THE MATCHMAKER REVISITED:
SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE IN 2009
Story Written by Rick Archer
Day rapidly approaching, I am pleased to report that Slow
Dance and Romance is indeed alive and well here at SSQQ.
In 2008, we had 15 Weddings that were either directly
attributed to SSQQ or that SSQQ played a significant role in
creating. This amazing total was actually just par for the
course. Over the past 10 years, I have listed
Weddings that SSQQ has been involved inÖ and thatís
just counting the ones I know about. There are plenty more,
2009 has already brought us our first SSQQ Wedding. Former
SSQQ Dance Instructor Leo Skiba married his long-time
sweetheart Rebecca Turini in early January 2009. Leo met
Rebecca in 2005 when she took his Beginning Two Step class
here at the studio. Leo promises me plenty of details and a
Furthermore, as I write,
there are at least five more SSQQ weddings right around the
corner: Patty Pennington and Guy Hoover, Olga Bochareva and
Luis Castillo, Gerry Francis and Amy Adams, Keith Patterson
and Penny Gunderson, plus Gus Donnell and Fran Zandstra.
We are approaching the three
year anniversary of my Matchmaker Story about the history of
the studioís legendary ability to create positive
For those of you who are new to the studio, in 2006
the Houston Chronicle interviewed me for an article they ran
on Valentineís Day. I had a great interview with the
reporter that lasted well over an hour, but I had mixed
feelings when I saw the story in the paper. On the one
hand, it was a great compliment to see SSQQ given so much
credit for creating Romances. But at the same time I was
frustrated because so many stories I had shared with the
reporter were omitted for lack of space.
So I decided to write my own story for the SSQQ Newsletter.
While I was researching my Newsletter archives, I realized
that I had never completely written the entire story about
the studioís amazing role in creating Romance. Every time
I finished one story, another story popped into my mind. I
kept typing away. One chapter followed another. The next
thing I knew, I had ended up writing a small book on the
subject. I published the
article known as ďThe MatchmakerĒ here
on the SSQQ Web Site in March 2006.
The SSQQ Marriage Factory has been
remarkably productive over the years, but you might be surprised I
never even realized just how effective the studio was at producing
Weddings until the Internet came along. There were countless SSQQ
marriages during the first twenty years of our program, but I never
thought to write them down. That changed when the Internet came
along. 1999 marked the first full year for the SSQQ web site.
Every time there was a wedding or an engagement, I now had an easy
way to post the information for everyone to read about. From that
point on, when someone like Leo and Rebecca emailed me to report
their wedding, it took about 15 seconds to add the item to the
Each month during 1999, I would simply add more wedding reports as
they came in (email helped a lot too; it became
easy for students
to drop a quick post to me).
One evening late in 1999, I decided to review all the different
months. As I was going over the year, it dawned on me there sure
were a lot of Wedding and Engagement notices. So I started to
This excerpt is from
THE MATCHMAKER, CHAPTER ONE: DISCOVERY
Interviewer): "Rick, when did you first discover
how effective your dance classes were at creating
have made this discovery at two different times, but
the most dramatic moment came around Christmas
1999. To start our story, let me continue to talk
about the 1999 Holidays. This is when I totaled up
the web site numbers for the very first time.
when I published one or two wedding announcements a
month, that was nice, but I was definitely not
seeing the big picture. Then one night I went
through the yearís stories on my web site month by
month. When I added up the web site numbers for
1999, I came up with 24 marriages and engagements.
I just stared at this number in shock.
24 Weddings and Engagements! Holy smokes! Wow!
the moment when the sheer enormity of what was
happening here at SSQQ dawned on me. 24 different
couples in the space of a year had made the biggest
commitment of their lives and SSQQ had played a
major role. This felt like such a wonderful
not believe I had never really noticed this before.
For twenty years, I had always known the studio had
a great track record at creating marriages, but that
had been more of a subliminal thought.
