I really can’t get behind this whole turn-into-a-pretzel-while-you-dance thing that the French seem to be all about. It just leads to me hitting my partner on the head (twice) or turning the wrong way and body-slamming another girl (once) or getting smacked in the face because my face apparently wasn’t supposed to be where it was (once). Salsa really is a collision sport.
Besides the embarrassment of getting a bit lost, I had a great time at the salsa bar last night. It’s funny how the classes always trick me into thinking I actually know what’s going on, and then as soon as I dance with one of the more experienced dancers it’s pretzel time again. But I secretly love it, because I learn a lot from dancing with them and it is always much easier to follow guys who know what they are doing. There were more guys than girls there, which was mildly surprising in the middle of Paris but to be fair I’m used to it after 3 years of Caltech. This also meant that I didn’t get many breaks, which I didn’t mind but my feet were complaining pretty loudly by the end of the night.
The other notable thing that happened last night took place as I was leaving the bar. I was sitting at a table near the exit changing out of my salsa heels and waiting for two friends when one of the bouncers came up to me and said, “I would bet that you are American.” It was a statement, not a question. I asked how he knew and he just gestured towards my face, which is apparently super American. Also him and the other bouncer started to joke around with me as I was leaving with my two friends, saying I had to pay extra since I’m foreign, to which I retorted that they should actually give me a refund since I’m a girl. It was kind of weird to see the dichotomy between their huge and intimidating bodies and jovial faces, but I must say that I have never been happier to be able to speak French.
I also figured out that the salsa style I know how to dance is called “la salsa portoricaine” and that happens at the same bar on Fridays or at a different one on Sundays. I’m definitely going to have to try that out this weekend. Although I would argue that Puerto Rico is closer to Paris than Cuba. And Google Maps agrees. So there.