I grew up in the small town of Chatsworth, California. You may know Chatsworth as the porn capital of the world, but I know it as the sleepy suburban horse town where the hottest nightlife is a bar called the Cowboy Palace. Unfortunately, I moved away from Chatsworth before turning 21, so I never got to experience the Cowboy Palace. So for my sister Kyrsti’s birthday, I decided it was time to go back.
We drove to Chatsworth on a rainy Thursday night after work. I wore my black Texas cowboy boots, and my sister wore her best plaid shirt. We started by carbo-loading at Sergio’s, my sister’s favorite local Italian restaurant as a kid. We were the only two customers in the restaurant and got served by Sergio himself. I was a little sad to see the place so empty. We made sure to tell Sergio about our special trip across town just for a bite of the Florentine pizza, which I highly recommend to anyone who makes it out to Chatsworth.
After dinner, we headed down the street to the Cowboy Palace Saloon. I was nervous after reading negative reviews about the owner, an older woman dressed in a pink tutu who does not tolerate two left feet on the dance floor. When we walked in, I was relieved not to see anyone fitting this description.
A live band was performing on the stage in front of a large confederate flag. The handsome fiddle player seemed to lure Kyrsti onto the dance floor like the Pied Piper, past the warning sign, “Dance at your own risk.” As it turns out, she is a natural at line dancing. Before long, a cowboy named John approached her and offered to teach her the two-step.
Soon I had a silver-haired dance partner, who taught me the steps too. The two-step is a fun dance that allows you to keep your personal space when your partner is a strange cowboy. However, my dance partner seemed to be purposefully confusing the two-step with the tango. I could hardly stand after he led me through a series of spins and dips. I was into it.
As the night winded down, John told us he had to get home to feed his horses, but he did not go without dropping some wisdom on us. He said, “Line dancing is the ugly girl’s dance. Always dance with a man if you can help it.” Lesson learned. We plan to go back to the Cowboy Palace soon with more friends. I guess that means we’ll have to learn to ten-step.
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