Virginian

Doing Dallas: Saturday Night Lights

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Apparently, in Texas, it’s a cardinal sin to not eat, sleep, live, and breathe football. Confession: I am guilty of this sin. What can I say? I grew up in a household where baseball was the main sport of focus. My dad promised my brother and me the “largest milkshake McDonald’s could make” if the Cleveland Indians ever won the World Series. My loyalties have a habit of following my sweet tooth, so it’s obvious where I threw my support. On a side note, I am still waiting for that milkshake; come on Cleveland, give me something to work with. In high school, football wasn’t really a thing either. My football team (go Cavs!) won only a SINGLE game during my four years there, and that was the result of a forfeit. I don’t know about you, but a 40-game losing streak doesn’t ever really get me riled up about a sport. Cut to college, where I am #blessed with a team that is still waitin’ on a sunny day.

As a result, I have never stayed for an entire football game during my four years of college. Or even made it to halftime, for that matter. I’d walk into the stands, take a picture or two to prove that I was there, and then peace out. Saturday night, though, was the last home football game of my undergraduate career, and I decided, for sentimentality’s sake, to give the whole football thing a try. Here are the three life lessons this experience taught me.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Football game or arctic tundra?

My go-to, “Oh I Can’t Make It to the Game,” excuse had always been that it was too hot. I could always rely on this excuse because it’s Texas – when is it not hot? “I’ll go when it gets cooler, you know, actual football weather.”*

It was so cold that ICE formed on the outside of my cup. ICE.

Well, temperatures plummeted on Saturday to ungodly lows. Seriously. I think I left a tiny, frozen piece of me stuck to one of the stadium bleachers. The cold, misty rain that fell from the sky all night really helped make the experience more bearable. Wearing earmuffs, mittens, two pairs of pants, an undershirt, a sweater, a sweatshirt, a scarf, and a wool coat, I think I resembled more of a padded-up football player than even some of the guys on the field.

*Clarification: I just said this to appear knowledgeable about the sport. In reality, I have no clue what prime football watching weather actually is. My ideal watching situation involves sitting on a couch inside somewhere, eating taquitos, and watching something on TV that is not football.

Knowledge is Power

Just because I don’t watch football doesn’t mean I don’t understand it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I understand the general objective of the game, I just don’t have all the terminology to express this understanding. As I found out Saturday night, trying to make sense of the game in laymen’s terms is not always well received by those sitting around you.

See, basically I was trying to explain to my roommate that USF was about to score on our team. “They just have one place to go until they get the point!” I said. “They cannot get that space! We have to win tonight!”

It seems abundantly clear to me that I’m quite obviously saying USF had just five yards to go until a touchdown. My roommate understood me loud and clear. Those around me, however, stared at me as if I’d just shouted a stream of expletives.

“It’s five yards until the end zone,” said a football die-hard, clearly happy to dole out un-requested knowledge. “And if they score, they get six points. Then they can kick an extra point or try for a two-point conversion.”

Hadn’t I just expressed that, but in a shorter, faster way? In the time it took for this fan to “explain” to me what I already (mostly) knew, USF could’ve scored a million touchdowns. Moral of the story: apparently in Texas, football fans get offended by the use of unofficial terminology.

Quit While You’re Ahead

Snapchat photoshoots took priority over watching football.

I tried. I really really tried to be involved in the game. But it was much more interesting to take a Snapchat photoshoot or to go buy hot chocolate or to tweet about being at the game rather than actually watching the game. We made it through the halftime show, but having withstood frostbite-worthy conditions for the past four hours – tailgating takes a lot of time and energy – we decided to call it a night. Conveniently, SMU was up 13-0 when we left. It was only hours later, as we were sitting in a restaurant eating gloriously warm queso, that we learned SMU lost IN THE LAST FOUR SECONDS OF THE GAME. How is that even possible?! They let USF get a touchdown in the last. four. seconds. Four seconds is NOTHING; heck, I could walk on hot coals for four seconds and be fine. (Probably not, but I’m trying to make a point here.)

Fortunately, having quit while we were ahead, my roommates and I had the comfort of heat and queso to soften the blow, otherwise, who knows what we might have done.

