Rick's Gabfest with Gertrude
Written by Rick Archer, March 2006
Gertrude smiled. "When did you first discover how
effective your dance classes were at creating
I have made this discovery at two different times, but
the most dramatic moment came during
the 1999 Christmas Holidays. This
is when I totaled up the web site wedding
and engagements announcements for the very first
You see, when I published one or two announcements a month,
that was nice, but I was definitely not seeing the big
picture. Then one night I went through the
yearís stories on my web site month by month. When I added
up the web site numbers for 1999, I came up with 24
marriages and engagements. I just stared at this number
Weddings and Engagements in one year!
Holy smokes! Wow!
This was the moment when the sheer enormity of what was
happening here at SSQQ dawned on me. 24 different couples
in the space of a year had made the biggest commitment of
their lives and SSQQ had played a major role.
This felt like such a wonderful
I could not believe I had never really noticed this before.
For twenty years
I had always known the studio had a great track record at
creating marriages, but that was more of a subliminal
The number "24" continued to shock me. It's sort of like an
athlete who sets a record and thinks to him or herself, 'You
know, I thought I was pretty good, but I never realized I
was THIS GOOD!'
All kinds of light bulbs began to explode!
thunderstruck. For the rest of their
lives, these 24 couples would hold my dance studio
in their thoughts as the place where it all started.
quite an accomplishment! I felt like I was
being told, 'Rick, this is why you are here.'
I got goose bumps all over. I
got chills. At the exact moment when I stared at
1999's list of 24 marriages and engagements for the
first time, it was like a Yogi's moment of
To me, this was
like God saying, "Rick, this studio is your duty."
I admit this was
the moment when I started to wonder if there
was a divine hand
guiding the studio. Now if you are a skeptic, this mysticism stuff must be hard to swallow.
Mind you, there weren't any white lights,
burning bushes or angels
playing harps in the background. Nevertheless,
to me, this realization carried the same importance
as a religious awakening. For the first time,
I felt like the studio had an importance that
transcended dance lessons.
There have actually been several times where I have
noticed the studio
has a glow about it that defies explanation. I
have always felt like SSQQ is 'charmed' in some way.
If you know anything about the
history of the studio, you might be
the unusual number of lucky coincidences over the
years that have helped the studio grow.
Indeed, the early part of my dance career was marked by one
lucky break after another. It often seemed like sheer
Magic. Now for the first time, I felt like I had been
put in this spot for a reason.
Most people wander around their whole lives asking the
question, 'Why am I here?' Not me.
In an instant it became clear I had a role - I believed I
was destined to help the studio create relationships.
you so surprised at that total? I mean, surely you had some
sort of inkling."
You might wonder why it took twenty-two years of business
for this reality to sneak up on me, but it isn't really
difficult to explain.
You see, SSQQ is a dance studio. I get paid to teach dance
lessons. For twenty-two years, I was running a dance
studio. I saw myself as a businessman. I spent a
lot more time writing articles on Policies and Refunds than
I did on 'Romance'.
But now it was quite possible I was missing the point.
I had discovered a pretty serious clue that suggested I had
been put in this role because I had a special talent to help
The studio was contributing to 2 marriages a month and we
weren't even trying!! Good
grief! What would happen if we tried??
That's when I decided to try a little!
During 2000, I took my Matchmaker role very
seriously. I wrote articles like this one, I paid
close attention to the SSQQ Newsletter, and I got involved
with as many people's lives as I could.
At the end of the year I added it up. We had 32
couples get married or announce engagements.
2000 was the
finest year in the history of my studio. The
energy was unbelievable.
At the end of the
year, I wrote an article titled "Millennium
Romance 2000". This was the
story where I first announced to the world about my
hunch that SSQQ was the 'Romance Center of Houston'.
I was so proud of my studio I could burst!
It wasn't just me either. I had matchmakers
all over the studio. Every time someone would
announce an engagement, my instructors would fight
amongst themselves to take credit!
Of course Rachel Seff (Koenig) claimed every one of
them. I think she should be called 'Yenta'.
She loves introducing people and making things
In that way, she is much more aggressive than I am.
Rachel is my role model.
"Have you ever checked out your claim about being Houston's
maybe that's something you could do for me. Perhaps
you could contact our friends like Ms. Dooley at the Houston
Chronicle. I imagine the Houston Chronicle would have the
resources to do a better job than I could. Plus maybe be a
little more objective in the process. Just do me one
favor. Tell them not to do like it the Houston Press
does and have people phone or email in their votes. That's a
popularity contest. Any huge church group with the
ability to "get out the vote" could win easily.
Tell them to do it by the numbers. I have the studio's facts
and figures published in bold print. Anyone in the
contest should be expected to do the same.
SSQQ didn't 'win', it would not diminish the studio's
accomplishments in any way. We are still going to be up
To me, itís just like the old line about Earl Campbell.
Houston Oilers football coach Bum
Phillips once said, "Earl
Campbell may not be in a class by himself, but whatever
class he's in, it doesn't take long to call roll."
If SSQQ isnít Houstonís Romance Capital, we are still
pretty darn high on the list. Ē