Dancing With Dad, Kissing Toads

Katie Young
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Wednesday - November 30, 2005
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It was a daddy and daughter ritual. He’d turn the music on, hold out his arms and I’d step into place - right on top of my father’s feet. Then we’d dance. Fox trot, mostly. Sometimes a waltz or a cha cha.

Of course, I had no clue what steps to do, but that was the whole point of me catching a ride on the Dad Express. I’d hold on for dear life as he skillfully spun me around and around (he was, after all, a ballroom dancing champion.)

Giggles and laughter would always follow. That’s when I was 7. It’s been a while.

I got too big to stand on my father’s feet. The only other time Dad and I danced together was my senior year in college when I got to bring him up on stage during my Tahitian number as an unwilling “audience participant.” I thoroughly embarrassed him by asking him to follow along with all my hip-shaking moves.

Dad and I continued to dance separately over the years - me, hula and he, tap - but we never shared a dance floor space together until last weekend.

In celebration of his 62nd birthday (and also my moth-er’s 50th ... ahem! ... birthday) my parents, my grandmother and I headed to the Hanohano Room at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel for a great meal prepared by executive sous chef Ron Amasol.

The Hanohano Room offers live music on a nightly basis, and dancers of all abilities always make their way to the dance floor between courses.

Remembering how impressive a dancer my father is, I asked him if he wanted to dance with me.

He thought I was joking - he laughed, then started singing along with the song as we were sitting.

“No, Dad, I’m serious,” I said. “Do you want to dance with me?”

“Really?!” he said. “Sure!” So we got into position just in time for a fox trot.

“I forget how this goes,” I said.

Dad explained, “Quick, quick, slow. Quick, quick, slow ...”

And off we went, spinning around the dance floor.

My mother was desperately trying to figure out how to work my digital camera so she could capture the moment, but Dad and I were having too much fun to break for photo ops.

And when the song was done, even though Dad was a little out of breath, I knew how happy it had made him (and me) to dance together again.

I was reminded that life is short. My parents are getting older. My family is the most important thing to me; I don’t tell them often enough.

Sometimes my father and I are like ships passing in the night, both busy doing our own activities. It’s easy to let the business of life consume you and take the people closest to you for granted (especially when your father is also your housemate).

But really, it’s never too late to tell someone how much they mean to you, how grateful you are for all that they do. It’s never too late for a daddy/daughter dance - even if I am too old to stand on his feet.

A bad hat trick.

A few girlfriends and I were discussing, well, men recently. One friend came up with an interesting answer to the question, “Where have all the good men gone?”

We decided that it’s like the names of all the men in the world are thrown into a hat when we are of age to date. As we get older, we keep pulling names out of the hat ... Mark, John, Tony ... and if Mark, John or Tony turns out to not be the one for us, we throw their name back into the hat.

Say Mark was non-commit-tal, John was emotionally unavailable and Tony, well, he was just a player.

Years go by and the girls who have been lucky enough to draw good men from the hat have hung on to those men, knowing a good thing when they find it.

So you’re into your 30s and you start to feel like all that’s left are a lot of bad choices who got thrown back into the hat.

Of course, you know there are a few good ones still left and you just pray you’ll grab one of those names as you close your eyes and dig around in the fedora.

A little pessimistic, yes, and I’m sure men might feel the same way about women. Where are all the non-crazy, non-clingy, normal women?

But I started to think maybe my friend had a point.

Where had all the good men gone? The ones without issues or baggage? Were there any left to be had?

Of course there are, and I told my friend just that. You just might have to look a little harder, a little longer and have a lot of faith. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Because when you finally do draw a good name from the hat, you will cherish it that much more.

And on that note:

If you believe you have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your prince, ladies, know that the average American woman dates 29 men before meeting Mr. Right. So pucker up.

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