Tiny Dancer – Finale

Hello Hello?  Anyone out there?  Sorry I have been away for so long.  I changed jobs and had a baby girl, two things that will keep a long-winded blogger off the map for a while.  Anyway, I felt it would be wrong to leave you hanging.  Let us pick up where we left off, with Lisa and Etienne.  So much has happened since then and, boy oh boy, will you be shocked when you find out how this little saga ends.

Ok, so to bring you up to speed:  Lisa was a student at Etienne’s dance studio.  Etienne was a recent divorcee who was into reliving his single days and playing out wild sexual fantasies.  Lisa was blinded by her admiration for his craft and her desire to be with him verged on obsession.  To Etienne, Lisa was no more then a groupie plaything who fell in too deep too fast.

Our story picks up a few months after Etienne denial of his relationship with Lisa.  By this time, Lisa was laid off from her 9-5 and started working at the dance studio.  Etienne, now technically her boss, enjoyed taking advantage of the proximity by slipping her into the private lesson room for some sexy one-on-one time.  In fact, the other dance studio employees were getting wind of what was going on behind closed doors.  Audible moans and frequent disheveled clothing was a dead give away that Etienne and Lisa’s relationship was far from professional.  Lisa was proud of her liaison and wanted nothing more then to be the publicly recognized woman in Etienne’s life.  She hoped the other employees and students caught on!  Public knowledge of the relationship gave it legitimacy, at least in her mind.

Lisa remained convinced it was just a matter of time until her real life “Fifty Shades of Gray” became a modern day fairytale.  That notion came crashing down when a freckle-faced blond stopped by the studio one evening as class was wrapping up.  Etienne glided over to her, kissing her on the mouth and offered a warm greeting.  Lisa looked as though someone punched her in the gut.  She stared in dismay as Etienne, announced to the studio, “Everyone, meet my girlfriend, D.”  Etienne’s fan club of groupie students flocked to the couple.  In their eyes, D snagged the unattainable local celebrity and was therefore admirable.  Lisa was shocked, she worked at the studio everyday, was still involved in a heated sexual relationship with this man, yet here he was introducing the world to his girlfriend. Image

The next morning Etienne picked Lisa up to go on a previously planned worked-based shopping trip.  He laughed at her fury and resentment, believing that they both understood what they had was purely physical.  Lisa vowed to cut him off and threatened to put an end to their workplace romps.  Etienne smiled and cajoled Lisa, knowing his powers of manipulation were far stronger then Lisa’s restraint and desire for him.  Later that night, his assumption proved right as he bent her over the ballet bar after the studio closed.

For weeks the theme continued.  Lisa was in an endless cycle of swearing Etienne off then giving into his advances; meanwhile Etienne called D his love.  Lisa held tight to the delusion that despite D’s existence, she would be the woman in Etienne’s life.  She was a shell of her former self, desperate and unglued.  Still working at the studio her behavior became erratic, anything to garner the attention of her lover.  One day she came to work announcing she got a new piercing (down there)!  She began to share explicit details of her sex life with studio patrons and co-workers.  Needless to say, the sex was not worth his business, Etienne cut her off and let her go.  Lisa’s downward spiral continued.  It seemed that she hit rock bottom when she contacted D via Facebook and confronted her with the details of her dalliances with Etienne.  Etienne was beyond furious and apparently did everything in his power to patch things over with D.  In fact, two weeks later D was in the studio showing off her shiny new engagement ring and sharing details of her pending nuptials with the slimy dance teacher.

Now I realize I have been going on and on with the tale of Etienne and Lisa, and since I’m back after my hiatus, I’m sure you’re ready for some new material.  Let’s just tie up the loose ends here with a wee bit of “where are they now?”  Care to guess?  Well, Etienne still owns and operates a dance studio, although a smaller school with a slightly less stellar reputation.  He had to fire all the employees associated with the “Lisa” era, as they knew too much and could corroborate her claims.  The few students that knew of the Lisa’s situation were told that the incident was nothing more then a fatal attraction and that theory was widely accepted.  Wounded, mentally exhausted and scorned Lisa disappeared, never to dance again.  It was rumored that she would reach out to Etienne from time to time, with no avail.  The louder his silence, the deeper her seclusion.  This year Etienne announced D was pregnant and they would be welcoming a little boy into the family.  Since then, there has been no word from and no trace of Lisa.

