So, I have only just begun to share my experiences at the loca house while I was living with Diana and Jaime those first months after I arrived in Madrid. I say loca house because that was what my friends and I eventually came to call it after I began to endlessly complain about the weird things that went on there.
However, as I start to reveal some of this craziness with you, I have to admit to a few pangs of guilt. Why?
Well, because that little crazy family let me into their home with open arms. Later, of course, those open arms were placed in a strangle hold around my neck, but we did spend some fun times together. So, I’ll try to concentrate on the positive stories for the moment and I’ll save the massive craziness for later, okay?
At the beginning of our co-habitation deal, Diana did everything she could to make me feel welcome. She and I were twenty years apart, but we were both single, outgoing and had a quest to enjoy life. She introduced me to many of her friends that were from all over the world. They frequently came in and out of the house and we ended up spending a good amount of time just chatting amongst ourselves.
To be completely honest, hanging out with so many different nationalities made me feel like one cool international gal, discussing world politics with a glass of wine in hand, etc. Silly, I know, but it was very different from Atlanta, Georgia where someone from Arizona seems exotic.
Anyway, Diana was always nice enough to invite me to the regular rotating dinner parties that took place at her friends’ homes. These parties were always a blast; great food, fun company, accompanied by wine, wine, and more wine. We would normally get home around 5 am after having a very lively dinner and, most nights, even livelier dancing. (This will be important later in today’s story.)
Over the course of living together, I came to notice that Diana had her little quirks (as all of us do) and one of them never ceased to crack me up. Every single time we were getting ready going out, she would pass by my room and shout in a very thick Argentinean accent, “We leave soon. Prepare yourself!”
To me, this always sounded like a serious battle cry, “They are ready to drop the bomb any minute now! Prepare yourself!” or later on as our co-habitation situation became more and more stressful, I often heard her voice in my dreams, “I’m coming to kill you soon. Prepare yourself!”
One particular week, Diana had asked me to go to a “dancing party” on Friday. I assumed she meant a party where you dance, as had been the case with all of the dinner parties we had attended.
But, the night of the “dancing party”, she added something oddly different to her battle cry, “We leave soon. Prepare yourself! … and wear sexy panty.”
What? “Wear sexy panty” had never been part of the plan before. What the hell did she mean, “wear sexy panty”?
So here’s where I make my confession. Instead of asking, “Lady, what the heck do you mean, ‘wear sexy panty’?”, I changed out of my dress and put on a pair of pants, silently praying that this was the action she was referring to. Why didn’t I just ask? Because I’m passive and I simply didn’t want to ask why she had told me to wear “sexy panty”. Also, I was just scared of the potential answer if I had asked and found out that no, she wasn’t actually referring to pants.
Needless to say, I wish I had asked what she meant before we arrived at the party.
Prepare yourself for this sentence:
I unknowingly went to a party that was really a class for 50 year-old Spanish women that wanted to learn how to be exotic dancers.
Yes. You read that right.
I walked into the apartment and was met with some rather older-ish women. Now, at that time, I was 30-ish, so obviously not a spring chick either. But it wasn’t what I was expecting considering the other parties we had been to. There were no men and um, there was a metal pole in the middle of the room, so there was that.
These things obviously set off my internal alarm system, but with wine, I managed to temporarily ignore it while we had a light dinner and mingled. Then the class began.
We learned all the techniques you would need to put together a little exotic dance routine. Its all about slow movements, if you must know. And after about 20 minutes of instruction, it was time to individually shake our moneymakers, if you will.
I really can’t clearly explain to you what happened when it was my turn. It is all still a bit blurry. I do, however, remember going into a room with the two “experts” as they checked out my panty choice and approved of it, also adding a black feather boa and a top hat.
Totally cliché, I know.
And then, I bravely sauntered out in the room and stripped off my clothes. There was a chair involved, some straddling, and yes, I took it (almost) all off in front of a room of unknown older Spanish women who, by the way, could not have been more supportive of my new found talents.
Then I respectfully returned (fully-dressed) to the couch, chugged wine, and desperately waited as each and everyone of the other women fulfilled their dreams as exotic dancers for the night.
So, the moral of the story?
Sometimes, its just impossible to “prepare yourself” for life in Madrid.