NEW CASTLE —
This past week I was enshrouded by, encompassed in, and engulfed by things that were outside my comfort zone.
I was thrust from my element, despite my spirit kicking and screaming in protest. I did not object outwardly, but my mind was racing and my heart was fluttering as I encountered each and every one of these foreign entities.
This task is typically a duty that falls into my wife's department, but this week she had another engagement. Thus, I was delegated to take my daughter to her dance class. I was shouldered with the responsibility of wading through the river of tutus, leotards, pink ballet slippers, and cute little girls.
As we drove closer to the dance studio, I could feel the tension building in my chest. My stomach began to wind itself up in preparation for this most stressful event. I had visions of standing in the hallway clad in my steel-toe work boots, dirty ripped up jeans, and a black stocking cap. I'm sure I would be perceived as a thug by the mothers of these little girls. I can see them clutching their purses and pulling their children near as this dastardly beast passes by them.
Once we arrived, I parked the car, took a deep breath of the frigid winter air, and walked toward the door. With determination in my mind and dedication in my heart, I crossed the threshold onto their turf. I was on the other side of the tracks now and there was no turning back.
I knew if I had survived several years of Girl Scouts and countless all-girl birthday parties, I could conquer this monstrous juxtaposition of personalities and gender roles.
Inside, the walls were lined with whimsical dance photos, and everything oozed femininity. The place even smelled of the fairer gender. There was not one iota of masculinity in the place. The paint, the carpet, the furniture, and even the Christmas trees screamed “girly.”
I kept close to the wall, so as to not disturb the natives and let them remain in their natural surroundings as much as possible. I inched my way down the hallway toward the room that my daughter was supposed to be in. All the things I learned from the Discovery Channel about animals kept running through my head. Don’t make eye contact, they can smell your fear, and punch them in the nose. I'm pretty sure the last one only works on sharks, but who knows ... if it comes to that, I'll be prepared.
I felt like a preacher in a strip club or maybe an Amish family at Disney World. I was indeed a stranger in a strange land.
After I dropped my daughter off, I made a hasty exit and ran a couple quick errands. I had to catch my breath and regain my composure. Upon my return, I was greeted by several mothers who were picking up their children, too. Most of them offered a quick smile, and I was surprised to find several other dads lingering in the waiting area to pick up their girls. We didn't exchange any words, but communicated in the customary “guy code” nod of acknowledgment. I could sense that they were just as petrified as I was to be in such peculiar place.
The door to my daughter’s room burst open and an avalanche of little girls poured out. She quickly ran to me and we made haste for the doorway.
Once outside, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was over and I had survived my dreaded chore. I was unscathed and better for the whole experience, but please don’t ask me to do it again.