The number "24" continued to shock me. It's sort of
like an athlete who sets a record and thinks to him
or herself, 'You know, I thought I was pretty good,
but I never realized I was THIS GOOD!' ď
All kinds of light bulbs began to explode!
was thunderstruck. For the rest of their lives,
these 24 couples would hold my dance studio in their
thoughts as the place where it all started. This
was quite an accomplishment! I felt like I was
being told, 'Rick, this is why you are here.'
got goose bumps all over. I got chills. At the
exact moment when I stared at 1999's list of 24
marriages and engagements for the first time, it was
like a Yogi's moment of Enlightenment. To me, this
was like God saying, "Rick, this studio is your
admit this was the moment when I started to wonder
if there was a divine hand guiding the studio. Now
if you are a skeptic, this mysticism stuff must be
hard to swallow. Mind you, there weren't any white
lights, burning bushes or angels playing harps in
the background. Nevertheless, to me, this
realization carried the same importance as a
religious awakening. For the first time, I felt
like the studio had an importance that transcended
There have actually been several times where I have
noticed the studio has a glow about it that defies
explanation. I have always felt like SSQQ is
'charmed' in some way. If you know anything about
the history of the studio, you might be surprised at
the unusual number of lucky coincidences over the
years that have helped the studio grow.
Indeed, the early part of my dance career was marked
by one lucky break after another. It often seemed
like sheer Magic. Now for the first time, I felt
like I had been put in this spot for a reason. Most
people wander around their whole lives asking the
question, 'Why am I here?' Not me. In an instant
it became clear I had a role - I believed I was
destined to help the studio create relationships.
"Why were you so surprised at that total? I
mean, surely you had some inkling."
RICK: ďYou might wonder why it took
twenty-two years of business for this
reality to sneak up on me, but it isn't
really difficult to explain.
You see, SSQQ is a dance studio. I get paid
to teach dance lessons. For twenty-two
years, I was running a dance studio. I saw
myself as a businessman. I spent a lot more
time writing articles on Policies and
Refunds than I did on 'Romance'.
But now it was quite possible I was missing
the point. I had discovered a pretty
serious clue that suggested I had been put
in this role because I had a special talent
to help people connect.
The studio was contributing to 2 marriages a
month and we weren't even trying!! Good
grief! What would happen if we tried??
That's when I decided to try a little!
During 2000, I took my Matchmaker role very
seriously. I wrote articles like this one,
I paid close attention to the SSQQ
Newsletter, and I got involved with as many
people's lives as I could.
At the end of the year I added it up. We
had 32 couples get married or announce
had thought Ď24í was a number for the ages,
but just one year later that number had
grown. 2000 was the finest year in the
history of my studio. The energy was
At the end of the year, I wrote an article
titled "Millennium Romance 2000".
This was the story where I first announced
to the world about my hunch that SSQQ was
the 'Romance Center of Houston'. I was so
proud of my studio I could burst! ď
"Have you ever checked out your claim about
being Houston's Romance Center?"
RICK: "Well, Gertrude, maybe that's
something you could do for me. Perhaps you
could contact our friends at the Houston
Chronicle. I imagine the Chronicle would
have the resources to do a better job than I
could. Plus maybe be a little more objective
in the process.
Tell them to do it by the numbers. I have
the studio's facts and figures published in
bold print. Anyone in the contest should be
expected to do the same.
Even if SSQQ didn't 'win', it would not
diminish the studio's accomplishments in any
way. We are still going to be up there.
To me, itís just like the old line about
Earl Campbell. Houston Oilers football
coach Bum Phillips once said, "Earl Campbell
may not be in a class by himself, but
whatever class he's in, it doesn't take long
to call roll."
If SSQQ isnít Houstonís Romance Capital, we
are still definitely high on the list. Ē
(Rick Archerís Note:
Many of you might be in a
position to help me
evaluate my claim that SSQQ is at Houstonís
forefront when it comes to creating relationships.
It is fun to boast, but deep down I suspect
Houstonís large churches would give SSQQ a run for
its money. Surely Lakewood Church or Second Baptist
would easily eclipse our
totals. But then on the other
hand, maybe they don't keep track!
In addition, perhaps some
of the dating services here in the city might make
similar claims. SSQQ averages 25 weddings and
engagement announcements a year. If you can think
of a location that can match that
total, please let me know.
YEAR UPDATE ON THE SSQQ ROMANCE LEGEND
I wrote my first
SSQQ Romance article in 2000. Titled
Millennium Romance 2000,
this was the article where I first suggested SSQQ was
Houstonís Romance Capital.
