Iron Bitch is at the dance. The Spanish Ballroom, from the 1930s, in Cabin John, Maryland. Live band, 400 insane swing dancers and no alcohol.

It is summer. Guys bring three t-shirts. It's nice to change one when the sweat is flung off during twirls. Iron Bitch loves to dance. It's the one time she is ok with following. A novel experience, following. Even following there is room to improvise. Not this twirl, that one. A double instead of a single. Sometimes no twirl, even though one was led.

She is wearing the basic black gored skirt. Good twirling material. She has the opaque black thigh highs on, with the spray of black feathers spread on each upper outer thigh, like a hand print. Black velvet tank top which would steam if the air weren't already saturated.

Iron Bitch's next dance is with Big Boy. She spots him. As they move through the flow of dancers she also sees Smooth Dude. Their eyes meet. She holds up one finger. He gives his head a quick shake and holds up two. She nods. The dance etiquette is to reserve a dance in one or two songs; no one does three because no one can remember. It must fly from the head when twirling and flipping up in the air.

"Hey," says Big Boy. The song starts and their hands meet. He knows a lot of moves. Twirls her and does a tunnel. Not that many people know how to do a decent tunnel. Iron Bitch keeps her elbows bent more than usual.

"Loosen up," says Big Boy, giving her arms a shake.

"No!" snarls Iron Bitch.

"Whaddaya mean, no!" says Big Boy. He nearly stops. They finish the dance and stand glaring at each other.

"No." says Iron Bitch. "You throw me too hard. I dance defensively with you."

"What?" says Big Boy.

"Raise your arm over your head." Iron Bitch stretches her hand as far as she can. She is 5'3" and 130 lbs. Big Boy is 6'2" and she'd guess that he's at least 220. Or more. His hand is well above hers.

"You pull my arm up too far when we spin and when you twirl me you throw too hard." The next song has started. "I keep my elbows tight with you to protect my joints."

Big Boy is looking at her like she's a snake.

"Here. Give me your hands." says Iron Bitch, attempting patience. "Now, don't throw as hard and don't lift your arm up so far. I will follow the lead better if you don't throw me." They dance. He is frowning, but he is much more careful. Iron Bitch loosens her arms gradually and by the end of the dance it's easy and light. Big Boy dips her.

"Much better," she says.

"Thanks," he mutters.

"Welcome." Iron Bitch remembers. Smooth Guy is next! She scampers off to find him. He does that twirl into a cuddleup: ah, so sexy and intimate. She hopes the band plays something good.