It had been a slow year, as usual, for Karl. Dating was never easy for him, but Oktoberfest and the promise of new possibilities had arrived again. This was his only truly viable dating angle and he was determined to make it work this year.
This year he had actually taken lessons at the Bavarian Haus restaurant and dance hall. His polka was strong, and his waltz was good enough. He had also taken a little time the week before to design a t-shirt, which said “I Polka! (Just ask!)”. This would eliminate some of the awkwardness he had struggled with the passed two years in getting these women to dance with him. After all, the plan would only work if he could get these women to dance. The t-shirt also marked a change in his wardrobe strategy, which had in previous years been to dress in lederhosen. The problem with wearing the traditional polka dancing attire, was that he was too often mistaken as a member of the band or an event staffer, which diminished the effect he was hoping to achieve.
It was a particularly rainy festival which insured that the people would be gathering under the tents where the polka bands typically played. A band was playing, and no one was dancing; exactly the scenario he was looking for. He would be looking for the oldest polka dancing women he could find. They usually came wearing some sort of polka dancing attire, so they were easy to spot. This year, if all went as planned, he would not have to drink as much beer in order to gain the courage to ask one of them to dance, because they would be asking him to dance. He wouldn’t be as unstable on his feet so he would not be as likely to cause an injury to anybody.
“It had to work this year. It would work!” thought Karl as he found the most prominent table he could find up near the dance floor.
Karl wasn’t a smooth talker. He could barely talk to women at all. He didn’t handle his alcohol well, so bars were problematic. He wasn’t ugly, but he wasn’t exactly handsome either. At best, he was adorably goofy. He just needed to boost his adorability by a few notches and he was in! Or so he hoped.
He began to scan the edges of the dance floor, looking for that perfect, older polka gal. His coat was off, and his custom t-shirt text was positioned squarely across his chest. It wasn’t a minute before he saw her. Got one! She was weaving slowly through the crowd on the other side of the dance floor, bending her aged knees to the music as she walked. She was wearing a make-shift polka skirt with fake suspenders sewn (or hot-glued) onto her blouse.
“Oh yeah. She’s good to go,” thought Karl. All that was left was for her to see his shirt and the his polka seduction plan would be on. It would just take one, and then the line would form. He’d seen it happen before, a dozen 75-year-old women clamoring to dance with the one or two guys under the tent who would polka with them. And then, he arrived. The only possible foil to Karl’s plan he had come from out of nowhere. And before he knew it, he had snatched his polka maiden. Snatched her!
He was at least eighty-years-old (45-years Karl’s senior) and he was horrid! He could barely lift his feet off the ground, but he polka’d nonetheless. He swept the old lady out on to the floor and they polka’d; polka’d right passed his table without even giving him a look. He would have to act fast. The line would be forming soon!
He took a swig of beer for courage and jumped up out of his seat. The others would be here soon. They needed to see him before the song was over. He decided his best bet was to stand up near the bandstand and move subtly (but deftly!) to the music. Oom pa Oom pa Oom pa! He would let those polka grannies know that he was a serious player here!
He took his place as the ‘B’ section for the song began to signal the last return of the main tune. He smiled and moved up and down to the beat. Stay on beat! Stay on beat! Smile! YOU CAN DO IT!
Their eyes locked. She was headed his way. And she was glorious. Her white hair was formed into a perfect ball-shaped perm. She wore a blue checked polka dress with white ruffles peaking out from beneath. Her orthopedic polka shoes never missed a beat as she wove her way thr0ugh the crowd to him. This was just as he had envisioned it.
She never said a word. She smiled at him behind her thick eye-glasses as he held out a hand to her. She moved like a dream. They danced a full circle around the floor before the next song began, and then they danced straight through the next song while the line began to form. It was just him, the old guy and a line of elderly woman to polka while the rest of the crowd drank beer and cheered the band on.
And now it was time to put his plan into action. She had to be out there somewhere, watching, smiling, seeing him transform from goofy into adorable. She would be around his age. She would be moved in some way by his willingness to polka with these women. She would see the smiles on their faces as he bounced and spun around the floor. She would imagine what a sweet guy he must be to want to brighten these lonely, older women with the gift of polka…and she would want to meet him. Yes, This was Karl’s plan, to seduce a woman with his polka.
He danced and spun and was the life of the polka floor. He danced with some women two or three times. Sweat poured from his brow and his smile became brighter and brighter. He was beginning to enjoy himself. He was beginning to forget something. His joyous dancing was contagious. As he danced, more folks began to join in. Oktoberfest was taking off in a way that hadn’t for years in this town. Instead of the band playing while everyone drank the beer and gorged themselves on bratwurst and potato pancakes and applesauce, they danced the polka and the waltz and the even the schottishe. The band played louder and faster until the whole crowd was worked into a polka frenzy. He was a polka God, and this was his heaven.
Karl went home alone that night. His plan had not work as he had hoped. The woman that he had hoped to leave with never materialized. Instead, he spent the evening lost in a sea of polka, German beer, and good will. He came hoping to seduce, but instead he was seduced…seduced by Oktoberfest.
“Maybe next year” he thought, as he dozed off to sleep, the rain continuing to fall, and the polka beat lingering in his head.