I wrote my second SSQQ Romance article in 2003. This was
the year that SSQQ was involved in 34 weddings and
engagements, our highest one year total. People were
getting married right and left. In fact, in November 2003,
three different SSQQ Instructors each got married on the
same day! This amazing coincidence inspired me to write
Love Story 2003.
Matchmaker Story came
out in 2006.
If you follow the progression, this means
I have written stories on SSQQ Romance in 2000, 2003,
and 2006. So now it is 2009,
high time for a three-year update on this fascinating
However, I have a problem.
Considering how much I have previously written about the
studioís great accomplishments, it is difficult to come up
with a fresh angle. So for this update, I
have decided to discuss the
pitfalls of Looking for
We all know that Romance carries Risk. Who among us hasnít
been hurt? But we donít like to talk about it.
Nevertheless, the difficulties of finding Love are
definitely a subject worth discussing.
I have three interesting anecdotes to share with you. Mind
you, the names and the details have been altered to avoid
embarrassing the participants. They were kind enough to
share their personal thoughts with me, but asked that their
identities be shielded.
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE IN 2009: THREE
PERSPECTIVE 1 Ė
DAVID COMMENTS ON THE VIRTUES OF 'SLOW
In early January
2009, I wrote a lengthy story about the courtship of
Rivas and Bruce Hanka. I pointed out that Mara and
Bruce actually knew each other very well for three years
before they decided to date. In my story about them, I
teased that the Texas Twostep may start on the Quick Quick,
but these two started their Romance on the Slow Slow.
One of the Newsletter readers picked up on the patience
revealed in the Bruce and Mara story. I received this very
kind thank you note from a man I will call David in response
to the Bruce and Mara article:
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 6:53 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Thanks for verrrrrrry helpful advice
ďHi Rick, I have
been taking lessons there at SSQQ off and on for maybe 12
years now. I feel a little silly telling you the following
so I request anonymity. But I do want to tell you this
because this advice was so very helpful at least to me.
Also, given the many tedious complaints you get, I thought
that some encouragement is something you greatly deserve.
helpful advice was in your January 2009 Newsletter Issue Two
where you went into great detail about how people at SSQQ
often get to know each other sloooooooowly.
This was a great revelation to me. Perhaps I had bought
into the "love at first sight" myth too much, or maybe I was
assuming that others were operating that way. I have known
people who do operate that way. But I finally figured out
what wasn't working well, as I tried SSQQ again ... and
again ... and again ... as the years went by.
I was trying to
see if "interpersonal chemistry" was there on much too short
of a time scale. Now I am thinking more on the timescale of
a year or more as per your article.
So I have found
that thanks to your advice, attending SSQQ is much more
fun. It's amazing what a difference that one idea of advice
has made. Maybe I am the only one who was so clueless about
this, but I am glad to know I have at least 15 more months
to try again, ha ha.Ē
first sight does occur, but it can be deceptive. I
still have nightmares about my first wife. On the other
hand, my third wife Marla is a marvelous human being and she
too was 'love at first sight'. So I am batting 50% on the
'love at first sight' angle.
My second wife
was a woman I got to know here at
the studio over the course of time. For
the most part, I believe the marriage was a success.
The marriage lasted ten years, produced a great child and
brought the studio to a new level of prosperity. So the 'slow
but steady' approach has its value too.
In the case of my
friends Bruce and Mara, I asked Bruce point-blank when the
shift occurred inside that transformed Mara from 'friend' to
'lover' after three years of knowing her. He smiled and
declined to answer the question. Smart guy.
All I know is that Bruce and Mara seem to be very solid.
Slow but Steady definitely seemed to work for them.
I have little
doubt you will find the lady you are looking for. It may be
love at first sight or it may sneak up you. Keep smiling
and be patient.
I do have one
more piece of advice - don't settle for less. Love is REAL.
with Marla has proven this. I did settle for less once and
still regret it. Wait until you find the right girl. It is
possible to find a companion who is your best friend in the
ďThank you, Rick,
for taking the time to reply in detail and with the examples
too. I appreciate your encouragement and compliments.
From my own
experiences I have gotten to a modified thing I call
"cuteness at first sight" but I don't get too excited until
I can learn more about those invisible personal values.
