Husbands versus Belly DanceAdd to favorites
The obvious assumption that every man or partner would automatically love the very fact that his wife is a belly dancer is a given…to a point. In the beginning the glitz and glam of it all can be like a Hollywood Red Carpet affair. But when the bright lights fade away and the sound of drums disappear in the distance, reality sets in, and life as usual resumes. The husband versus belly dance seems to bear its fruit sometime after the 20th performance.
The preparation for every show and performance, solo or troupe is a marathon feat with Olympic gold aspirations. So in a way every time we dance in our minds, it can be like a diva on-demand performance. The ceremony in the preparation of each dancer can be called an archaic ritual from ancient times. We all have our routines down to the amount of timing it takes to prep and primp. This is the ultimate test for any husband. He either learns to stay out of the way or he gets run over multiple times, bare feet and all. Does it even occur to any of us what this ritual must look like from the outside or in this case a husband’s point of view?
When Daniel first realized that I had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality before my shows, I think he was in denial about it. He could time my personality change to the minute and he would ask me, “Are you my wife or are you Leyla?” I guess “Leyla” from what I’m told has this particular facial expression that answers back in a very pointed way. In my defense sometimes there is no need to answer back especially when a particular question is made in a “husband,” jest. But my point is, do we ever sit back, and take a look at this unusual aspect of belly dancing? I wonder what psychiatrists would say.
How many costumes are too many? I personally would do without food and camp out just so I could have the costume of my dreams. Thank goodness I’ve never had to do these things but the emotions of wanting and desiring that shiny, sparkly and glittery costume sometimes consumed me. Is there magic sewn into costumes that alters the mind and perception? I have gone to bed desiring a costume knowing it should be mine. I woke up knowing it should be mine. This is also a belly dance ritual of wanting something beyond the normal persons desires. Belly dancers take it to a whole new level!
Does the price tag ever enter our minds…well I personally think yes and no. To be honest the price of a costume never stopped me from buying it, if I really wanted it. This is another aspect of the husband versus belly dance that I don’t think men think about in the beginning. I know there are very conscientious women out there but I also know that when a costume says, “I’m yours,” it’s hard to pass it up. Its fun to hear dancers try to figure out how to buy a costume and deal with telling their husbands afterwards. It’s not like a dress you buy that your husband doesn’t know about and you stick it in the back of the closet.
You can’t just say, “Oh, this old thing, I’ve had this for a long time,” and say it with a straight face. For me the Pinocchio nose starts to happen if I fib, so I don’t even bother.
I did have a dance friend who actually was able to do this very deed. She was able to tell the belly dance costume fib with a straight face to her husband. We danced at the same nightclub together years ago and on one particular night after we did our sets; we sat down and relaxed with her husband and my ex-boyfriend. Her husband asked her about her costume because he said he had never seen it before. Hah…neither had I because it was the first time she had worn it! She looked at him and said, “I have so many costumes honey, you don’t remember them all.” He agreed and that was the end of that. I was envious from that moment on and dreamt of various ways I could slip in a costume here and there into my closet. I must have had that dreamy look on my face because my ex-boyfriend gave me that, “Don’t think about it,” look. Besides he knew every costume I had because he bought them all. Obviously buying costumes can be another area of conflict where the adage of the husband versus belly dance kindles a flame already set into motion.
Drama, drama, drama! Did I say drama? Okay, I’m being facetious here but obviously this is where men draw the line. This is definitely the men are from Mars, women are from Venus difference. Men can actually handle hearing the issue once, maybe twice but three times is pushing it. We on the other hand, take the issue, turn it upside down, inside out and pull it apart to see what’s inside. Men let it be and move on. I think I like the Mars version better and Daniel has helped me understand this methodology.
But I have to add in something, a problem that most women who are in this business, especially if they own a studio, produce a show or perform regularly at nightclubs or restaurants have had to endure. It’s a bullseye problem called “Darts.” In this business we deal with the precision and accuracy of skilled markswomen. Invisible daggers thrown can occasionally hit a husband in the back and they can get a small taste of what we have to put up with. Most husbands eventually find they have to develop a ducking maneuver. It’s that or be caught off guard. Daniel experienced this last year with the chat room incident but like most men, he was over and done with it in a day. Moving on is good medicine and it really does the soul good to let go sooner rather then later.
A good way to see how belly dance affects relationships, is to see students progress in their dancing months after they take classes from you. Once the performing bug hits, things change, primarily the order of former priorities. I have seen divorces happen, not so much because of the dancing but because of self evaluation and acceptance. Women blossom in dance and this can be hard to see if a husband or loved one is not part of the blossoming process. Belly Dance can become threatening and looked at as a rival. Most women can handle the two but sometimes the two butt heads and choices have to be made. I have watched my students make difficult decisions plus I have had to make a few of my own.
This dance seems to be an individual quest that can make us self absorbed by default. Creating choreography from an isolated vantage point can be our Achilles heel. It can spread into relationships because dancers gain confidence and make decisions that they would never have made prior to belly dancing. It comes down to the fact that relationships dancers have, need to grow along with their new found confidence and choices. The important thing to remember is to make sure that our loved ones don’t feel like they are competing with our dancing. Daniel adds so much to my dance. He is apart of my moves and inspiration. He makes me want to dance!
I think Mars and Venus can live happily ever after even if Venus shakes her hips.