Summing it Up

I’ve always said that the day pigs fly would be the day you’d see Chelsea Grogan at a football game. But you know what? I learned some new terminology during the game, and apparently “pigskin” is another word for “football.” So Saturday night, pigs flew and I went to a football game. I may not have witnessed the entire game, but by golly, that is just something to look forward to for SMU Homecoming next year. What is life without goals?! And maybe, by that time, I’ll have brushed up on football terminology and our team will actually be on a winning streak. I mean, anything could happen when pigs fly, amiright?

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Chelsea is a Level 5 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

Doing Dallas: Cows, Canton, and Camping

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. camping1

Back in the good ol’ days of my youth, I was quite the model Girl Scout. I wore a beret, went to sleepaway camp, and sold Thin Mints like nobody’s business. To this day, I have a very distinct memory of earning my Camper Badge. Sitting in my elementary school cafeteria, I learned with pretzel sticks how to properly stack wood to make a fire. Armed with this knowledge, it’s comforting to know that should I ever find myself lost in the woods with a bag of Utz pretzel sticks, I’ll know how to heap them just so. Yes, this pretzel pile would probably quickly attract hungry wildlife, and no, I do not know how to position real sticks to make a fire, but no matter – it was Camper Badge or bust!

My troop then set off on what I now recognize was a “glamping” adventure: we walked established trails, slept in a cabin complete with plumbing and electricity, and wore high quality paisley bandanas. Somehow, I made it through this obviously taxing, survivalist weekend in one piece. As my mother sewed my hard-earned badge onto my Brownie vest, I looked on expectantly, seeking congratulations for my display of courage and willingness to be at one with nature.

Two weeks ago, after a friend invited a group of us to go camping in Canton, TX, I learned that my childhood camping experience in no way resembled actual camping. This was a rude awakening, and I’m now considering ripping my Camper Badge from my vest, as this city girl wouldn’t last one single day alone in the wilderness.

What ‘One With Nature’ Really Means

camping2

What Girl Scouts doesn’t prepare you for is peeing in the woods. Oh, no. They let you grow up thinking that every woods or gathering of trees comes with a complimentary latrine. Instead of pretzel art, GS should host an “Art of Peeing in Nature” class. Seriously.

Though I tried to limit my fluid intake in the three days leading up to our Canton adventure, biology got the best of me, and at 12:30 a.m. I found myself trekking alone into the great unknown to find a secluded spot. I’d have to say the best part about this midnight hike was my crippling fear of walking face first into a massive spider web and accidently swallowing the gargantic spider. Wait – no. I really loved getting bugbites on my behind. Ah, that’s not it! Okay, if I had to choose just one thing I loved, it would be the ever-present possibility of stepping on a poisonous snake and being so far from the campsite that no one would hear my cries! Nature. Gotta love it.

Camping: Basically New York Fashion Week

My glamping days required fitted sheets and knit throws, not sleeping bags. So, when packing for our excursion, I simply took the cashmere blanket off of my bed and figured I’d just wrap myself in that like a pig in a blanket – same as a sleeping bag. After checking the forecast and seeing it would be in the 50s, I opted to take my comforter too, but just in case. I mean, I walk around in t-shirts in 50-degree weather all the time and am fine, so I’d packed enough bedding, right?

Wrong. To say I turned into human popsicle would be an understatement. I ended up putting on a long-sleeve shirt, two sweatshirts, leggings (tucked into my high socks – attractive, I know), a pair of pajama pants, and another pair of socks. At one point I considered putting on my tennis shoes to function as slippers, but then realized they smelled too bad and would suffocate the other tent inhabitants.

Cold and awake, I came to three realizations. First, I’m inept at gauging temperatures; second, insulated sleeping bags are definitely a worthwhile investment; and third, I hope to never again find myself in a situation where I’m so desperately in need of an insulated sleeping bag.

Namely, Nature

camping3

Squirrels. Roly Polies. Grasshoppers. These are all wonderful things that I appreciate when I’m not making my home among them. Throw me into a tent a few miles from civilization, though, and my appreciation for these creations plummets.

Who knew that grasshoppers actually FLEW? Not me! I guess I was thrown-off by the word hopper. More appropriate would be the name grassflyer. For 24 hours straight, I lived in constant fear that one would fly into my ear or hit me in the eye, causing me to get a paper-cut from their wings.

I saw a deer, little red spiders, possibly a scorpion, and a worm. This is more wildlife in one place than I have ever before seen, and my eyes were opened to the world around me. You could definitely say I had a Walden-like experience; Thoreau would be pleased.

