"Guilty" Pleasures…

Two things I am addicted to that don’t line up with most of my other, shall we say, darker interests… ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and figure skating. Why do I love them? It goes beyond the inherent beauty of both sports (yes, ballroom dancing is a sport). I am fascinated with things I can’t possibly do, or flat out won’t do, in some cases, but that I wish I could.

Top of the list since childhood has been ice skating. I tried it once – when my parents went on a kidless vacation and my sister and I were staying with our neighbors. The teen girl who was babysitting us took us to the ice rink (probably in the Galleria Mall, though the memory is pretty dim), and let us give it a whirl. Did I say whirl? More like stumble, waggle, crash. My sister managed to get off of the railing here and there, but I never did after the first spectacular crash. We figured out fast enough that it just wasn’t our thing.

I’ll give myself this much credit, though: most people who try something and suck at it will then tell others they didn’t like it, which is the sour grapes way out of having to admit they sucked. Not me; I love it, I love the very idea of it – and I do admit that I suck at it.

So what’s the alternative? Become the cheering section for others who don’t suck at it. That’s how I became a fan of figure skating, and hockey, too, for that matter, though hockey has the added charm of potential violence. Of course, to be fair, figure skating has had some of that, too.

Ballroom dancing? Yes, I’m afraid so. But we can blame George Hamilton for this one. When I first saw a very cut to ribbons edited version of “Love at First Bite”, I fell in love all over again with George’s version of Dracula. Then he did a fancy dance with his lady in a disco club to the immortal track, “I Love the Nightlife” by Alicia Bridges, and I was mesmerized. To this day I’m not sure I could tell you if it was a tango or not, but I ended up wishing I could do that. As it happens, my balance isn’t the greatest at times, largely due to iffy ankles (hence my practically living in boots). Plus, I just don’t think I’d ever want to go to the lengths it would take to learn the sort of dancing that went on in my head while watching George. Once again, I chose to become the cheering section of those who can do this, and in this case, the voting section as well. Personally, this season, I’m cheering on Warren Sapp and Brooke Burke.

So if I love these things, why call them “guilty pleasures”? Mostly, it’s just to be humorous, poking a bit of fun at my otherwise horror-genre collection of obsessions. I suppose the main point is, if you just aren’t suited to doing something, but you still think it’s cool, cheer on someone who can do it. Lend them your support and your attaboys and let them know you’re hoping they’ll win, or for non-competitions, do well. It lets you be a part of it in some way, and who knows? Your cheers or well-wishes could be the one thing in any given moment that helps that other person to keep on plugging.

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