By Lucie Simone
Dating is a lot like Dancing with the Stars. Sometimes you and your partner hit the perfect rhythm and go on to win the Mirror Ball and the hearts of millions along the way. Most of the time, however, it takes a little trial and error to find the right Mark Ballas to your Cheryl Burke.
I didn’t know what I was looking for in a relationship when I decided to step on the dance floor way back when. Other than handsome, artistic and employed, I didn’t have too many requirements for my leading man. So, my dance card got filled up pretty quickly with a variety of talented boogie masters. Some liked to Tango, others preferred Salsa, and a few liked to Fox Trot. But each one taught me a valuable lesson when it came to finding the right dance partner.
The first man to leave a lasting impression on my heart was a French boy named Jacques whose accent only made him all the more desirable. He was making a go at modeling. Then tried his hand at acting. Then singing. Then filmmaking. After a few frustrated years getting nowhere with his ever vacillating career, he decided life in Los Angeles was too tough and returned to France, tail between his legs. At least, that’s what I imagine happened to him. I managed to cha cha my way out of that relationship somewhere between his acting and singing careers.
Heartbreaker number two was Derrick. He was an actor, too, but seemed a little more focused in his career pursuits than Jacques. Unfortunately, he was less focused when it came to sexual preference. I was a modern woman, and I really wanted to be okay with dating a bi guy, but much like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, I realized that a partner who swings just wasn’t my thing. I wanted a man who only had eyes for me.
Next up was Michael. He was driven in his career (a financial analyst), but was also artistic (a filmmaker), and he liked the ladies (a little too much). I told myself that we were just dating. We weren’t exclusive (despite the fact that I wanted us to be), so I could hardly blame him for dancing with other women. It took ages for me to understand that he would never commit. He wasn’t in any rush to leave the disco, and I had to look for someone else to slow dance with at the end of the night.
Then came Warren. He had been a friend for years. So, when he professed his love for me one day on my doorstep, I was rather shocked. But I was also flattered, and since he was a hottie, a professional dancer (really!), employed, and completely hetero (really!), I thought, “Score!” We began dating immediately. It was bliss. Until he lost his job and withdrew from me. Dating, he told me—the woman he’d been fantasizing about for four years—was too much of a responsibility for him. Apparently, I wanted to tango and he just wanted to rumba.
Warren was quickly followed by Aaron, who I believed was really and truly “the one.” Our first date lasted 18 hours and our first kiss was electric. One month in, though, we hit a speed bump. Turned out, he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, and we were too much too fast for him. Right in the midst of a delightful waltz any Jane Austen fan would adore, he changed up the routine and tap danced right out of my life.
By the time Aaron sashayed off the dance floor, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted in a dance partner: handsome, artistic, employed, focused, heterosexual, faithful, responsible and ready for a relationship. Sure, my toes got stepped on a few times, and more than one partner managed to drop me mid-air, but I managed to land on my feet with a flourish. I’m a better dancer thanks to all that practice, and have since found a wonderful dancer to share in the music. Now, it’s all just a matter of keeping in time with the rhythm.