Civilization

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Camping in Canton was great fun, though I’m #blessed to be back in civilization. After this experience, I feel as though I’ve rightfully re-earned my long-sought-after Camper Badge.

Chelsea is a Level 5 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

Doing Dallas: An AFFAIR to Remember

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Where all your wildest dreams come true! Basically, the Disneyland of Texas.

Four years ago, one of my brother’s friends received a deep fryer for Christmas. Whoever thought it was a good idea to give a teenage boy and his friends—who at the time, amused themselves by building DIY flamethrowers and giant slingshots to catapult rotten fruit over houses—access to this kind of power had some serious misconceptions. Over the next few days (until the fryer caught fire), my brother regaled us with tales of the various food items that the boys sacrificed to the boiling oil: Oreos, Twinkies, Snickers—at one point, even a pig heart from our local Asian market. I remember being flabbergasted by the deep-fried potential of what seemed to be normal, household foods. I’d find myself wondering as I ate Goldfish or Lucky Charms what their oil-drenched counterpart would taste like, but always chided myself knowing that such deep-fried masterpieces were only figments of my imagination.

After two visits (one time simply wasn’t enough) to the State Fair of Texas a few weeks ago, I quickly discovered that I’ve been living a culinary lie and that my brother’s gastronomic experimentation was just the tip of the deep-fried iceberg.

“If you can think it, you can fry it” – State Fair of Texas Motto

The apprehensive smile of someone about to try a fried ball of butter #YOLO

Avocado. Reese’s. Butter. Hot Dogs. Cookie Dough. Oreos. Pickles. What do all these things have in common, you might be wondering? They have all been deep-fried, and I am proud, but also kind of ashamed—no, mostly ashamed, to say that I have eaten them all.

What really got me was the fried butter. I mean, come on—fried BUTTER. I imagine its creator waking up one morning and saying, “Never mind America’s obesity crisis, today I’m going to drop a fatty stick of margarine into a bubbling vat of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, just to see if I can make an unhealthy condiment become an even more unhealthy entrée!”

Obviously, after learning of its existence, trying this food item shot to the top of my bucket-list, but after eating it, I’m scared I’m going to kick the bucket that much sooner. My order came with four little golden balls of fried butter. The first three were actually not too shabby and really just tasted like warm buttered biscuits. The fourth ball is where things got serious. Expecting it to be like the others, I popped the whole thing into my mouth, but, when I bit into it, I realized the butter had not been absorbed into the dough like it had in the others. I was surprised with a mouth full of hot liquid butter. Not gonna lie, this was unpleasant.

Paula Dean’s Heaven

Majestically running butter horses.

After eating the balls of fried butter, it felt really good to see a massive statue sculpted from butter—possibly even the same butter that was still sitting in my stomach! It made me feel more connected to my environment, like I was part of something bigger than myself, you know?

As I stared in awe at the resplendent buttered mustang statues, just one question came to mind: how in the heck did someone create this idea?! Was there a great clay shortage one year that forced artists to look to other mediums of expression? And who would’ve thought that Texas, one of the hottest states in the U.S. and the one voted* "Most Likely to Make You Melt" would be the state to experiment with such avant-garde material?! My realization that these glorious, deserving mustangs would never survive the heated journey to a museum deeply saddened me, and pushed me onward in my Fair exploration.

* Voted by me

Crikey! Is This a Barnyard or Safari?

Home of the lesser known wild Texan zebra, usually found roaming the plains of Plano.

My knowledge of Texan critters is very sparse. Still, I was surprised to encounter both giraffes and zebras in the petting zoo portion of the Fair. Walking into the exhibit, I thought I would be petting only animals originating from the Texan ecosystem—cows, goats, pigs, scorpions—and was elated to think that Texas had wild giraffes roaming about. After about half a second, I realized my mistake and was glad I hadn’t voiced my thoughts to anyone. Yet here I am voicing them now. Oops.

Large Texan

Big Tex giving us his State Fair blessing.

Apparently, Big Tex is the mainstay of the Texas State Fair. Quite honestly, I’m surprised he wasn’t made out of butter…or maybe he is, on the inside? After failing on my first visit to take a picture with the big guy—and if you didn’t take a picture, it didn’t happen—I made sure that he was the first stop on my next visit. He’s such a gem, and quite photogenic, if I do say so myself.

