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The first lesson ended abruptly. The speed with which the dance floor emptied reminded me of that commercial in which a drop of high-tech cleaning fluid is added to a tank of dyed water and, in an instant, the water becomes clear.

"Hey, Marissa's here!" Jane said, as her friend made her way toward us. "Oh, great! I knew it! See her belt buckle? I knew she'd wear one. I should have gotten those boots."

I was responding to Jane's comment when Marissa reached us. "Yeah, this from the woman who shot an M-16 in 'the cutest little green jacket!'"

"Well, I was the best-dressed person at the shooting range that day," Jane said defensively.

"You guys are so funny," said Marissa. "You make up the craziest things."

"She's not kidding," I said, reflecting on the morning two months prior, when Jane called me to brag about her sharpshooting apparel. I had seen the green jacket of which she spoke -- it really did look cute on her.

Marissa made a face to indicate she thought we were trying to pull one over on her. So Jane busted out her American Shooting Center card.

Dad took advantage of Marissa's bewilderment and added, "You didn't know your best friend was a gun person? She's got 'NRA' tattooed on her ass!"

"Dad!" Jane said, looking around to gauge how many people might have overheard the joke. "The next lesson is about to start," Jane said, deftly changing the subject.

Dad remained where he was, less than a foot from the dance floor, sipping a bottle of beer and keeping an eye on three purses and two jackets. Marissa, in her four-inch copper lamé heels and that fabulous belt buckle over her blue jeans, took the spot to Jane's left. I, in my black sweater and black pants (covered in silver buckles and zippers), stood on my sister's right. Jane, in a glittering black tank top and dark blue jeans over pointy black boots, maintained a confident stance in the center, trying to suppress any thoughts of her missing accessories.

The three of us stepped forward in sync as the instructor called out, "One, two, three, touch!" I found the moves to be much more entertaining when I pretended I was performing the country version of Riverdance. Though the second lesson was set to a hick/techno sort of mix, I longed for hard house beats and spastically gyrating bodies.

"Hey," said Dad, when the second dance had ended. "There's this exhibit over at Limbo gallery focusing on the problems with presenting the gay male body in popular contemporary culture. Want to go?" Jane and I exchanged a smile.

"Dad?" I asked. "Are you sure you're not gay?"

"I'm straight as an arrow, Girls. But I love my little gay neighborhood."

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