A Country & Western Dancehall Japanese Romance

The Mabo and Jimmy love story could best be described as a Country & Western Dancehall Romance. I describe the romance in this way because the entire romance, leading up to the day we moved in together, was relegated and limited exclusively to that dancehall. There is a reason behind this; you will understand fully as the story unravels.

A Country & Western Dancehall Romance by Jimmy Belasco

There I stood on the side of the dance floor being fully entertained by a Power Ranger doing the most energetic version of a Country & Western line dance you have ever seen! Every person around him, on the sidelines and on the dance floor, was smiling and laughing at his antics, which just fueled him on even more.  His energy and joy was epidemic. It was Halloween 2011 at The Round Up Saloon & Dancehall. I remember thinking, “Now that is the type of person I need in my life!” – someone who is overflowing with joy and happiness! In fact, that was at the very top of my list of qualities I would state when calling forth the person I would share my life with. So, I can honestly say, because he was hidden behind his costume and mask, the very first thing that attracted me to him was his happiness and energy.

I didn’t officially meet him until a week or so after that Halloween night in 2011. When I introduced myself, I remember thinking that he was one of the most adorable people I had ever met. He had such a thick Japanese accent that I had to ask him to pronounce his name a few times. He finally said, “Mambo, like Mambo #5.”He used to say this to make it easier for people to understand, or come closer to what his name (nickname) actually is – Mabo.

“Do you know how to lead?” I asked him, and he didn’t, and neither did I.  So I missed out on being able to dance with him that first night of meeting him. We both had recently learned how to dance and all either of us knew how to do was dance in the “follow” position – don’t laugh, yes, I was a follower.

The next time we saw each other, maybe a week later, he came up to me and asked me to dance and I said, “Remember? We have been through this, neither of us know how to lead.” He pulled me onto the dance floor, “Come on, let’s figure it out.” And so we did. He courageously back-lead me around the dance floor for our first dance, which went much smoother than I would have imagined.

At that point in my life I had been celibate, by choice, for nearly 3 years. I had been healing from the end of a 14.5 year relationship, which happened to also coincide with the beginning of the collapse of my most recent candle company, Jimmy Belasco Soy Candles, when the bottom fell out on our nation’s economy in the beginning of 2008. During this healing period I chose to not do anything with anybody until I felt something, something other than just a primordial sexual urge. I was waiting for that spark of magic – something that touched my heart. I actually felt that spark while dancing with Mabo on that very first dance.

For the first time in over 3 years I found someone with whom I really wanted to go on a date. As we worked our way around the dance floor on our very first dance, I just had to ask, in fact it just popped out of my mouth (I don’t have much of a filter), “Are you in a relationship?”. I was hoping his answer would be “No”, but crushingly his answer was, “Yes…”. He told me he had been in a relationship for over 3 years. What a letdown! Before I knew it I was blurting out the following, “If you ever find yourself NOT in a relationship, I would like to be the first person to take you on a date.” Luckily, he was not offended by my lack of filter and wildly inappropriate presumptuousness. So we simply became the occasional dance partners. As the weeks and months went on, I would casually ask him if he was still in his relationship (because I had yet to meet or even see his elusive partner), and his answer was always a simple, “Yes.”

Dancing for me became my drug. I was coming out of the darkest period of my entire life and all of my troubles simply melted away when I was out on that dance floor. So, I would be there dancing up to 5 or 6 evenings a week. Mind you, I wasn’t working at the time because my business had closed and no one seemed to want to hire someone who had been an entrepreneur for the past 20+ years. So, I had all the time in the world to focus upon this newfound peace & happiness on the dance floor. I fully credit the time I spent at that dancehall for pulling me out of my dark period. And luckily for me, Mabo was also using this as his form of escape.

Did you catch that?

Why was Mabo always at the dancehall?

From what was he escaping?

Why was his partner never there with Mabo?

The suspense and the tension builds… 😉

After that first dance with Mabo, I remember specifically making the decision to begin learning how to dance in the lead position so that I could dance with him. Prior to that dance, I had no motivation to learn to lead. It was nice to simply “follow” and let someone else lead me around the floor. I have always been the leader of groups,  projects and companies my entire life. For me, at that time in my life, being a follower on the dance floor was also a great exercise in “letting go“.

But, the time again came for me to take the lead position in my life. As the weeks and months went on I became a very proficient lead – thanks to Mabo. It might also sound a little silly, but this helped me to build back my confidence.

There was something universally appealing about Mabo – he is one of the happiest and most energetic people I’d ever met. He possesses one of the main qualities I was looking for in a mate – someone who had the ability and capacity for GREAT HAPPINESS! Other than the darkness I experienced in those most recent years prior, I have always been someone who could see the silver lining in nearly any situation. I had always had incredibly more happiness in my life than sadness.  I always wanted to find someone who was as happy as me or happier. With Mabo – I found the happier factor.