The State Fair of Texas was a buttery affair to remember, and I look forward to returning next year with an appetite. First on the food list for next year: fried bubble gum.

Chelsea is a Level 5 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

(Butter sculpture photo credit: Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas)

Doing Dallas: Now Walk It Out

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. There are few things I dislike more than waking up early or working out; among them are tonsillectomies, catheters, and paper cuts to the eye. So, when I found out about this next Dallas tradition, I was initially hesitant because it involved waking up early TO workout – basically my worst nightmare.  But, I decided to take one for the team because this activity is simply too perfectly, marvelously Dallasy to pass up.

NorthPark Center: A gym with free membership!

See, I was recently told that NorthPark Center is the place to workout on weekday mornings from 8 – 9 a.m. Apparently, walking around the giant square that is NorthPark is a wonderful (and popular) butt-toning activity. Never mind that your square neighborhood block is literally just steps from your front door – oh, no! It’s totally way better to drive a sizable distance to an establishment in which none of the stores are open yet and walk around the abandoned space. Fresh air and nature? Pshaw! Give me food court smells and window shopping or give me death! Okay – that might be a little extreme, but I was so fascinated with and tickled by this phenomenon that I had to try it out for myself.

Here’s what happened:

A Retroactive Live Blog: Walkin’ in NorthPark*

* This title should be read to the fabulous tune of “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 – Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

11:00 p.m. – Already dreading waking up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. Setting my alarm for 7:30 a.m., I cringe knowing that my precious REM cycle and dreams of Ryan Gosling will be soon be brutally interrupted.

1:24 a.m. – Unable to sleep; worried about how I’ll perform in the morning. Will there be sprints up the escalator stairs? Should I have a jogging stroller? Will there be relay races around the mall? Maybe I should bring my baton just in case.

2:20 a.m. – Five hours until I have to physically exert myself. Probably even break a sweat. Five…five…fiiiivvveeeee…

7:30 a.m. – The shrill sound of my alarm clock pierces my peaceful, baby-like slumber. NO. IT IS TOO EARLY FOR THIS. Log rolling out of my lofted bed, I land with a thud, grab the alarm and hit the snooze. I lay in fetal position on the floor, soaking up my last few minutes of sleep.

7:35 a.m. – Snooze alarm sounds. NOOO. Trying to figure out how to sleep more. “I’m working out, I don’t need to shower or wear make-up, right? Or will the Yogis roaming the straight in front of Lululemon judge my under eye circles and disheveled bun? After all, I am exercising in NorthPark Center – the social watering hole of Dallas – so I suppose I should look presentable.”

7:40 a.m. – JK. I like sleep more than bronzer, so I succumb to the snooze once again and decide that no selfies shall be taken in the making of this blog.

8:10 a.m. – Game face, though not made-up face, on, I have arrived and am ready to do this thang.

8:15 a.m. – Successfully enter the mall. Whoa. There are fewer people here than I expected – clearly the watering hole is experiencing a drought. Which way should I go? Is it like a, “On Tuesday/Thursday we walk counterclockwise” situation? Suddenly I see two powerwalking, baby-stroller-pushing women rapidly approaching and I panic. Intimidated by their show of speed, strength, and agility, I take off in the opposite direction.

8:17 a.m. – I discover a playlist on my iPod called “Running.” It’s been a while since I’ve needed to use such a playlist, and so it hasn’t been updated for some time. I click it anyway. The first song on the shuffle? "My Humps" by The Black Eyed Peas, of course.

Cool artsy statue or axe-murderer coming to kill me? YOU TELL ME.

8:20 a.m. – This is quite frightening. Walking down empty corridors alone, the statues somehow look much more threatening. Praying my exercise-attempt doesn’t become the topic of a 60 Minutes.

8:27 a.m. – I arrive at the escalators. No one is doing sprints up them – they’re really missing out on a solid workout. An escalator is totally like a stair climber, right? I take the steps two at a time and repeat. LOOK AT ME, DOING FITNESS.

8:27 a.m. – A rogue jogger just whizzed past. I REPEAT, A ROGUE JOGGER JUST WHIZZED PAST.

The skirt, tempting me as I walk.

8:33 a.m. – There is the CUTEST skirt on display in Anthro. I want to try it on! BUT OH WAIT. I can’t. Not only because the store isn’t open yet, but because I am here to workout, not to shop! What was I thinking!? I suppose my being in a mall and surrounded by merchandise threw me off – a mistake I will not make again.

