Three new things I tried this year

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Only three? I know. Perhaps convenient for me, though, the movie Tully, which I saw on Mother's Day and wept at, posits that when you have little kids, a certain amount of repetition, monotony, routine, is actually a gift to your kids, even if it makes a parent feel restless or bored or uninspired. Did I actually try more new things before I had kids? I really don't remember -- either because my life wasn't actually that much more exciting than it is now, or because the idea of trying new stuff didn't seem like such a big.

Here they are:

  1. Vogueing (March.) My friend Erica is a dancer and choreographer, and she shares her enthusiasm for dance me, along with our pal Courtney, usually in the form of sharing SYTYCD videos, attending Dance Dance Party Party or the critiquing Super Bowl Half Time performances. Earlier this year, Erica suggested that the three of us trying a vogueing class, and we said sure, why not. I like to try to pretend to dance, and I figured I at least understood the essence of the dance style from my time taking in Drag Race and Paris is Burning. The teacher who had previously taught Erica's class wasn't there that night, though--instead, we were instructed by Moosey Avant Garde, a ballroom veteran. It became pretty clear that this was a class that favored the experienced and the fabulous. Mr. Avant Garde was not terribly impressed by what I thought was a fierce walk, by my positive attitude, or that I had simply shown up. Also, while I really enjoy people who yell out things like "WERK!" or "Yaaaas, queen!" I realized I'm not one of those people, at least not sober, in a room full of strangers, unlike a handful of young people in the room who were all friends. I felt pretty out of my depth, and Moosey was not about to throw me a life preserver. I did come away with just enough vogue hands to impress my five year old son and some good advice about the object work involved in voguing (you have to know where the invisible cameras are.) I know there is a good lesson in being reminded to stay in your lane, that just because you enjoy somebody's cultural expression doesn't mean you should think you can effortlessly try it on. I tried to be a good sport but it's not fun to stink at something when everyone else seems better than you are (Courtney, my fellow amateur dancer, betrayed me by receiving praise for her natural ability from Moosey). I could tell Erica felt bad--her usual instructor was more patient and encouraging, she told me--but what I told her was the truth: that she shouldn't feel bad, because I tried something new, and I got a new story from it. 

  2. SoulCycle (September): I had lunch with my friend Catherine to brainstorm a new project, and she suggested we have a follow up meeting at SoulCycle, as she said she found her sessions there good for shaking out ideas. I'd never done it before, and am really not that much of a biker, but Catherine was giving me free advice so I was going to do what she proposed (she also acknowledged that it could be ridiculous, and that made me want to see how ridiculous.) In short, it was fairly ridiculous, but a good and different workout. The music was maddeningly loud (they provide free earplugs which I didn't grab) and our instructor Gunner (a lady whose guilty pleasure is black iced coffee, as noted on their website) would yell over the music. A third of the time it was words I heard but did not understand because it was SoulCycle-ese and the other third I didn't hear because her yelling got lost in the music. Also, the room was super stuffy, I suppose to encourage the sweatlodge type atmosphere, but that's not my thing. There was an Orthodox woman in the class who looked to be eight or nine months pregnant in there and I was legitimately worried for her. However! I did think it was a good workout. Something that is a gimmick about SoulCycle that I actually like is that the room is kept very dark. This kept me from being very cognizant of what everyone around me was doing, so I wasn't very self conscious. I even took my shirt off which I wouldn't have done with the lights on. At the end I felt wiped, a little euphoric, but then the ridiculousness hit me again in the locker room. It feels like a performance space for who does SoulCycle the best. You could tell women had special bedazzled post-SoulCycle shower shoes. The amount of SoulCycle gear paying customers wear was confusing to me. It'd be like going go the Gap and seeing all the customers walking around wearing Gap sweatshirts. I don't know if I'd do it again, but I'm glad I tried it. 

  3. September: Nude Drawing Party. I was invited to join a private party at the Artful Bachelorette -- but my friend Rachel is writing an article about it so I won't go into details and let her tell the story. (That photo above is not of our group.) I'll just say it was honestly good clean fun, would recommend -- especially the part where we got to do a bacheloretty party thing without actually going to a bachelorette party.