Stepping Out

by Amy Mullis

“I do what?”

“A half step. Like a baby step. But with bigger feet.”

The Captain and I are standing face to face in the living room. We’ve decided, after a half century of ignoring choreographed moves, that we should learn the proper way to do the Carolina Shag, the official dance of the South Carolina coast.  Around these parts children learn to Shag before they learn to blame broken dishes on their little brother.

Just now we’re stuck at the most difficult part. Getting started.

“Which direction do we step?”

“I guess toward the beach.”  We are presently five hours and six more weeks of winter away from the shore. We pause and gaze serenely eastward in honor of the ocean.

“What are you doing?” The Captain wipes his eyes with the sleeve of his Jimmy Buffett t-shirt and peers at me.

“I’m gazing eastward.”

“You’re gazing toward the kitchen.  East is the other direction.”

“It’s the thought that counts.”

 “You’re thinking of the cheesecake in the refrigerator.”

“It reminds me of the beach”

“Because it’s round like the sun?”

“Because they both remind me my swimsuit doesn’t fit.”

We observe a moment of silence in honor of the good things in life and traitorous swimwear.

He takes my hand.  “So where were we? Half. . .”



We immediately step in opposite directions, then back, then smash each other’s toes into the biological equivalent of strawberry jam.  Our arms are locked around us and we’re stuck together like purse-bottom postage stamps. Every time he breathes, my glasses fog up in a half moon shape.

I glare at him through a sliver of light at the bottom of my right lens. “The men on the video were light on their feet.”

He grimaced and limped to a chair.  “I wish you were light on my feet.”

“You need to practice. You’re supposed to look like you’re hovering just above the ground.”

“The last thing I saw hovering was just above swamp level in a bad science fiction movie.”

 “What happened in the movie?”

“The hovering thing got beat up before I got the butter on my popcorn.”

“So you don’t want to learn the Shag?”

“I’d rather line the bed of my truck in taffeta and throw an afternoon tea for the Sugar Tit chapter of the Hell’s Angels.”

“The only motorcycle in town belongs to Old Man Pirkle, the Volunteer Fireman and Assistant Mayor.”

“We could just watch You Tube demos and eat cheesecake.”

“Turn on the laptop. We have six more weeks to buy a swimsuit.”

Join Amy Mullis at Mind Over Mullis for more Don’t Let This Happen to Me Moments.  She lives in a suburb of Sugar Tit, which is possibly the best thing that could happen to a humorist. Cheesecake is her Muse.  

Credit for totally awesome photo to: danceshagcorner.com


  1. LOL!!! I can soooooo picture this!

    I tried to teach Marc to Shag, and had a very similar experience. Minus the cheesecake. It was still better than 2-stepping with my ex. I remain convinced that he's the only person who continually counts… while 2-stepping!

  2. Haha!! I can always count on a serious giggling session when I read your posts, Bajaffe. ;)

  3. The only dance step I can do is "The Kermit Flail." Cheesecake is better than dancing . . .

  4. All in all, I think we did the dancing public a favor by opting for the cheesecake. I'm pretty sure there is now a federal law against Bajaffe dancing. Terri, check on that for me, willya?

  5. You two are such a matched set; you're both adorable.

  6. You are funny as sin, lady. I'm still laughing. Great article. :)

  7. If the earthworm and the puppy says I'm funny, it must be so! Thanks guys! *mypeepsarethebest*

  8. You are a master at funny, Amy. And I'm so glad your bathing suit doesn't fit--you did that on purpose to make me feel better, right?

  9. Very funny! But I gotta ask...are you all really dancing, and if so, HOW IN THE WORLD DID YOU EVER MANAGE TO TALK HIM INTO IT??! Men seem to have this ingrained adversion to any non-sports-related movement :-((

    BTW, My husband's Irish aunts laughed themselves silly when they saw the water tower at Myrtle Beach "The Shagging Capital of the World"! "Shagging" means something different in Ireland.....

  10. I love your phrases, like "purse-bottom postage stamps." Ha!

    Maybe you should just let the pros do it...


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