Dear Lady with the Leg Warmers,

I don’t have a problem with your leg warmers. I know that you might have borne the brunt of some sniggering in class on Wednesday because of your flat refusal to conform to the sartorial standards of this decade, but I like them. They remind me of the music video of my youth responsible for introducing me to “sexy” before I even knew what sexy was. I am, of course, talking about _Flashdance_’s “Maniac,” where that chick jogs in place like, well, a maniac. I remember clearly that skin-tight, black leotard, leg warmers like yours, her sweaty, frizzy ‘80s hair, and who can forget those rippling upper thighs? I appreciate you transporting me to my prepubescent lust, but really, I’m going to have to ask you to move.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate your sui generis interpretation of New York-style on two salsa, because I do. I respect that you have creative control over your body, but your apoplectic lurches have me concerned that you might be suffering from vertigo or narcolepsy, which could be indicative of some deeper issue, like an iron deficiency or temporal displacement.

I applaud your vim, your fearlessness, but looking up at you is really throwing me off my game. Every time I see you flailing as if you were trying to shunt off an attacking bird of prey, I lose the conga. Can you go by, like, the bathroom or something? You don’t have to go inside the actual bathroom. There’s that little alcove right outside the bathroom, you know, right by the water fountain. You can still hear the music from there.

I know what you’re thinking: “Who is this guy to tell me what to do?” That’s true. I have no right. It’s just that Marcus, as you already know, has been on the warpath lately, meting out Suzy Q combinations and Double Tap Crossover Slides as if they were Skittles. I’ve been really stressed; I want to make sure that I get this stuff right. It’s important to me (not that I’m implying that it’s not important to you because of your yet-to-be-determined condition).

Maybe if I gave you a little background you might understand why I’m putting so much pressure on myself. For years I’ve wanted to learn salsa because a lot of my friends growing up knew how to dance salsa. I’d go to quinceaneras, weddings, and dance clubs, and have to sit it out once I heard that indecipherable 8-beat musical phrase. I just never picked it up. Not knowing how to dance salsa coupled with not really looking Spanish has always raised suspicions about my heritage. I thought learning salsa would help settle any doubt. I envisioned it working as follows:

Skeptic: What’s your name?

Me: Pablo.

Skeptic: Oh, what’s your background?

Me: Spanish.

Skeptic: Really? What percent?

Me: 100 percent.

Skeptic: (gives skeptical look)

Me: (executes flawless Hot Toe Combo)

Skeptic: I was going to ask you to roll your “r” next, but you did that perfectly.

You see, learning salsa will earn me some much-needed cultural cred.

Forgive me, Ms. Leg Warmers, but when I see you stepping on four and eight, even though Marcus has told us repeatedly that we don’t use those beats (except for the Double Hunts Point and the Angle Braid that we just learned), I feel like you’re letting your nonconformist identity get in the way of the greater good of our salsa class.

Listen, I respect that you march to the beat of your own drum. But scrape off the cream of your Oreos and fast forward to your DVR’d commercials on your own time. In here, you have to dance to the beat blaring out of Marcus’s sound system.

Sincerely yours,
Pablo Andreu

P.S. I lied. Your leg warmers are lame.