Yesterday there was a free Kizomba dance event in a park. I left home early and made a stop at the calisthenics park to stretch before dancing.
Mateo, a calisthenics instructor, appeared shortly after I had arrived. I said hello and he invited me to class. I said yes. Class was gruelling (as usual with Mateo), and I ended up drenched in sweat. After class I wondered if I should go back home to shower, but decided against it because the Kizomba event opened with a class.
When I arrived I saw a lot of people paired up, following instructions from the teachers on stage. I practiced from afar without a partner. I was very thirsty from having sweat so much, so I went on searching for a water fountain.
I couldn't find one, so I approached a container sized stall where two people where sitting. Before I could even ask the question, a man stood up from his chair and produced a cold water bottle from the fridge behind him. He then asked if I had a minute to speak. I said sure.
"What is your living situation?"
"Well, that's actually an interesting question because [story of clearing out the apartment]",
"Do you have a job? are you seeking a job?",
"What is this about? What organization you work for?",
"Oh we work with X, an organization that helps homeless people",
"Well, I don't really need help, but there's many things I could donate..."
From the conversation it was clear that he considered (I don't know with what certainty) that I was homeless. It didn't bother me at all as we were having the conversation, but after I was done and I thanked them, making my way back to the stage where people were dancing, it hit my insecurities.
The class was ending by then, and I had missed most of it. I was now dancing alone, with plenty of opportunities to invite someone to dance, but now I was thinking "what if they think I'm homeless too?", plus I was all sweaty. It was interesting to observe my thoughts and my feelings change depending on context. It didn't bother me at the moment, but when it was time to invite someone to dance it did.
I tried to brush away thoughts by dancing on my own. A young lady who was also dancing alone was eyeing me. Someone invited her to dance, they went dancing. After a while I saw her dancing with another guy. Finally I saw her dancing alone again. I went up and said "Hi, do you want to dance?" and she said yes enthusiastically.
I explained that I really just discovered I could dance, but that I had now done it with another person yet (at least not the kind where you put your hands around the other person). She said she didn't really know how to lead. I said I wished I had come earlier so I could catch the class. We practiced some steps together. I was stiff and nervous but it was OK, it was my first dance with a partner. After the song was over we high fived and she encouraged me to ask other people out to dance.
I had slept very poorly the previous night, so I went to the grassy part of the park and laid down. Soon I found myself dozing off. I'm not that kind of person, I was very tired from the calisthenics class and my rough night. After a power nap I made my way back to the dance floor and danced on my own again. I was aching and tired, so after a while I went back home.
I think I heard from Andrew Huberman "don't believe what you think when you haven't slept well", and I took this to heart when I observed my thoughts biking back home. "I can't be a 40+ guy who approaches women by asking them to teach them to dance" and "they thought I was homeless anyways", that sort of thing.
When I arrived home I took a picture of myself exactly as I was dressed last night, so that I could look at it today more objectively.
There was a tongue-in-cheek game I used to play with friends called "hipster or homeless", where we would point at a hipster and fake-wonder if his torn down jeans, unkempt beard and shabby looks were because of a lack of housing or if it was intentional. I now find myself at the end of this joke.
I know I shouldn't make too much out of this anecdote. If there is one conclusion for the night it's this: shower after exercising if you're going dancing. Especially if you are dancing with a partner. We can all agree on that, I'm sure.