8:40 a.m. – HALLELUJAH  the Starbucks is open! Vanilla latte, you get in my belly.

Hand-selfie, featuring a Vanilla latte, turned-off fountain, and a locked Dillards. #NorthParkAtDawn

8:42 a.m. – This is about the time I’d take a selfie, to prove I’ve actually woken-up and actually power-walked around a mall. Too bad I look like I fell off the back of a turnip truck. I settle for a hand-selfie instead.

8:50 a.m. – A precious old couple in complementary velvet athletic suits pass me by. My heart fills with joy. Then the reality of the situation sets in – I just got passed by 80-year-olds. Yikes. This signals it is time to go.

9:08 a.m. – Back home and BACK IN MY GLORIOUS BED. Good thing I don’t have class til noon. Night night!  

 

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

Doing Dallas: Wholey Moly

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Confession: Saturday night was the first time I have ever set foot in a Whole Foods. I have lived with this secret for the past 21 years, always nodding along when friends mentioned their favorite soy crispettes or buckwheat variety, yet never actually knowing what these things were. As a college student on a budget and without kitchen facilities, I lived peaceably in my ignorance, until, leaving Brunch two weeks ago I overheard a hip young couple say, “Let’s drop by Whole Foods on our way home to grab some pomegranates and kale chips.” Yes, that is a direct quote. Struck by the realization that I’ve not embraced the Dallas lifestyle to the fullest, I decided to make a change.

My shirt matched a jug of agave nectar that was bigger than my head.

Living in Fear of a Fashion Faux Pas

In preparation for my journey, I scoured my closet for the most eco-friendly outfit I could find. I desperately wanted to look like I belonged and could think of nothing more embarrassing than giving-off non-organic vibes. Unfortunately, my wardrobe is severely lacking in hemp-based apparel, so I settled for the most hippie-esque outfit I own: a flowy little number with two wooden beads that I prayed screamed earthiness, paired with brown flats that hopefully suggested my desire to blend in with garden topsoil. Going against the Texan saying, “The bigger the hair, the closer to God,” I left my hair product-free to do my part in reducing humanity’s CFC and aerosol footprint. I was ready.

Katie was really drawn to our store’s personal touches. Thanks, Martin!

The Sights, The Smells, The Joy…

Walking through those sliding glass doors, I was instantly hit by a blast of cool air-conditioning and the smell of a victory garden. I knew I’d stumbled into something special. I mean, where else could I find fresh apple frangipane made by Martin? NO WHERE. Where else could I buy a lifetime supply of agave nectar? Not at Tom Thumb, that’s for sure. Where else could I buy both fermented probiotic coconut water and Toms shoes on the same aisle? I can’t think of any other establishment.

I wanted to skip up and down every aisle, to sift my fingers through all eight breeds of quinoa grains, to smell every imported coffee bean, to taste every beet juice, to wash with every artisanal handcrafted soap. Every aisle was a new adventure into organic taste bud bliss, every free sample a new love-affair.

Making Friends

After running around the store in a state of sheer ecstasy, it was time to get down to business. I had come to Whole Foods on a mission: to buy ingredients to make organic – and therefore healthy – chocolate chip cookies.

Any toddler-approved egg is good egg in my book.

My first stop was the egg aisle. Wanting to do this organic thing right, I voiced to my friends what I was looking for. “I just really want eggs that came from a happy chicken – one that had room to run and play on the range and that was a vegetarian and lived life to its fullest.” Yes, that is a direct quote. A woman shopping nearby overheard my qualifications and came to my aid.

“I really recommend those eggs there,” she said pointing to the expensive egg section. “I know they’re more costly, but they’re free range.”

“Thank you so much. I’ll definitely go with those. The chicken’s quality of life is what’s most important to me.”

Smiling, my helpful new friend walked away. As I went to pick up the eggs, I couldn’t help but notice the advertising on the carton.

Meeting a Challenge: Whole Foods or Hole in My Wallet?

Collecting the cookie ingredients, I was acutely aware of my final bill creeping higher and higher. I had entered the store with a mere $35 in my savings account and a generous $10 cookie budget. However, over half of my budget had already been spent on blissful chickens. Adding up the cost of all ingredients, I realized my little cookie endeavor would cost me $30.72 plus tax. Oh no. Concluding that leaving $2 for gas and the rest of the month’s expenses wouldn’t be wise, I retraced my once joy-filled steps to replace all of the items.

