✈ San Francisco, CA
A few weeks back I went to Cigar Bar - a dark, smokey, lovely spot in North Beach that has fantastic live music. My friends and I heard that there was a dance floor, so naturally we had to investigate. We turned a corner near the back of the bar to find at least 40 people salsa dancing in whirling lockstep. They could have been professionals, honestly. After about five minutes of watching, I found myself taking the hand of a stranger and walking out to the floor. Despite the fact that I had never, ever done it before and knew ZERO of the steps, I couldn't stop smiling, and here's what went through my mind:
1) It is not only okay, but also so effing necessary, to silence the inner critic and just try things, even when you have no idea what you're doing. A strong drink helps with the courage (but might hurt coordination), a handsome partner helps even more.
2) There is basically no stress that great live music can't ease.
3) It feels so good to be led sometimes. I'm not great at letting go of control, but in this situation it was the only option - this guy clearly knew every single move, and I was clueless. And I'm not just talking mental control - I was quite literally forced to relax my muscles in order to make it through all the twists, dips, and turns. I remember hearing as a kid that the best way to survive a car crash is to let your body go totally limp: less rigid means less breakable.
All of this is to say, if someone nice ever asks you to salsa, say yes.