Betty Duffy

Thursday, April 15, 2010


My husband and I did the Safety Dance at the wedding last weekend. People gathered around to watch, so we put ourselves into it, and the next morning, we were both plagued with doubt.

“I’m just worried that I didn’t look as good as I thought I did doing the Safety Dance,” my husband said. It was a legitimate concern.

My husband is famous for being an awkward fast-dancer with his disco index fingers and thumbs ups and high knees, though he does a mean middle-school skating party slow dance. Nevertheless, I was pretty sure I could dance for both of us, and that the looks on the faces surrounding us on the dance floor were full of admiration.

But his doubt fed my doubt, and as I’ve never actually seen my own rendition of the robot or the moonwalk, I started to worry that my dancing didn’t have the irony of a gen-x hipster doing the Thriller dance, and that maybe my “Geeky-cool” was just “geeky” and the kind of thing my daughter will remember, cringingly, for the rest of her life.

My own mother still bumps hips with her girlfriends all the way to the floor to the tune of Mustang Sally in my nightmares.

And there are more reasons to doubt my behavior over the weekend. The Bride asked me if I wanted to stay with her the night before the wedding at the hotel not far from our houses. Well…my mom had kept the kids for the night, and it was a green-light night, which as NFP practitioners will understand, are sometimes hard to come by. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be going home with my husband after the rehearsal dinner.

I’m sure I said something wise and patronizing like, “When you have five kids in a few years, you’ll understand,” and then my husband brought me another drink. And another.

We started talking to a couple of the groomsmen who run a contracting business together in which they rehab historic homes. It was right up my husband’s alley. And one of them also wrote short stories on the side, which was right up my alley. And I started rhapsodizing about starting a literary enclave in rural Southeastern Indiana, something like the Bloomsbury Group of Shelbyville. And one provocative question led to another until it was midnight, and we were still there bending the ear of the Groomsmen, and the Groom (who was waiting for his friends to join him in his hotel room for cards and comradery).

Gosh, I thought I was interesting. And it was way more fun to sit in a circle of groomsmen than it would have been to sit in a hotel room with maids, or even…to go home.

Decorating the hall in the morning, the Bride said, “We toasted to you and your husband last night. Did you have fun?”

Hem…haw…er…we had a very romantic evening…with your fiancé. And here’s where I should really say something patronizing, like when you have five kids in a few years, you’ll understand. We are starving, not for love, but for company.

So the Duffys drove ‘em wild all weekend long, and I’m remembering now why I really should avoid spotlights and honorary positions. I like them way too much.


BettyDuffy said...

Though maybe it's the wine that I like too much.

Katie Alender said...

I learned from the loud-breather in a yoga class once: people appreciate the person who puts herself out there. Dancing or breathing at the volume of an idling truck, it doesn't matter. You are making it okay for everyone else to do their thing, too.

Now I take care not to worry about how loud I breathe. (And if I have enough wine, I don't worry about my dancing, either.)

Catherine said...

Ah, I've had so many moments (pre-children) where I replay the previous night in my head, trying to figure out if I was really as fun and funny as I thought I was at the time.
To feel better I would just convince myself that everyone else had as much (or more) to drink as I did, so they probably found me to be as charming as I thought I was, even if, by chance, I really wasn't.

Emily J. said...

Hmm, if you're still yourself, you probably went a step too far. Wish I were there to witness. Cheers.

BettyDuffy said...

Em, History doesn't bode well for me. I think you would have enjoyed making fun of me.

Though I really like what Katie said: I'm just there to make everyone else feel more comfortable.

Karyn said...

I'm still amazed you gave up a green light - I think the green light is broken on my Lady Comp machine. It does sound like a fun night though.

TS said...

I'm guessing you were only 6 when "Safety Dance" originally came out.

BettyDuffy said...

WRONG TS! I was seven.

Karyn, Pedge said there's a lady bizness app for the I-phone. I don't have the phone, but considering our record, we've got the bizness all wrong from go. Could use a refresher course.

eaucoin said...

Some consolation for you, since you are approaching the age where you will be forgetting and repeating yourself, and making the same wisecracks over and over...I can promise you that at least the first time you say something, it will have been very funny. You make me laugh so hard'll find out for yourself in about five years!

Anonymous said...

Tis always a joy to read you! Delightfully funny, winsomely self-admonishing, you're the extrovert I'd like to be.

BettyDuffy said...

Anon, tis always a pleasure to receive compliments.