Katie and Rachael’s victorious reaction to finding the cheapest cookie ingredient: baking soda.

Lessons Learned

Leaving empty-handed and with cookie dreams shattered, we headed to a cheap ice cream shop, where for $2 I purchased a large scoop of coconut delight. As I was eating, however, I couldn’t help but wonder if the milk to make the ice cream had come from a happy cow, one that had room to run and play on the range and that was a vegetarian and lived life to the fullest…

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

 

Doing Dallas: Howdy, Partner

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. If there is one thing you should know about me, it is this: I CANNOT DANCE. Seriously. In high school, I came dangerously close to failing my “Beginning Ballet” course because I could not for the life of me do some syncopated running waltz step thing. The teacher took pity on me, though, and attempted to comfort me by announcing to the class, “It’s alright, Chelsea. Rhythm simply eludes you.” Needless to say, anytime I am presented with the opportunity to showcase my lack of rhythmic talent in front of other humans, I sprint in the opposite direction. I have no idea what came over me, then, this past week when I decided to give Texas two-steppin a try.

We came. We danced. We conquered?

It’s a Good Idea to Know What Two-Stepping Is Before Going Two-Stepping

With my lack of dance skills, I really should’ve seen this one coming. I should’ve watched YouTube videos and practiced dancing with a Swiffer for months within the safe confines of my bedroom. Instead, I threw caution to the wind and prayed that by some miraculous act of God I would step out onto the dance floor and be possessed by the ghost of cowgirls past. I mean, how hard could it be to take two steps?

Well, it turns out that two-stepping actually involves taking three steps—two quick and one slow. WHAT?!? It was the syncopated waltz step thing all over again! Standing on the side of the dance floor in full SOS mode, my Californian friend and I did the only thing we could think of to do: Google “How to Two-Step.” Speed-reading through Wiki-How pages as skilled dancers whirled by, we quickly discovered that a written two-step instructional in no way prepares you to actually two-step.

Two-Stepping Is Like Skiing Backwards

The moment of truth came when I was asked to dance. Though I confessed to my boot-wearin, cowboy-hat-sportin partner that I had never two-stepped before, he assured me it would be fine.

“For girls, it’s just like…skiing backwards. Just glide.”

“Oh. Great,” I lied. See, my skiing skills might be the only thing worse than my dancing skills. The one time I went skiing, I couldn’t figure out how to stop and plowed full force into a security officer at the bottom of a hill. Graceful, I know. While visions of this accident flashed in my head, other thoughts plagued me as well. “Is my arm supposed to be over or under his? What did the Wiki-How say again? Why is he stepping on my feet? Will he be able to tell that I have two packs of gummies in my pocket?”**

Feeling self-conscious, I was acutely aware of the fact that watching me dance was like watching a baby giraffe learn how to walk: unbalanced, wobbly, unsure. After taking an awkward, slow-moving lap around the dance floor, the song that seemed to never end finally drew to a close.

“Thanks. That was fun,” I lied again. I mean, I couldn’t just tell the guy that I’d rather stick bamboo shoots under my fingernails than dance publicly.

“Want to go again?”

“I…I have to…pee,” I lied for a third time, before wiggling off into the welcomed shadows of the sidelines.

** Note: The gummies were a snack I’d forgotten to eat on the car ride over.

Jenna with one of the many Jack Daniels statues.

Thank God for Jack Daniels

Having publicly humiliated myself enough for one night, I decided to call it quits on the whole dancing thing. Observing from the sidelines, though, I noticed some interesting things:

—There were no less than five statues of Jack Daniels scattered throughout the establishment. For this, I now rename Cowboys Red River, “Whiskey Mecca.”

—I saw a man get arrested in the parking lot. The cops threw him against the car and handcuffed him behind his back. I can now sleep easy at night knowing Law & Order accurately portrays an arrest.

—Two separate, 50-plus-year-old men attempted to photobomb our Snapchat pictures. For this, I now re-rename Cowboys Red River, “Senior Men’s Mecca.”

—Mechanical bulls are not just things of movies. They actually exist, and people actually ride them.

The night was a real Texan experience, something I can cross off my bucket list. And, though I’m never gonna dance again, should I ever return—I’ve got my eyes set on that mechanical bull.

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!