My Inner Madonna Breaks Free

*Sadly (for you, NOT me), I have no photographic proof of the incident I describe in this post. So instead, I have scattered various pictures from the trip throughout the blog. But trust me, I could never make up something this ridiculous and embarrassing to get myself into. Every word is true.*

“I will be FUN.”
“I will be spontaneous and step out of my box.”

These were the dangerous promises I made to myself and my husband as we began our kid-free cruise last week. Which, by the way, was fantastic. The kids even started speaking to us again after a couple days when we returned. Totally worth it.

Those who know me can attest to the fact that I tend to be slightly reserved.

Okay, I’ll just be honest. I’m pretty boring. But I’m not exactly what you’d call a wallflower either. I love to be with friends and I’m not shy. I’m just not the person who’s going to be the life of the party. I’m pretty happy to share the limelight, but if push comes to shove, I’ll step up to the plate if necessary.

Boy, did I ever step up to the plate on my first ever cruise. In fact, if my husband ever feels inclined to say I don’t try new things again, I will forever have this to remind him that’s simply not true. And I plan on using it for a while, actually.

You see, here we were, alone, responsibility-free, and ready to have some fun. We checked the schedule of events and found there was a karaoke party starting at 9pm. Perfect! I thought. My husband loves this kind of thing and I can totally do this. After all, nobody here even knows me.

And it actually was pretty fun. I didn’t want to do a song by myself, so he came up there with me and we did a lovely little duet to the Carpenters’ song, “We’ve Only Just Begun”. Go ahead and roll your eyes at this point. It really was that cheesy.

Hooray for uninterrupted romance!

But YAY, me!! I was being fun! I was not worrying about how silly I looked or how bad my singing was! There were roughly 100 people or so in attendance, and I have to say the elderly in our crowd seemed especially smitten with us. Crazy kids in love and all that.

I was feeling pretty good, and that’s when it all went terribly, TERRIBLY wrong.

The young cruise employee on the entertainment staff approached my husband and said, “Hey, we’re having an 80′s Dance Party right after this. We need someone to dress up as Billy Idol and lip sync a song onstage. Interested?”

He didn’t need to be asked twice. My husband was like a kid in a candy shop, totally and completely thrilled at the idea. His smile never left his face the rest of the night.

I was glad for him to have such a good time.

And then she looked over at me. “We also need a Madonna. Want to help us out?”

Um, no.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “But out of curiosity, what song of hers will you use?”
“Get into the Groove,” she replied.

I will be fun… I will be spontaneous…

What being fun & spontaneous meant to me previously.

My little promise to myself was blaring through my head. This was my chance. I mean, there were only 100 people at this karaoke thing, after all. It would be late. There couldn’t possibly be that many people in attendance. And they were using one of Madonna’s more tame songs. Oh, what the heck?

“I’ll do it,” I told her.

My husband looked at me as if I were an alien. He couldn’t believe it. “You know you have to dance around, right? You can’t stand up there and do nothing. I don’t think you should do it. You’ll hate it.”

“I can do it! Come on, give me some credit.”

The staff lady took our names and told us where to meet later.

An hour later, I found myself backstage in one of the theaters on board. I was wearing hot pink leggings, a short, pink, ruffly skirt, a white sequined tank top, and a black jacket. On one hand I wore a black, lace glove, and to top it all off, I had a (very ugly) Madonna styled 80′s hairdo as my wig.

It was pretty heinous, actually. Only Madonna in the 80′s could get away with looking this tacky. My husband next to me was dressed as Billy Idol. Long, black leather trench coat, a terrible blond wig, and a guitar.

I began to have a little gnawing feeling in my stomach that perhaps I had bitten off more than I could chew in trying to keep my promise. This feeling got much, much worse when the first girl who had dressed up as Cindy Lauper finished her song and returned backstage, breathless and clearly on an adrenaline high.

“Oh my gosh! There are a butt load of people out there!” she giggled. She was at least ten years younger than me. Single. No kids. The kind of person who’s SUPPOSED to do stuff like this.

Next, another guy dressed up as Prince (and also a decade younger than me and gainfully unemployed in the video game industry) took the stage and delighted the audience.

I was up. I began looking for an excuse to get out of this ridiculous ordeal. But there was no time.

Four men suddenly appeared. They would be taking me on the stage and showing me where to go and leading me in some simple dance steps.

I looked toward the stage and caught my first glimpse of the crowd out there. The seats of the auditorium were completely filled. The huge floor was packed with happy, loud people dancing to the music of their youth.

“Okay, Sharon, just stick with us and you’ll be fine. It’ll be fun!” I heard a male voice say behind me. I turned to give him a wary smile and discovered that, in keeping with the Madonna concert type, all four of them had taken off their shirts, revealing muscular, fit upper bodies.

Oh, no.

What the heck had I gotten myself into?

I’m just a mother of three and a teacher! I don’t dance with shirtless men who are not my husband in front of hundreds of people! Even if it is in the middle of an ocean!!

But what could I do? At that very moment, I heard my name announced as Madonna and was pulled onto the stage. The lights shone in my eyes. The crowd was cheering. The music was starting and it was loud.

For the next two minutes and forty-three seconds, I had a kind of out of body experience. I felt like I should be on a show called “Mommies Gone Wild”. I wished I were a drinking woman, to be honest. It probably would’ve made it easier. But, knowing that if I acted shy and uncomfortable, it would be uncomfortable for everyone and excruciating for me.

So I cooperated.

Nothing raunchy, nothing inappropriate, just me trying to pull off the single most crazy thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was hideous.

Just imagine reserved me. Sunday school teaching me. Prancing around the stage and acting like I do this sort of thing all the time. I think my husband never loved me more than in that moment he saw shirtless men dancing with me in front of hundreds of strangers.

The NEW me.

I had kept my promise. I was given a small trophy and crazy applause at the end of the show.

And I was only recognized once during the rest of the week, but on the cruise channel in everyone’s cabin, they played highlights from the party all throughout the week. My alter ego just kept showing up for days.

So ladies, be careful when you make promises to yourself. You just never, ever know what lengths you will have to go to in order to keep them. May your inner Madonna be given a voice someday. Even mamas have to step out of our box every now and then.