J.C. (not Jesus, but Juan Carlos) is scheduled to pick me up at the hotel at 5:45 p.m. He leaves me a message, confirming that we're on for the evening, but when I call him back, he tells me that there are some complications.
When he shows up at 6 o'something, it's without his car. He needs to stop at the university (where he's getting a Masters degree while teaching economics) to pick up materials for the semester."It won't take too long," he assures me.
We subway to the campus, and it takes a lot longer than either of us expected. By 7:15 or so we've retrieved his car and are heading towards Salon Hidalgo.
We don't arrive for hours, not because the place is far away or difficult to reach, but because Mexico has won a major soccer game against the US and all roads to our destination are blocked by jubilant crowds. Once we're in the neighborhood, we can't find parking, so we end up at a lot near Bellas Artes and ride the metro to Hidalgo. It's after 9pm and Jesus and his friend, with whom I was hoping to dance and to whom I would have liked to have said goodbye, are already gone.
I tell J.C. that he should dance with other women, but he says that he has plenty of nights to do that. The other women are sorely disappointed; this guy, in his 30's, is tall, dark, and gorgeous. He has broad shoulders, a narrow waist, perfect posture, and cheekbones as high as the law allows. He's the best dancer on the floor, and he dances every number with me.
On the way back from the restroom, I'm asked to dance by the "bloodhound." "No, gracias." The guy with no discernible girlfriend approaches. "No, gracias."
Women watch -- I can feel them aiming curses, arrows, daggers, and machetes my way-- as I try to follow J.C.'s smooth, stylish, graceful moves. He's an excellent lead, and I'm feeling pretty accomplished, myself. As I execute (a good word for what I did) a turn, I smack J.C. in the head. Despite my clumsiness and despite his dizziness, he remains gracious and sweet.
By 10:30, the bands have stopped playing, and the waiters have started clearing the tables. The place is clearing out.
J.C. drives me back to my hotel, and we say our farewells with a hug and a peck on the cheek. "See you next year."