Last night I went with some friends to The Big Apple Ranch for two stepping and line dancing. Unlike the first time, I was determined to be more participatory this go round, so we arrived early to take two lessons in how to dance. I have to be the most uncoordinated dancer on the planet, but I gave it a go, and actually had a great bit of fun. I did get some help from a lovely young lesbian named Meredith, who volunteered to be my partner during the two stepping training. Since I was so new to this, I let her lead and she was really great at helping me learn the steps and not being self-conscious. The whole place was pretty mixed with all kinds of people, even while being predominantly gay, and the environment was really welcoming and non-judgmental. When the classes were over, they dimmed the lighting and upped the music and the crowd arrived for the night of dancing. We took turns leading and following among the group of us who were there, and I even agreed to a dance with a stranger who asked me. It is much more a part of this culture to ask people to dance, and I kind of like the old school charm of it all. I mean, in a big gay dance club no one really asks anyone to dance as a couple, people just hit the floor and move near each other. But dancing in this way, matching the steps of a partner and holding their hands, is much more intimate, and kind of sweet.