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ArJewTino

“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

My hips were lying all along

There are two words you often won’t hear together.

Arjewtino. Dancing.

This is quite sad, actually. We Latins dance. We have rhythm. We shake our moneymakers in our sleep.

I, however, don’t.

I lead with my shoulders, I have cements blocks for feet, and the only rhythm I possess comes from my IPod.

So when some friends and I went to Habana Village Friday night for salsa dancing, I secretly wished Shakira would show up beforehand and give me personal instruction in shaking my hips. (I wish that anyway, but even more so this time.)

We eschewed the bar’s $10 two-hour lesson and met early for some liquid courage. I thought it might be a mistake. I flashed back to the first time I went snowboarding and opted out of the lessons because, in my words, it looked “easy” and “I used to skateboard when I was a teenager.” I ended up on my ass 95% of the time and it took me several hours to finally get down the slope.

We downed some beers and girly drinks and moved upstairs. DC’s smoking ban might have made the bar less hazy, but the combined scent of sweat, cheap cologne, and sexually aggressive middle-aged Latin men wafted in the air. Not too sure yet about that tradeoff.

Luckily, one of my friends, Mexican Liz, knew what she was doing and gave us all a crash course in salsa. She grabbed my hips, told me what steps to make, and warned me to keep my shoulders steady. Before long, in the comfort of an unlit corner, a magical thing happened: I started to pick it up.

My left foot-right foot combo was smooth, my hips moved to the music, and my hot Latinoness, long hidden in shame, emerged. I realized that salsa dancing is not a difficult dance to pick up – it’s all about timing. If you master the timing, you can do anything within the parameters of the dance steps.

Hot girls watched me, Guatemalan men envied me, and, I imagine, Shakira placed a phone call to Habana Village asking if I would appear in her next music video.

Now if I could just conquer snowboarding.
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