If we were all able to truly step outside of our own situations and look objectively upon our lives…relationships would be easier.  But many of us, like Lisa, get caught up in our desires to the point of delusion…seeing and feeling things that were never really there.  It is my hope that Lisa chose to move on without those people, like me, who reminded her of this dark time in her life.  I hope she finds a healthy relationship that is two-sided and…I hope she dances again.

Tiny Dancer Affairs cont.

Lisa and Etienne continued to see each other secretly. Etienne had Lisa teaching classes at the dance school so he could conveniently pull her into the back room for “one on one” time. He loved the thrill of the knowing that someone could discover them at any minute; the affair brought exhilaration to his daily life. The rush he felt during the private encounters left him feeling free of his problems. The failing economy and the expense of his divorce were threatening his livelihood. Acting on sexual impulse with Lisa was enough to mask the turmoil of his otherwise depressing situation. The more risky the encounters the longer his good feelings would last; Lisa was like a drug. As his days became more stressful, his sexual needs became more extreeme.

One night after class, Lisa invited me for a drink. Weeks prior, she confided in me about her relationship with Etienne. She swore me to secrecy and asked me for my honest opinion as it applied to her circumstances. She explained that during the day things with Etienne were normal, almost like a married couple. They would plan the studio’s teaching schedule; go shopping for supplies and share meals before evening classes. They spoke mostly of dance, their shared passion, and the future of the studio. Etienne dreamed that one day Lisa would run her own studio, bearing his name, on the other side of town. Lisa felt that these types of conversations proved that their relationship had a public and lasting future. Then Lisa began reflecting on the darker side of things.

Most nights, after class was finished, Etienne would follow Lisa home to her apartment. There he would drink and conversation would shift from dance to sex. Etienne knew that Lisa was deeply devoted to him. Not only as a student, but as a lover and potential boyfriend. He preyed on her vulnerability by promising that sharing in his fantasies would seal their union. He wanted to bring other people into the mix and experiment on levels that made Lisa uncomfortable. She was embarrassed by the proposition, but considered participating in the hopes of keeping Etienne engaged. From my perspective, it seemed like Etienne’s thrills were rooted in his power to manipulate. If he could turn a good girl bad, he would experience unparallel ecstasy. The delight was not derived from the acts as much as the power over another person.

Lisa was not naive to Etienne’s manipulation tactics. She explained that he would use his influence to control students at the dance school. He studied great leaders and self help gurus to master the art of suggestion. For example, Etienne would compliment certain students and have them believe that they had special talent. He would pull them aside and tell them that they had the potential to teach their own classes at the school. To develop their extraordinary skills they would need to take extra class and a certification course, which, naturally cost hundreds of dollars. In few instances, the students would successfully complete the training and actually become a certified instructors. In this case, Etienne would put them to work but without pay, since they were still in an “apprentice” phase. So you see, the exceptional talent, was only part of a greater money marketing scheme, the result being free labor for Etienne and his dance school. Thus, Etienne’s manipulation tactics carried over into his personal life.

Lisa understood she was being used on some levels and she expressed anger and frustration over the state of affairs. She wanted to swear Etienne off and cut the physical ties but she still loved the man he was during the day deeply. Lisa wanted to bargain; find a way to keep him in her life. She considered an ultimatum…he dates her publicly or not at all. In fact, she had the perfect opportunity to present her terms. The next weekend was her best friend’s birthday party. She planned to invite Etienne as her date. I would be the only other dance student at the party and I already knew of the relationship, so there was no concern over the business and pleasure boundaries. It would be an opportunity to start fresh, taking the dark relationship into the light where the manipulation and erotic dares would cease. He would be the same man he was during the day at night. Makes perfect sense, don’t you think?

Tiny Dancer Affairs – Part II

Etienne was in his early thirties once his divorce was final. He felt that because he was in a committed relationship for the majority of his young adult life, he had earned the right to let loose and experience things he felt that he missed. During his marriage he focused on the success of his dance company, now that the company was thriving he could tune into pleasing himself. His former wife left the school, which created the perfect environment for Etienne’s new adventures in singlehood.

Now that his situation had changed, Etienne began to admit to himself that he was deeply attracted to Lisa. She was beautiful in an edgy dark way, unlike his blond haired blue-eyed former wife. Lisa brought mystery to the table and Etienne could not help but fantasize that her talents on the dance floor translated to her dexterity in the bedroom. He watched as she pirouetted across the floor; believing that Lisa held the key to his own sexual reincarnation. Lisa, tuned into Etienne from day one, noticed the recent peak of interest. She admired him from a distance for so long and was breathless at the thought of her student teacher fantasy becoming a reality.

