Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bellydancing Queen

Bellydancing +Greek food= 1 Happy Blonde Duck!

Last Friday, Ben took me to a restaurant he'd gone to with his co-workers called It's Greek to Me. Not a connoisseur of Greek food, I was expecting essentially a hamburger with cucumber laced mayonnaise in a fat tortilla. What I got however was the experience of a lifetime.

"Come on," the Invisible Friends cry impatiently. "Quit all this foreshadowing dramatic crap and get on with the tale!"

If you say so.

Stepping into the restaurant, a menu with tiny stick on plastic letters and ancient posters advertising gyros from the 1980s lined the wallpapered covered walls. Small tables were scattered throughout the room and covered with plastic tablecloths and folded up paper towels for napkins. The restaurant was straight out of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." I liked the place already.

A tall thin man with a heavy accent instructed us to sit down as his wife bustled around the kitchen, cooking. We were handed a menu featuring a photo of him and his wife and given drinks.

When I opened the menu and saw spinach pies for appetizers, I almost died in happiness. I hadn't had a spinach pie since my mother and I frequented Olga's at the mall in the fourth grade. After 13 years of longing for the tasty combination of spinach, cheese and flaky pastry, I was long overdue for a spinach pie. So of course, I ordered one and a gyro.

The spinach pie was flaky, tasty and perfect. It was over too soon, and even tearing through the gyro like a deranged hyena left me longing for more. As I contemplated the repercussions of ordering another spinach pie, a tall blond woman dressed in a long blue velvet cloak and carrying a golden sword walked through the door.

"Oh my God," Ben groused under his breath. "It's one of those Harry Potter freaks!"

"No," I argued, my eyes shining in excitement. "It's a bellydancer!"

The woman sat down at a table across the restaurant and thumbed through a book of CDs. Pushing play, she shed her cloak and began to wriggle and writhe across the room in a beaded bustier and long skirt. Even in her early 50s, she had the grace and agility that some of us never achieve.

I watched her in rapt attention as Ben stared at her openly. "You're not going to go up there and dance with her, are you?" he asked in terror. I could see him imagining my overexcited hips knocking plates off tables and forever banning us from the delicious restaurant.

I put his worries at ease by smiling and saying, "If she asks me to, sure!" His eyes bugged out in fear. The woman began to ask women around the restaurant to dance, starting with an older woman and then pulling a young pregnant woman and me up to the open floor. I was so excited to dance I knocked my umbrella and purse, sending them flying across the floor and Ben jumping to retrieve them. It was worth it. I got to dance.

The woman showed me how to slither and wiggle across the floor seductively, her hips moving like liquid waves. Ignoring everyone around us, I concentrated on copying her moves perfectly. When the song was over and all the diners (all 7 of them) applauded, she gave me and the pregnant woman a brochure and recommended we take a beginning class.

Floating home, I immediately turned the TV to the exercise channel and began to perfect my bellydancing moves, much to Ben's amusement.

"So you really like bellydancing?"

"I love it!" I said, my eyes shining as I plastered the brochure to his face. "Look! I could take lessons and quit my job and become a professional bellydancer!"

Ben looked over the brochure and grinned at me. "Do you want to take lessons for your birthday?"

I wiggled in pure excitement and joy. Not only do I have a new food obsession, but I'm going to be a professional bellydancer (after zero lessons too)! Watch for me to wiggle your way! I'll be the goofy looking blond in the pink sparkles.