Thanks for the assertion that the mythical love is real and
worth carefully waiting for, no matter when or how it
appears. There are so many women in your studio who can
inspire feelings of "cuteness at first sight".
practical benefit of your "sloooowly" advice was how it
changed my timescale of expectations. Somehow I had
inadvertently been thinking that if "the magic look" didn't
happen between me and someone after a few cycles around the
dance class or a practice night or two, I might as well give
up for the time being. "A year" rather than say, 10 seconds,
is a much more realistic timeframe in that situation and
frees one up to just have fun.
Thank you for all
your work in supporting social dance and have a great day.Ē
PERSPECTIVE 2 Ė CALCULATING KATE:
DIVERSIFY YOUR SEARCH!!
A recent report
on CNN said the downturn in the economy seems to put
more of a premium on finding relationships. Their
expert listed several reasons.
One, all the bad news is tough to take without
companionship. The need for security makes singles
more desirous of finding a relationship. I think
they may have a point. I would go crazy with worry
if I didnít have Marla to calm me down or cheer me
up. I canít tell you how many times we will hear
more bad news and one of us comments, ďWell, at
least we have each other.Ē
Two, loneliness is a powerful incentive to get out
there and look for a friend. People without jobs
have to be climbing the wall. They canít stand
being at home all day and then continue to be alone
at night as well. So every evening becomes a chance
to get out of the house and search for Romance.
Might as well get something accomplished!
Unfortunately, no one ever said Love is easy to
As I reported last month, there is a lady (Kate)
here at the studio who told me the smart approach to
finding Love requires throwing a wide fishing net.
Kate consistently counts on four venues in hopes
that one of them will pay off. First, she is a
member of a Houston dating service. Second, she is
a member of an Internet Dating Service. Third, she
goes to every professional meeting she hears of.
Kate says she goes more to look for new men than
actual business reasons. If there are no prospects,
she quietly disappears at the first break and moves
on to a night of Western dancing at a club. She
says she changes into her dance shoes, but that she
couldnít care less if she dances in business
Fourth, Kate takes at least one dance class a month
here at the studio just to scout out each new rookie
class. Just because a guy can barely two-step
doesnít mean he isnít cute. And she makes sure to
come on all three nights just to be sure Mr. Right
doesnít slip through her fingers.
she isn't sure which venue is going to pay off, but
so far she has come closest here at the studio.
It is a little scary to meet a woman as calculating
and relentlessly thorough
at pursuing men as Kate, but she does seem to have
this down to a science.
I asked her why she didnít include ĎChurchí in her
list of places to meet men. She replied that she
isnít particularly religious, but now that I
mentioned it, she would give it some thought!
I recently had the chance to speak to Kate again
about her Romance Project. I asked her what she
thought of Internet Dating Services. After all, I
know of at least five SSQQ couples that have met
through the Internet. Kate rolled her eyes and took
a deep breath. Kate said she was currently down on
the Internet because it all boils down to looks.
Just so you understand, our lady Kate is quite
attractive although she might stand to lose a pound
or two. I guess she will forgive me for saying
that. The point is, Kate has more than enough looks
to play the game. Kate went on to say something
ďMy frustration with the Internet Date Sites is that
the guys make every decision based on the picture.
I could be a doctor or a brilliant writer, but if I
donít look like a super-model, my profile will get
only a flicker of attention. I should know. After
a particularly long drought, I substituted my
current picture with one from college. The
following week my email lit up like Washington DC on
the 4th of July!
All these guys
want is a picture! Even more pathetic, except for
the rare handsome guy, they all put up their own
touched-up pictures. How about truth in
advertising? I have wasted at least three evenings
of my life with guys who didnít even vaguely
resemble their picture.
Furthermore, a lot of these profiles are nonsense.
Half the men I contact or who contact me have put
more time into writing their Internet profile than
actually reading a book to make themselves
interesting. Frankly, I have come to the
conclusion I have just as good a chance of meeting
guys in bars than online. The bars may also be a
beauty contest, but at least it is an honest
contest! And itís cheaper too!
The sad thing is
that men forget that someoneís looks can grow on
you. The last guy I was serious about was so-so
good-looking, but the more I got to know him, the
better he looked.
Thatís one reason why I like the studio so much.