After class one day, Lisa stayed after to ask Etienne for extra help. Knowing Lisa was by far his most competent student, Etienne realized this was Lisa’s way of creating private time. Etienne capitalized on this opportunity and suggested that they retreat to her apartment and watch a movie…about dance, of course, for instructional purposes. As we know, watching a movie closely translated to other things sparking between the pair.

Etienne followed Lisa to her apartment where she opened a bottle of wine. They both quickly drank their first glass in the hopes of easing the tension between them. When the movie began, Etienne sat on the couch while Lisa squatted near him on the floor. Neither was ready to assume the other’s intentions that night…it was too soon to tell what would actually play out. About an hour into the movie and two bottles of wine consumed, Etienne reached for Lisa. His embrace alone was enough to send her over the edge. The years of coy glances and subtle touches had finally amounted to a real romantic encounter. The man of her dreams who was out of her reach for years was finally obtainable. The encounter was mutually mind-blowing.

The next morning Etienne left Lisa’s apartment with little to say. He gathered his things explaining that he needed to get to the studio and warm up for his afternoon class. Lisa was slightly disappointed that the loving vibe from the night prior had shifted back to a more platonic, almost friendly exchange. As she walked him to the door she was hopefully that he was just nervous and that the relationship would continue to progress. In her mind, she wondered if her raciest leotard was clean, for she would wear it to class that evening in order to keep Etienne’s fire burning. To Lisa, this was the beginning of something beautiful: the union of two people who shared a passion for dance and a passion for one another.

Out in his car, Etienne was experiencing a range of different emotions. He liked Lisa, respected her talent and found her physically irresistible but he was concerned that mixing business with pleasure could result in trouble. He also worried about his image. He built his school on the foundation of family and now his own family dissolved. People would not understand his involvement with Lisa so soon after his divorce. To protect his integrity, he would need to keep his involvement with her a secret. After all, image was everything to Etienne. From the car, he sent her a text, “I had a great time last night but we have to keep what happened between us, ok?”

Lisa immerged from the shower to find her phone blinking with the message. When she saw it was from Etienne her heart fluttered. She read the text and although deflated that she would have to keep her excitement quiet, she understood the sensitivity of the situation. Her strong feelings for Etienne would keep her tied to their secret affair for months to come. In this moment, foreshadowing had not yet shown Lisa that her secret involvement with Etienne would become dark and twisted. It was too soon to tell who Etienne really was behind closed doors.

The Tiny Dancer Affairs…Introduction

Awhile back, I decided that I needed a hobby. I always enjoyed dance as a girl so it seemed like the obvious choice of extra curricular activities. It was at dance school that I met Lisa, clearly the school’s best-trained dancer. She had a natural aptitude for learning the movements coupled with the unmistakable grace of a professional dancer. The class instructor consistently praised Lisa, it was clear that her talent made her a focal point at the studio. All the students noticed her skills and gravitated toward Lisa for extra help during and after class.

I was the only other student about the same age as Lisa so she enjoyed helping me and spending time chatting after class. The whole point of the hobby was for me to meet new people, so I was thankful to have a budding friendship on my hands. About two month after we met, I invited Lisa on a long weekend with myself and some other girlfriends. She was excited to be included and I was thrilled to have a new friend.

On the trip, we began to know each other better. I told the tales of Pizza Bagel and Rocker Boy and explained why I started taking dance class. She shared similar stories regarding ghosts of boyfriend’s past and her take on our dance class. I noticed that when she spoke she talked a lot about our dance instructor, Etienne, the owner of our school. Not only did she ask me what I thought about him but she also displayed knowledge of intimate details of his life. I had not realized that they were friendly outside of class so when Lisa admitted that she was dating Etienne I was surprised. Over the last two months, I never noticed anything between them nor heard her mention a boyfriend.

As my relationship with Lisa progressed so did my knowledge of her relationship with Etienne. Etienne was about ten years Lisa’s senior and he was recently divorced. His former wife was also a dancer and had opened the studio with him years ago. When Lisa started at the school, she took classes from both Etienne and his wife. She admired Etienne as an artist and as a man. She always felt connected to Etienne, so when the dissolution of his marriage was made public, Lisa felt the need to pursue Etienne romantically. One night after class, a group of student asked Etienne out for a glass of wine. He accepted and spent the night flirting with his prized pupil. Lisa said that the glances and subtle touches of the evening were foreshadowing of the events to come.  Stay tuned…

What kind of couple are we?