Since we were both at the dancehall nearly every night, we found ourselves in each others arms on the dance floor more and more. I found myself looking forward to seeing Mabo and dancing with him each evening. The more we danced together, the more I became attracted to him. And all I knew was that he seemed to come find me more often than not – and I relished in the attention.

At first, as the stories tend to go, we simply became dance partners. As the months went on, it became obvious to me that the relationship he was in wasn’t very happy. In fact, as I learned from one of our many talks on the outside balcony of The Round Up, Mabo was very unhappy. Mabo’s partner had switched his focus elsewhere… and so had Mabo. There was seemingly no love left in that relationship, and it was apparent to anyone aware enough to notice. As their relationship became more and more distant, Mabo and I began to fall more and more in love… on the dance floor.

As I mentioned at the very beginning of this story, when I describe the relationship as dancehall romance, I literally mean it. Our courtship had to take place in that dancehall. You see, Mabo’s partner at the time had a GPS application linked between their phones so they could “keep track of each other”. Though, If Mabo varied one block off his path walking back home, which was just a couple blocks away from The Round Up, he was questioned about it. So, this is why the entire romance had been limited, geographically, to The Round Up Saloon & Dancehall.

By around February and March of 2012 it was becoming pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that there was something building between us on the dance floor. I remember promising Mabo that I would respect the fact he was in a relationship; there was a line that I would not cross. The line got blurry one night around April.  Mabo blurted out, “I love you” and his good night kiss was more than just a friendship peck. The line had been crossed and it wasn’t me who initiated it. At that moment, for me, all gloves were off – I would no longer contain my feelings for Mabo.

By early May, we had both fallen madly in love with each other and were expressing it on the dance floor and verbally to each other on the balcony or the evenings I walked him home. Though, in actuality, we were never “alone” and able to cross any additional lines. Our romance and courtship remained rather innocent, limited to what we could express in public.

It was around that time in early May I told him that if he was willing to take the steps to end his unhealthy relationship – I would be there waiting (hell, I’d waited over 3 years to that point, what’s a little longer). Though, I also told him that I wouldn’t wait forever. I knew if he had the strength to walk away from his unhappiness, he was who I wanted in my life. And on the converse, if he wasn’t a strong enough, then obviously, he wasn’t the one for me.  So, I left the ball in his court to do what he needed to do.

The Round Up Saloon and Dancehall became our world. Luckily for us, Mabo’s boyfriend didn’t like hanging out there…and the dance floor was ours…until Friday night May 31, 2012.

Before I get to that night, I had to endure one of the most gut wrenching periods of my life. One night, and this would have been in early May, shortly after I told him that I would wait for him to make his choice, he dropped a bomb.

Mabo, due to his culture or his personal sense of honor and loyalty, felt as if he needed to give his relationship one last try. He needed to see if there was any love left between them. I knew that this was the right thing for him to do, but it tore me to pieces hearing him say those words and then hearing myself agree with him. Several weeks went by and we would still see each other at the dancehall and dance and talk as if nothing had changed between us. From what I could tell, he seemed to still be in love with me. I remember it making my heart beat a little faster when I would hear glimmers of hope that he wasn’t feeling any love from his partner – even though his partner was giving it a “good old college try”.

On May 31, 2012, Mabo and his partner showed up to dance at The Round Up. I could see that his partner was trying to fit into Mabo’s world. I kept my distance. As the night progressed, one of those romantic songs came on and Mabo made a b-line over to me and asked me to dance.

“Are you sure? He is going to see us – I cannot hide how I feel when we dance.” “Jimmy, this is our dance floor; I want you to dance with me as if he is not here. If he sees, then he needs to see.

I mustered all of the courage I had, completely let go and focused all of my attention upon Mabo and that dance. We danced with passion around that dance floor. I danced as if it might be the last time I had the chance to dance with Mabo. It was truly beautiful. As I picture it now, I envision doves and flowers twirling around us on the dance floor… I know that sounds silly, but that is what it felt like.

And “saw us” he did. Before I knew it I saw Mabo being lead by the hand out of the dancehall, trying to wave goodbye to me. He had this horrible look of apprehension on his face.  I was actually very nervous for him. His partner was 6’6″ and weighed at least 300 lbs – Mabo is 5″6″ and probably 1/2 his weight. If his partner ever became violent – he could do some serious damage. I also headed home… I had a sick feeling in my stomach.

