We christened the Bubba in Eric’s Bubba-mon(iker) at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth last weekend.
Now, those of y’all who lack the good fortune of personal familiarity with Billy Bob’s, let me ‘splain. Billy Bob’s holds the title of world’s largest honky tonk and has done so for thirty years. It’s smack in the center of Rodeo Plaza in Fort Worth’s historic stockyards, where you’ll see cowgirls on horseback and cowboys lassoing fire hydrants. For reals. We even saw a man leading a rat on the back of a cat on the back of a dog, which was oddly cool, but had nothing to do with the stockyards themselves.
The sheer size of BB’s is amazing, but it’s what they pack under its roof that makes it a Texas tradition. I mean, hello, at how many bars can you adjourn to watch live professional bull riding? And then two-step a few turns around the wooden dance floor under light reflected off the disco saddle suspended and rotating above you, sweat flying off foreheads under cowboy hats pulled low, boots shuffling, skirts twirling, yee-ha’s resounding? At 10:30, the other half of the several acre building comes to life as the main act takes the stage. What’s a tuckered out dancer to do? Grab a beer from the bartender uncapping five Budweisers against her cleavage? Rest her tired feet and enjoy chicken fried steak and taters? Or try her luck in the casino area? The place is countrified Disney World.
So, Bubba-mon, armed with five dance lessons and a bride who learned the Cotton Eyed-Joe before she wore her first training bra, hit BB’s with a vengeance. The first lesson he learned was that traffic moves fast and in a prescribed direction, like a NASCAR track. If you mess up, you don’t stop, unless you fancy death by boot stomp. The next lesson? Don’t watch the other dancers. Distractions range from wardrobe malfunctions on women too old to dance in miniskirts anyway to intimidation from show-off urban cowboys who picked up their skills at some fancypants dance studio (can you IMAGINE???).
I hadn’t worn my cowboy boots in years, and I had open wounds within 15 minutes. Luckily, the gift shop sold Western-themed bandaids (see picture), so we kept dancing for two more hours. Eric’s casualty was his pride. Now, I have permission to tell you guys that he is a perfectionist who doesn’t laugh easily at his own mistakes. Uh-oh. But he kept at it, with me chanting quick-quick-slow-slow at his request through every song. As a bass player, Eric had trouble wrapping his head around the 3-count nature of the two-step set to a 4 beat measure. (Didja get that??) And we didn’t learn two-step in dance class; we did fox trot. Similar…but, well, worlds apart.
After a half hour of me reassuring him that no one even noticed him in a place this size, a gentleman leaned over to me and said, “Honey, he sure is getting a lot better already.”
But, directionally, he was! By the end of the night, Eric was laughing and singing, spinning me, going sideways, forward, backward, and had even learned to lean back against my encircling arms while I did the same in his, and twirl together. My island boy was country dancing like he was born to do it. Shhh, don’t tell him that 75% of the boys I grew up with refused to ever really learn. I had convinced him that it was a citizenship requirement in Texas.
Want to capture the feeling at home? Throw some sawdust on the floor, spin this new tune (Bubba-mon loves him some Brad Paisley, and I love me some old Alabama), and try a little quick-quick-slow-slow around your kitchen.
Have a good one, y’all,