This is a place where someone can definitely get
better looking over time. Plus I have discovered
the more a guy improves as a dancer, the better
looking he gets!
experience of a man is completely missing online.
You canít hear the guy speak, you donít know what it
will be like to dance in his arms, you donít even
know if he can dance even when he promises he can!
The way these guys write, they all think they are
Mario Lopez (from Dancing with the Stars). Oh
Please! I have learned the hard way that men tend
to overestimate their abilities in their profiles
and their emails.
Whatever it is that connects people is missing in an
email. It is kind of a Cyrano de Bergerac thing.
You can fall in love with his writing, but then you
find yourself completely empty when you finally meet
him. I sit there over coffee listening to him
babble and I think to myself, ĎHey, do me a favor
and introduce me to the guy who writes your email!í
I suppose I am
just in one of my cynical moods. After all, I still
check my email every night the moment I get home
then hit the Internet to go over the profiles again
in case I overlooked a nugget.
But there is a part of me that longs to meet a guy
here at the studio and see if some chemistry
develops. I so much prefer the studio to Western
bars. After all, even if I donít meet a guy I am
interested in for a while, I still like the dancing,
I like the exercise, and I sure as heck enjoy seeing
my friends. No trip to the studio is ever a waste
of time. Plus the men at the studio are such
gentlemen. I like that. ď
PERSPECTIVE 3 Ė HARRIET THE SPY:
THE WALLS HAVE EYES!
call her Harriet, said she loves the studio for an unusual
reason Ė Harriet likes to spy on men. Harriet makes a
point to study men when they donít know she is watching.
Harriet said the biggest single mistake of her life was to
fall for a smooth-talking guy. He turned out to be all
Flash and Dash, but very little Substance. He also managed
to break her heart in the process.
admits she is more suspicious than the average girl. But
her experience was so incredibly painful that it literally
took her a couple years to shake it off. After getting
two-timed, Harriet decided her new philosophy towards men is
Ďactions speak louder than words.í Harriet was determined
not to let her guard down again until she was certain what
her guy was made of. SSQQ seemed just right for her.
Harriet realized she felt safer meeting men at SSQQ over the
C&W clubs because she found it so much easier to conduct
surveillance. You think I am kidding? Keep reading.
Whenever Harriet would meet someone at the studio, she would
immediately check the studioís web site. Harriet would
google his name to see what he has been up to at the studio
in the past. Then she would comb through all the old
Halloween pictures and cruise pictures to see who was in the
pictures with him. If she recognized someone, she would
make a point to talk to them about the guy. Harriet would
also check with her network of girlfriends to see if her
prospect had any previous studio dating violations or if
there were any vague suspicions she should know about.
Harriet told me the men at the studio would be shocked if
they knew how carefully they are profiled!
One particular guy, call him Hank, passed her SSQQ Guy Check
back in 2003. Harriet dated Hank for nearly a year, but she
never grew comfortable with him. From the start Harriet
made it a point to watch her man like a hawk. She
especially liked to watch when Hank didnít realize she was
watching. She thought the studio was perfect because she
had two or three angles to take no matter what room Hank
wandered into. Maybe Hank was super-attentive and warm in
her presence, but how did he behave in another room when she
Harriet had quite a few tricks up her sleeve. She would
make it a point to go out on the sidewalk, knock on the Door
to Room 5 and persuade someone to let her in during Break so
she could sneak on Hank from behind. Harriet said this way
her boyfriend would never have a clue what angle she might
be watching from. Other times Harriet would simply hide in
the crowd during Break and watch through the openings
between the people standing around in Room One.
Another popular Harriet move was walking suddenly through a
door when Hank didnít expect her. If he was talking to a
woman, she looked to see if he had a guilty expression on
his face when she surprised him with her entrance.
Sometimes he did, sometimes he didnít.
Harriet had one move in particular that she liked to use.
She would deliberately come to the studio late for class.
But rather than enter the room, she would peek through the
door. On more than one occasion, she noticed Hank appeared
to have wandering eyes when he didnít know she was there.
Coming late gave Harriet another idea. She decided to use
her girlfriends as spies. One night she had a business
commitment. Harriet made it clear to her boyfriend she
would not make it to the studio that night, but she didnít
mind if he went to class as usual. Meanwhile she recruited
a girl friend to watch Hank instead. The girlfriend
reported back that she had noticed Hank engaged in a long
talk with another woman during Practice Night complete with
smiles and minor yet significant touching. Plus they danced
several times together. Apparently since he was certain she
would be gone, when the catís away, the mice will play.
