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Senior Correspondent

My wife and I have been happily married for over 35 years. We obviously have a lot more in common than not. We are on the same page about finances, raising our daughters, living a simplified life, where to vacation, and what to do to build a satisfying retirement lifestyle.

But in one area we are miles apart. My wife loves to dance and I can't. I don't mean I don't want to. I mean I can't.  I have tried but it is just not meant to be. Here are some examples of efforts made and failures recorded.

Twenty years ago we booked a cruise from Los Angeles down the coast of Mexico. My wife made one request: that we dance in the various clubs that the ship had on board. With half a year before departure we took some swing lessons and went to a local resort that offered weekly opportunities to practice. It didn't work. Yes, I stumbled through one or two dances on the ship but the results weren't pretty.

Living in Arizona means you must own a set of cowboy boots and occasionally go to a western club and two-step. I've tried. The boots never fit and my two-step was closer to six. As folks moved effortlessly around the floor, I drank a beer and enjoyed the music…while sitting down.

Another opportunity presented itself when we planned a 25th wedding anniversary trip to Great Britain. Again, I promised to learn to dance so we could try out our moves in a club or two in London or Dublin. This time I signed up with an Arthur Murray studio, plunked down the money and dutifully went to the lessons every Saturday morning. By the third week I was getting sick to my stomach as the dreaded day approached. Finally, Betty took pity on me and allowed us to skip the last few classes. Except for a few slow dances somewhere overseas, that dancing chance evaporated.

Finally was my gift of dance lessons for a Christmas present a few years ago. Knowing how much she wanted to dance, I gamely agreed to one last shot. Again, Arthur Murray got the money, Betty got her hopes up, and I reproved I am the owner of two left feet. The last two lessons were left on the floor.

So, what is the problem? I have some musical feel. After all I played piano and then the clarinet for 10 years. I can play the guitar enough to pluck out some Christmas carols. I am not totally without rhythm. It turns out it may be chemicals in my brain. A study released by researchers at the University of Oxford in England claims a tiny amino-type messenger in the brain is partly responsible for those among us who dance like Elaine on Seinfeld. Thank you, Internet. I now have something to blame.

As i approach 63 in a few months, I think Betty has finally accepted that my shortcomings on the dance floor are not going to change. Luckily, she claims to have many other reasons, almost as important, to stick with me.

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