Have you seen this new show called Perfect Couples? I believe it is part of NBC’s Thursday night line up along with the Office and 30 Rock. The show is about different couple stereotypes: the self help couple, the make up to break up couple and the couple that suspects they might have settled for one another only to rediscover how perfect they are for each other. The show goes to extreme examples for the purpose of entertainment and it got me thinking…what kind of couple are we?

If you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you know the story of Mr. Right and me. It was a romantic beginning resulting in, what I felt was, a perfect marriage. We frolicked about in the honeymoon stage until one day we woke up and realized…oh shit: this is for real. The same theme prevails in the show and the one couple has the exact same argument that Mr. Right and I have all the time. It goes a little something like this:

MB: “Honey, can you help me move the couch in the office?”

waits in silence

MB: “Honey? HoNEEEE?

Mr. Right: with distain “What do you want?”

MB: with newfound bitchiness “Can you tear yourself away from whatever critically important thing you are doing and come help me move this couch?”

Mr. Right enters room appearing grossly inconvenienced and beholds an angry MB

Mr. Right: “What’s wrong?”

MB: “Nothing.”

Mr. Right: “No, I can tell something is upsetting you.”

MB: “Nothing.” Shoots Mr. Right looks of death

Mr. Right: whilst moving couch “Honey, tell me what’s wrong.”

MB: “I didn’t appreciate the attitude when I asked for your help.”

Mr. Right: “What attitude?”

MB: impersonating Mr. Right “I asked for your help and you said ‘WHAAAAT!?”

*explosive accusatory verbal warfare ensues

Perhaps this is a lame example, but what I am trying to demonstrate and what the show is also attempting to prove is that our perception of our partner’s actions can drive us to react in a combative or exaggerated nature. In this example, I wanted help. I was probably tired from a long day at work and irritated by the idea of moving furniture. Maybe I could hear the TV in the background and became further agitated by the fact that Mr. Right was relaxing while I was stuck with housework. Mr. Right on the other hand, had also come home from a full day of work. He cracked open a beer, put his feet up and tuned into his DVR, only to be interrupted by the shrill of his wife’s voice. Why did she want to move furniture this very minute? His show was just getting started and housework was low on his list of priorities. Mr. Right and I are both entering the situation with frustration and preconceived annoyance. With duel bad attitudes, an argument is unavoidable.

Mr. Right and I are admittedly extra sensitive people; our feelings get hurt easily. In addition to that common trait, we also are both very independent fostered by years of living and supporting ourselves as single people. This combination of heightened sensitivity and fierce independence makes the teamwork efforts of a perfect couple hard to master. Constructive criticism (i.e.: my impersonation of him offending me) makes us defensive of one another and the concept of work together for a greater good is lost. Our defensive walls go up and the communication breaks down. It happens so often I gave it a name, maybe it even describes what kind of couple we are…emotionally territorial.

Am I saying Mr. Right is Mr. Wrong? Are we headed for inevitable doom and disaster? No, no, no, not at all, we are just novice communicators who have not fully abandoned our independent lifestyle behaviors. We are breaking out of our old habits and learning what sinks and what swims in terms of our marriage. We embody certain stereotypical “couple” labels and they are not all positive. However, I have faith that we can be the emotionally territorial couple and still weather the storm. The real key to survival is being honest about your joint shortcomings and acknowledging the part you play in the failure of communication. Mr. Right and I have agreed to sit down on a weekly basis and talk more about why we act and react the way we do. We can already see the progress because our preconceived notions of one another’s attitudes are changing. We can look in the mirror and wave confidently to the imperfect couple that is our reflection because we know those two people are committed to each other happiness and ultimately to becoming a better team.

More on this soon…hope you are well ~ MB

An Affair to Forget

So back to my friend Hank: When we last left off Hank’s Mom, Julie, found out that his father, Frank, was having an affair. It appeared that Julie had given up attempting to control Hank and his other siblings thereby creating a less the welcoming home for her husband. Though she did sense some stress in her marriage she did not know that Frank was having a yearlong affair with his coworker, Jan.

