Adventures from Back of Beyond

Monday, April 20, 2009

Belly Dancer

A good size group of us was having dinner at a Greek restaurant in Denver. I was in my early 20s, and visiting a friend from my home at the time in Espanola, New Mexico. I had never been to this particular establishment, and did not know what to expect.

I would soon find out.

At one point during our meal, a single belly dancer came out to perform. She was physically striking.

She wasn't Middle Eastern at all. This belly dancer was in fact very Scandinavian-looking -- tall, with long straight beautiful blond hair. Her hair was at least down to the small of her back. It swished gracefully back and forth as she moved.

She wore the typical belly dancer outfit that exposed a lot of flesh. It fit her, shall we say, well. Atop her hips was a thick leather belt. Into this belt restaurant patrons would insert folded money -- bills, tips -- as she worked her way around the room.

I watched this, transfixed, from our table. I'd never seen anything like this before. The tables in the single dining room were shaped like a large U, giving the dancer space to perform in the middle where all could see.

The dancer began performing before each table. She would stop briefly, pick out one male at each table, and would dance in front of him awhile. He would then reach into his wallet, pull out a bill and fold it, then place it in her belt.

By the time she neared our table there were many bills stuffed into her belt, and I began to feel a sense of dread.

I did not want her to choose me. This would lead to some uncomfortable questions -- like how much would be the proper amount to tip? Would $1 make me a cheapskate? Did I even have a dollar bill, or would I have to ask for change?

At the time I was a radio newsman at a small market station, and making barely enough money to support myself. This whole situation was a concern, so I decided to try and avoid any possibility of her choosing me when she got to our table.

So I turned my back to her as she danced. This proved to be mistake.

I knew she was somewhere behind me, and I figured she'd just dance on by. But that was apparently more than our belly dancer friend could handle.

I did not see, could not see, what happened next. But I felt it. Everything went sort of shadowy, not dark, and I felt the exquisite sensation of long silky hair being draped over my head. And the sweet fragrance! Like flowers blooming, maybe jasmine.

She stopped dancing and leaned over me. Her long hair fell over my head, completely engulfing me as I sat. Stunned. The woman sitting across from me gasped. Audibly. Everything seemed to go quiet and still.

I don't know if the dancer faced me or had her back toward me. I couldn't see a thing beneath and within all that delicate and beautiful hair. She stopped dancing, momentarily at least. And I just knew, although I could not see, everyone else in the restaurant must've been watching this very unusual circumstance.

After what seemed like a long time, she continued her belly dance, but she didn't move very far. I was who she picked at our table. At this point what could I do?

I turned around and faced her. She was more beautiful close up than from a distance. My face must've been beet red, and everyone must've been looking to see what would happen next.

She danced a bit, then I got my wallet out, pulled out a bill and folded it. I don't remember how much, by this time I was somewhat in a state of shock.

But I do remember trying to insert the bill into the belt. She wouldn't let me. She moved her hips in an exaggerated fashion from side to side and I tried in vain to track her back and forth with my outstretched hand. That must've looked comical. She was toying with me.

At some point she stopped long enough for me to awkwardly put in the money. I felt like such a clod, yet also flattered because she chose me. Then she continued on, putting me out of my misery. Yes it was embarrassing, but yes it was a also one of the most uniquely pleasurable experiences I've ever had in my life.

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