1. Intense joy or delight
2. A state of emotion so intense that one is carried beyond rational thought and self-control
3. The trance, frenzy, or rapture associated with mystic or prophetic exaltation

If Dexter controlled my relationship with him, I controlled my relationship with Billy. Some relationships have a sense of balance, with a natural ebb and flow of parity and partner dominance. Some relationships don’t. You can’t have two partners leading when you dance and in my dance with Billy, I led. Pretty much all the time. He had his opinions and inclinations but in general he always deferred to me to make a decision. At the time, I needed that. One, because he actually listened. He cared. He paid attention. And two, he made me feel that I was perfect “just as I was.” There was no conflict.

The night I went out with Billy at the beach…we ended up at this beachside, outdoor conduit for hooking up. As we sat at a cocktail table, drinking our drinks, I realized Billy had nothing to offer me. I had no interest in him. He was fun and playful but he was not an intellectual challenger and he lacked any type of worldly experience to interest me. I literally looked around and thought, “What am I doing here?”

To create a distraction to fill in for the lack of our conversational substance, I tried to get him to hit on some women at the club, but he dismissed my request with a cocky response and instead sat there across from me, waiting and staring expectantly and smiling. Again, I needed to make a decision. It was either sit there in an awkward silence of anticipation. Or dance.

I love to dance. I can go to any party, anywhere, without a lick of alcohol and just start dancing. Even if there’s no music – I’ll make my own. And I don’t care who is watching or what they think. So that’s what we did.

We moved to the dance floor and Billy continued to let me lead. Initially I was mindful to keep an appropriate space between us, to maintain an orthodox display of an engaged woman interacting with a junior co-worker. I even gave the no-hands-on-the-ass and no crotch-thrusting mandate as soon as we hit the dance floor. But with each song the DJ played, I grew more and more entranced, and Billy and I drew closer and closer. Finally our bodies were pressed against each other – that’s when the red flag went up.

Dancing, in many ways, is tantamount to sex, but with your clothes on. So I turned around in the effort to avoid the escalation of contact that could ensue by facing each other.

Why did I bother? Why, after all these months of flirting, did I care if I dirty danced with this boy? Because I wanted to be faithful to Dexter. I didn’t want to cheat. I wanted to be in love with one man, who I could believe in and who believed in me, and I didn’t want to get that from someone else. But that’s the thing about cheating. People cheat because 1) they’re not happy with what they have and 2) they have options.

There we were dancing, with Billy behind me, his hands hugging my hips, and this song came on – one with the type of rhythm that to dance to it is like engaging in foreplay.

And the most erotic thing happened. Billy pulled me in a little closer and he, standing at 6’1”, positioned his head so it was directly over my left shoulder. Me, ever mindful of my dance partner and the sheer quantity of hair I have, swept my hair to the right, exposing a bare shoulder and neck.

My neck is the most sensitive part of my body (clitoris aside). The first time I made out with my first boyfriend in high school, he discovered this was my sweet spot and I came home with 15 hickeys. It looked like a case of leprosy. I went to church the next day to confess my sins and ask for forgiveness. I wore a turtleneck all week. When my mother spotted my neck, she exhibited an equal mixture of mild outrage and disbelief, accusing my boyfriend of being a vampire.

For months Billy had attentively listened, on the phone, on IM, out at lunch, to me talk about women and sex and relationships. And in those moments, I revealed my own preferences, my own wants, my own desires, and my own fears. I had opened up. I told him things about me and Dexter that nobody else knew. I exposed myself. And on the dance floor, I exposed myself again with my bare naked neck.

Somewhere, floating out on Flickr, Facebook or another photo sharing site, there most likely is a picture of me dancing with Billy. And this is why. Billy started breathing on my neck. Or blowing on my neck. Whatever it was, he knew what he was doing. His lips and face never touched the surface of my skin. But the touch of his breath on my neck resonated throughout my entire body and as we danced, with his hands resting on the curves of my shoulders, I felt an ecstasy I hadn’t felt in over a year. However we looked, it was interesting and compelling enough for some random person to take a picture of us.

I never fucked Billy. That night is as far as it ever went. I needed something or someone to wake me up, to bring me out of my stupor. For an entire year, I tried to stay the course, deluding myself with inaction and reserve. I now realize that was the product of not having the knowledge and guidance to pursue any other path or direction.

“All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.” ~Moliere