Little did Hank realize the walls have eyes!
I asked Harriet why she thought all this was necessary. She
frowned and said that from the start, there was just
something about Hank she didnít trust. So she decided she
was going to watch him like a hawk and see if she could
discover something that would prove her instincts were
Harriet said she did some serious crying after that Practice
Night flirting incident. She was so depressed that she
dreaded going on the SSQQ Cruise. She and Hank had signed
up to go two months earlier. Now Harriet didnít have her
heart in the trip, but at the same time she didnít want to
throw her money away either.
Unfortunately Harrietís misgivings were well-founded. The
2003 SSQQ Dance Cruise did not go very well. They had been
talking about Harriet moving in, but Hankís behavior during
the cruise made her too skeptical to ever accept his offer.
For one thing, Hank was unusually hard to find on two
occasions. In addition, Harriet was upset when she
realized he deliberately did not tip his dining room waiter
to save a few bucks.
When they got back on shore, things were never the same.
They gradually drifted apart. About a month later Harriet
decided to just call it quits. She heard he hooked up with
a new girlfriend not much longer after.
Harriet made it a point to say that despite her constant
vigilance in their eight months together, she never once
caught him doing anything overtly wrong. But there were all
those little signs like the night he flirted with another
woman during Practice Night. Her gut refused to trust him.
The straw that broke the camelís back came during the cruise
when Hank went MIA on two different occasions. Both times
Harriet conducted a full-ship search, but over an hour of
searching failed to locate him. As she put it, sure itís a
big ship, but there were a lot of open areas. Not only did
she conduct her search on every level, not one girlfriend
reported seeing him either. And then it happened a second
These disappearing acts took a serious toll on her. Never
once did Harriet confront Hank because she didnít want him
to know she was suspicious, but at the same time she was
convinced something was wrong. Harriet said she was willing
to give him the benefit of the doubt the first time, but the
second time was just too much. She said that unless Hank
was in some restricted crew area, she couldnít imagine how
he escaped her search. She even went down to the Infirmary
looking for him!
After that, Harriet said her heart told her to move on. She
said she had no regrets. She has learned to trust her gut
I listened to her story without interrupting her. She
seemed pleased to get it off her chest. But when she
finished, I asked her why she didnít simply confront the man
after her ship-wide search came up empty. I said thatís
what I would have done. She frowned and said she wanted to,
but she did not want him to ever know that she suspected
him. If so, Hank would be twice as much on guard and that
much harder to catch.
I pointed out that she had missed a perfect opportunity.
Harriet had him pinned down! Yes, maybe Hank would have
come up with an alibi, but he would be talking himself right
into a trap. After all the places Harriet had looked and
all the spare eyes that were also on the lookout, if Hank
was up to no good, he would have had a difficult time coming
up with a convincing lie. I mean, letís face it, the only
way to effectively disappear is to go into a cabin! So if
he was playing cards, then he would say so. But if he was
up to no good, then he would have to pretend to be in a
lounge or a shop. Since Hank had no way of knowing Harriet
had already eliminated all those possibilities, if he tried
to fib, he was almost certain to trap himself! Really, his
only chance would be if he had asked a buddy to provide an
alibi in advance, but most men arenít that smart.
Thatís when Harriet gave me a rueful smile. She said she
was pretty sure she already knew the truth, but she simply
didnít have the guts to face Hank with it. After the pain
of her two-timer man many years ago, Harriet figured she
didnít want to ever get that close to the pain again. So
after the cruise, she simply more or less moved on. It was
just easier for her that way. Fortunately, Harriet had
never let herself fall in love with Hank. If her first
experience had taught her anything, it was to guard her
heart till she was sure it was safe to let go. So Harriet
came out of the relationship hurt, but relatively intact.
Harriet finished her story by complimenting the studio.
Harriet said she appreciated the chance to research her
prospects in advance. She said having doors everywhere
makes the studio an easy place to covertly study behavior.