I was left with this complete feeling of helplessness. I couldn’t help Mabo and I couldn’t help the position in which I had put myself. I didn’t know if Mabo would choose to focus upon his partner – or if he would eventually leave him to be with me. I felt as if Mabo was the right one for me, the one I had been calling forth. I really wanted him to be THE ONE – but honestly, it all depended up him… and that made me sick to my stomach.

What didn’t help my peace of mind was the fact that I had been counseling (non-professionally) two of my friends who had fallen in love with people who were in relationships – and neither of those situations had a happy ending. I understand that most people in a love triangle will end up staying with their original partner – happy or not. And since I was dealing with Mabo’s sense of honor and loyalty, I wasn’t sure if he would stay with that person out of a sense of duty.

Shortly after midnight I got a call from Mabo and he was crying,

I did it, Jimmy, I did it…

Did WHAT?! WHAT DID YOU DO?! ARE YOU OK?!?

At that point, I was in near panic mode. And I couldn’t quite understand what he had begun telling me due to his tears and his broken Japanglish.

Mabo, calm down and tell me slowly – what did you do?

I ended it with him.”

You WHAT?

“When we got home he tried to be amorous with me… and I couldn’t, I just couldn’t. There was nothing there. I told him ‘NO’ and that I no longer felt love for him.” “What? and then…what?” “Well, he then asked me if there was someone else and, ‘…is that someone else Jimmy?’.”

I told him, “Yes, I’m in love with Jimmy.

The tears began to flow and my heart began to sing. Even as I write this the tears are welling up in my eyes.

I said, “Where is he now and how did he take it?” “He was actually rather calm. We talked about it for a little while and then he left.”  “Where did he go?”  “He probably went to the bar.”

“OK Mabo, now listen to me. If he comes home drunk, he will not be the same person who calmly walked out the door just now. He is going to be PISSED OFF! I would rather you not stay there – I don’t think it would be safe for you. PLEASE, let me come pick you up!”  “Jimmy, it will be fine. I am tired and I just want to lay down. I will sleep right here on the sofa.”  “Please call me if you need help. I will be right over and you can stay with me.” I was absolutely sick to my stomach and near out of my mind with worry.

I hung up and my head was reeling. My happiness for us was completely clouded over with my fear for him!

At around 4 am I was awaken by a call from Mabo. Oh sh*t!

“Jimmy san, I am so scared!” as his voice was considerably shaken. “Are you OK?!”  “Yes, but I am really scared! He did exactly what you said. He came home drunk and sat on top of me on the sofa and started pounding into my chest. He had CRAZY EYES! I was afraid he was going to throw me out the window (5 stories up)! He started throwing all my things out into the hallway and yelling… I am REALLY afraid!!!”  “Grab only what you need and meet me downstairs on the back side of the complex! I will be there in 10 minutes!”

Mabo came home with me that night and has been with me ever since. Luckily, his partner calmed down and acted rationally in the times they had to meet up to gather the rest of Mabo’s things.

_________________   end of drama mode ________________

Just over a year and two months later, we got married in Provincetown Mass on August 9, 2013.

Mabo is the embodiment of every single character trait and personal moral quality I had “called forth”. I have never had someone who fits so effortlessly into my world and mine into his. We are “on the same wave length“, as Mabo puts it.

We have a beautiful, happy and loving relationship.

Oh, and we still go dancing 2-3 times on average every week at The Round Up Saloon & Dancehall . This gives us something we both love to do together and we get to fall in love on the dance floor again and again. It truly does help us fall deeper and deeper in love, we both feel it.

Here are some helpful hints for those of you still looking for love.

My first advise would be to stop LOOKING for love. Love will find you and it will do so when you least expect it – and when you are ready for it.

During my healing time, the period that lasted 3.5 years, I purposefully focused solely upon the qualities of the person I would want to share my life with. I didn’t put an age, I didn’t put a face or a “type”… all I focused upon were the qualities that person would possess… and I patiently waited, knowing that person would some day appear in my life. I stopped looking for love.

Every time during that 3.5 year period of my life when I began to feel “lonely”, I would stop myself and focus upon the qualities of the person I wanted. I fully understand, and have seen it manifest in my friend’s lives, that if we focus up being lonely and if we are sending out the vibration of “lonely”, you will only be able to attract someone who will make you more “lonely”.

Lonely begets lonely.

By focusing on the qualities that I was calling forth, I would draw to me the person who shares those qualities. I also focused on myself as being those same qualities.

I fully believe that we are a mirror to those we are with and visa versa. If you keep attracting the same kind of people, then take a look at what you are sending out…take a look at yourself. Would you date YOU? Honestly, would you date someone who was like yourself? If the answer is NO…then start becoming the person you would want to date.

You may have heard or read the saying from Gandhi, “Be the peace you wish to see in the world.” Well, what about this, “Be the partner you wish to be with in this world.”

peace, love,

Jimmy

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