the large room, a toilet block, then more bunks. No doors. Except on the individual toilets. More bunks, shower area, bunks, repeat.

I got there before my friend and registered. The squeals of delight and the cheek kisses as I did this were a clear indication that everyone around me knew each other. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little left out, but I comforted myself with the thought that my friend would arrive soon.

He did. We went to the pub next door for dinner ‘with’ all the other participants, who all sat in large groups. We sat on a separate table. Neither of us were optimistic about the evening at this point. Still, we ate, and returned to the camp for the evening class and then the social dancing.  The dancing looked fun; Cuban salsa, I’ve previously mainly done L.A. style but I thought this weekend was an opportunity to learn more Cuban. They were also doing Bacchata and Zouk and some other dances I didn’t know.

It was hard to get a dance. The salsa scene is rather cliquey- actually any dance scene I’ve been involved in has always been cliquey.  I’d only done a couple of Cuban classes and only recognized one or two faces; my friend was fairly new to dancing and was intimidated by the more experienced dancers there. I couldn’t blame him; I was intimidated and I could probably follow anyone who asked me to dance.

Only they didn’t. 

My friend decided it was too much for him and decided not to stay the weekend. I figured I could tough it out. If I could survive the social dancing, maybe make some friends, Saturday would be better with the classes. I asked one or two guys to dance, a couple asked me but it was hard going.

The longer I stayed there the more envious I became of the couples dancing so well together, looking like they belonged with each other. I returned to the dorm and was surrounded by friends giggling and laughing, some getting all glammed up in  little black dresses and red lipstick, others returning for their drink stash.

I feel like a bit of a failure, and a little sad, but the introvert in me won out and I decided to come home too.  Crap. Life as an extrovert must be easier.


  1. How awful. Feels pretty crappy when you feel like you don't fit in. Trust your instincts. If you felt this way, there must have been a 'vibe'.

    I taught at a school for five months where I didn't fit in and wasn't made welcome. So toxic.

    Think you're pretty courageous to give this sort of venture a go. I would have turned and left as soon as I saw the accommodation.

    Better luck at the next thing!

  2. I don't think the problem is you...the others miss the whole point of being reminds me of high school where kids jostle to be included in certain clicks, and if you didn't make it, you were just out. I was always out and it just added to my introvertedness. I never totally outgrew it. Although I can fake it for a while, being outgoing takes a real toll on me. Points for you for jumping in there at all Stella, that took guts. xo

  3. Fraudy- ah well. Have survived and had a lovely time socialising with other people in the meantime. I'll just make sure I remember not to go next time. Plus my salsa dancing buddy is back in town so hopefully we can find some new fun places to go- especially Cuban. She's a big fan of Cuban salsa.

    Cath- It really does remind me of high school too. I did fake it for a few hours and then decided I didn't need to feel that crappy. It was a good decision to leave. I will remember that at least I gave it a go, as you say. It's only one of several things I've tried in the last few months that hasn't been positive so that's good.

  4. I dunno.... those accommodations sounded like a prison! You sure you didn't take a wrong turn? ;)

  5. NQ- nah, it was a cheap holiday/summer camp thing. They probably have school camps there, Lord help us long suffering teachers.