In addition, taking classes over time allows her to get a
pretty strong intuition about people that would never be
possible in a bar setting. Bars are too random; here at the
studio Harriet knows the schedule of every guy she has her
Harriet says she hasnít dated anyone seriously since that
2003 cruise, but she has a lot of men friends here and she
is always hopeful.
Harriet asked me to say one more thing. She is convinced
that men who take dance classes are a special breed. She
has noticed it often takes a man several months to get the
hang of leading plus learn to match his footwork to the
rhythm of the music. Some guys really struggle to get the
hang of it; she admires them for their determination to get
it even though it is so hard. Harriet has a theory that any
man who stays with it has a type of persistence that is
usually absent in creepy guys.
If picking up girls is their goal, there are many far easier
and faster ways to go about it than learning to partner
dance. In her words, ĎCreepy Guys donít have that kind of
patience! Men with a one-track mind
aren't going to waste their time on dance lessons. For that,
Liquor is always Quicker.í
convinced that learning to dance makes some men more perfect
Rick Archer's Note:
Harriet is a real person, I promise you. We have had
our share of odd characters, but Harriet was definitely one
of a kind.
I understand that my friend Harriet was pretty gun shy about
getting hurt again and did some weird things. That
said, you have to understand that her story is the extreme,
not the norm. I think she was so deeply hurt and
so totally blindsided by the first love of her life that she
was bound and determined never to be fooled again. I
think even Harriet would agree that for this period of her
life, she went slightly nuts. But in Harriet's
defense, I never saw her do a single mean thing. She
was eccentric, but she was also harmless.
I am happy to report that Harriet's Spy Days are over.
Harriet is now happily married to a man she met on the
Internet. Go figure.
This was a story I wrote some time ago. Then I put it
away because I decided someone was bound to recognize her.
Now since she is no longer at the studio, I feel comfortable
telling her unusual tale at last.
THE HEART IS A
read these peopleís stories, it sounds like
it's a jungle out there.
Who can forget the old C&W song 'Looking for
Love in all the Wrong Places'?
When it comes to Romance, everyone knows
there is risk involved. People do get lonely and
sometimes that clouds their
Loneliness drives them to let down their
guard and trust the wrong person. Thatís when they
end up getting exploited.
Let's face it, wherever you go,
you take your chances.
The Internet of course has long been the
refuge of bald-faced liars (Please read my article on
And everyone knows the Bars are full of dangerous players.
Furthermore, as we can gather from
Harrietís poignant story, now we know
that even SSQQ isnít
completely safe from danger
in the affairs of the heart. Yes, there
are predators at SSQQ too, but fortunately, these people are
few and far between.
notwithstanding, I am confident that SSQQ is a
remarkably safe environment. The vast majority
of the people who visit the studio are remarkably
Furthermore, I make a concerted effort to keep the playground
safe. I will be the first to
admit that some creepy people visit this place from
time to time.
Fortunately, thanks to the very powerful social
network that exists here at SSQQ, the serious Creeps
get identified very swiftly.
Something happens. One person talks
to another. They compare notes. Or maybe two
different people email me about an incident and I make the
connection. A simple email to me begins the
evaluation process (yes, I keep it discrete).
If I think a line, I usually just warn people. Other times I
quietly ask people to move on (in
2008, the total was 3 men
and 3 women).
is a side to the studio I prefer to keep under
wraps, but rest assured I am not kidding when I say
I keep an eye out.
Yes, there are creeps everywhere
and, yes, SSQQ is not immune. However, as minefields go, at
least SSQQ is a much safer playing field than most.
In fact, SSQQ has such a good reputation as being a Ďsafe
placeí that many Houston therapists actually recommend dance
lessons here at the studio for some of their clients. A lot
of people see therapists during a divorce or a breakup.
After their client has regained some of their confidence,
therapists suggest the studio as a safe place to get started
That is a high compliment indeed. And we
do everything in our power to make sure their confidence is
not betrayed. The studio is a happy place because
people know they can let their guard down and relax.
And why not? There is a remarkable absence of
Love at first sight or slow and steady, either way there are
plenty of interesting people to meet here at the studio.
It may take a while to find someone, but
you certainly canít beat our track record.
As the constant stream of couples dancing their way to the
Wedding Altar indicates, Cupid
certainly seems to have a field day when he visits SSQQ.