The Owner: "You don't tap-dance, do you?"

The Owner: "You don't tap-dance, do you?"

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Maxwell Ryan
Mar 17, 2005
Coming to the city, I had heard so many board interview horror stories (“They turned down Lauren Bacall!”), that for my own board interview last summer, I felt like I was auditioning for an all-or-nothing spot in heaven. Not wanting to take a risk, I armed myself with a new costume: a sharp "outfit" from Banana Republic. I felt cool enough to go without a tie, but I was concerned enough that I ironed the shirt. To be honest, I had every reason to suspect that I would be grilled. I had only been granted this interview because my father had written a Maintenance Guarantee Letter on my behalf, which basically stated that if I ever flaked out on the building’s monthly fees, he’d pay my way. File that under “Swallow Your Pride." At the interview, after getting through the standard financial questions (ie. “How steady is your job?”), the board president jokingly threw in one last curveball: “You don’t tap dance, right?” Should I tell them? I moved to New York with a Broadway dream, and tapping is one of my skills. “...Uh, yeah, I do, actually.” Silence. They were stunned and for the first time, real concern filled the room. A pounding-the-floor tap dancer is the last person a board member wants living above them. Why didn't I just keep my big mouth shut? But I was lucky. The tension in the room broke when the president laughed, and I earnestly and quickly promised not to rehearse after hours. I don't quite know what did it, but I passed. In the end perhaps it was my "outfit" or maybe they just had a soft spot for a real tap-dancer, because they promised to come see me on Broadway. TF
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