Frank and Jan worked together at a general contracting business. It was Jan’s job to book home improvements and make appointments for Frank’s clients. Compared to his wife, Jan was a rather simple looking woman. Jan had a hard appearance that suggested life had not been kind to her. Her tan skinned bordered on leathered and her mousy hair was in need of serious conditioning. She was not at all like the fair-skinned Julie whose cherub face was home to her sparkling blue eyes. Their personalities were almost polar opposites. Though they were both mothers, Julie was sweet and compassionate where Jan was more reserved and came off stoic. To an outsider, Julie was clearly the more attractive of the two and seemed to be a better overall companion. It did not make sense that Frank would start a secret life with Jan without trying to work through his problems with Julie. Nevertheless, start a secret life he did.

Years ago, when Jan and Frank started a working relationship, Jan was married to a firefighter. They were married at a young age and as they grew older, the relationship started to deteriorate. Her husband was the controlling type and Jan was not one to be controlled. Through her divorce, she leaned on Frank for advice and he helped her achieve independence. Frank met Jan’s young children and began to enjoy spending time with them. Slowly, Frank found himself visiting Jan’s home after work instead of going home to his own. Jan’s quiet tone and subdue lifestyle only highlighted the craziness that awaited Frank when he came home to Julie at night. He started to resent his marriage and own children and yearned more for Jan’s less complicated existence.

Julie never had the benefit of knowing any of this. Frank never explained that the kids and their friends were stressing him out. Julie was not given the chance to understand Frank’s problems and try to fix things for her husband. Frank never had a conversation with Julie to express hat he needed their environment to be more relaxed. Frank never even approached his own children about the parties; instead, he just retreated to Jan’s house for his solace. He found a way to get what he needed and did not see the point in fixing what he already had. It seemed easier for Frank to move onto “plan b”, a double life with Jan and her family. Frank gave up on his marriage to Julie assuming that thing had been a certain way for so long and therefore they would be impossible to change. He didn’t give the woman that he married the slightest benefit of a doubt.

Instead, Frank split his time between the life that he wanted and the life that he had let spiral out of control. He enjoyed his time with Jan, the woman that he now loved and resented his time with Julie, the woman he reasoned could not understand him. Frank assumed that Julie would perpetually allow her children to run wild, putting their need for fun above the needs of her husband. He ASSUMED that his marriage was not fixable and that Julie and his children would not change. So, when the evening came that Julie found out about Jan, Frank left Julie. There was limited conversation or explanation just a packed duffel bag and a promise to divide the assets in a fair manner. Julie was blindsided and powerless over the sudden failure of her thirty-year marriage.

Meet Hank

Way way back in the day, high school to be specific, I had a best friend, Hank. Hank was good looking and out going. He was the youngest of four siblings, which meant that he always had access to an instant party. His mom was lackadaisical and gave up on trying to enforce rules, even big ones like underage drinking. Hank’s dad was never around and clearly detested party central aka his own home.

In my mind, Hank had the ideal situation. He had a big fun family and constant socializing. I yearned to be part of his inner circle and live in the party that was his life. My friends were blown away by the sheer size and qualities of Hank’s parties. There was a never-ending supply of booze and plenty of cute attendees. It was just like those over the top parties you see in teen movies…the fun never stopped.

Even though I worshiped Hank, common sense urged me to hang up my party hat and go onto college. Over my holiday break, I found my self-back at his place enjoying the old scenery. Things had not changed much except for the crowd. Those that came back from college were interspersed with a new group of high school people. With a wink, Hank introduced me to his new closest female friend, Lindsay. She had barely turned fifteen.
Hank was an eighteen-year-old local celebrity and with that status, things like college and a “real job” did not rate.

Eventually the revolving door of young party people wore on Hank’s dad. He was spending less and less time at the house. So much so that Hank’s mom grew concerned. When he failed to come home one New Year’s Eve, she called his business partner. After significant grilling, the partner admitted that Hank’s dad was having an affair. He was spending the holiday with the other woman. Hank’s mom confronted her husband who copped to the affair and announced that he wanted a divorce. He sited their home life as part of the problem; there was no peace and quiet.

That marked what I would say was the downturn of Hank’s life. The thing about his life that he enjoyed the most crippled his parent’s marriage. He felt that on some level, he was to blame and in ways, I agree with him. Get ready to hear the tales of Hank’s romantic history and gain understanding of how the past spins the future.

Side bar, I Google imaged “underage drinking” for today’s picture and I found so many LOL/WTFs: