Love and Dancing
April 20, 2008
I seriously almost cried just now, watching the Bay City Rollers sing “Saturday Night.” Don’t get me wrong – losing 185 pounds of stupid fat in the form of throwing Satan’s Retarded Little Brother out of my home is the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. I’m just mourning my youth, I think – or more like lamenting the loss of what I thought my life was going to be like. There’s one of them “double edged swords” for you.
I was a youngster in the days when Disco was cool and great fistfuls of John Travolta’s chest hair were considered damned sexy. I was young and naive enough to believe Disco, like CHIPS, was permanent. If you traveled back in time and talked to my 9 year old self, you’d probably want to punch me in the face. I would encourage you to do that, too; Somebody needs to knock some sense into me before I start sporting that FeMullet in 6 years. But I digress. I was all over the disco stuff, as much as a prepubescent could be.
In fourth grade, Vicki “The Bitch Who Would Ruin My Life ON PURPOSE in 7th Grade” Y. was quite the fan of the crazy sound that was rocking the airwaves, too. She even went so far as to write a really crappy three act play that was set in a discotheque and it revolved around three pretty young things hoping for their Last Dance for Romance. In a move that could be easily be misconstrued as oddly feminist, every character written required ovaries. I will explain to you now that getting the boys in my 4th grade class involved in a play (that also includes dancing,) involved basically the same Sysiphean effort as getting those same 4th grade boys to play Barbie Dolls. I unsuccessfully tried to accomplish both. I still have a scar on my left arm from what I like to call the “Chris G. Skipper Incident.”
So Vicki wrote her not-really-feminist manifesto and even got permission from our teacher, the oldest and most sadistic woman living at the time, to stage a production for the entire class. Because it was my 15 minutes to be Vicki’s best friend that week, I was given the covetable role of “Darla,” the character not quite a pretty as “Anastasia,” the girl who will have every boy panting and excited and begging to dance with her. Vicki would be playing Anastasia, and I sincerely doubted she’d be able to fill her other myriad duties of director, producer, prop mistress and all-around Hitler-like dictator with itty-bitty-breasts a-budding. I didn’t want to see her “fail,” per se, but I did want an opportunity to get my hands on the script which included very little actual dialogue and no discernible plot whatsoever. Seriously, Act III read something along the lines of, And then they all show up and have some pretty colored drinks and dance. Anastasia has a fight with Robbie. They make up. The End. From about halfway throught the first page, the whole thing became less of a “script,” and became something more of a “suggestion.” The quiet writer inside of me at that time was deeply offended.
It was my foolish insistence that people watching a play might want some plot or, at the very least, decent dialogue that doesn’t contradict itself and involves more than the phrase “Let’s Dance,” regurgitated like bad Lo Mein at five minute intervals that proved to be my downfall. Even our peers, who would have gladly swapped their Star Wars trading cards for what was shaping up to be a three hour long production of Saturday Night Nothing if it meant the Succubus of Room 114 couldn’t torture us with more fractions, would be pelting up with our oversized copies of Your World and You twenty minutes into it. Vicki did not take my suggestions as being “constructive.” She felt I was challenging her authority and “acting big.”
So she fired me.
I then spent my recesses watching her and Karen R. scheme and whisper and practice disco dancing. And while I longed to be a part of her group again, I yearned for something more: to be grown up, to be desired, to be feminine and graceful, dancing all night with someone who found me irresistible. This is the mind of a young girl at its very worst and its very best. And tonight, when I heard the Bay City Rollers singing about dancing on a Saturday night, I didn’t immediately feel sad because I am sitting in my bed, wearing boxer shorts I stole from my son when he outgrew them and an “I’m With Stupid” tee shirt that serves no real or clever purpose, except to insult the dog on the bed next to me. I didn’t feel sad because I am 39 now, and at home on Date Night and watching something on VH1 about female rappers wearing tiaras (a truly, Joy-Specific WTF Moment if ever one existed,) and sharing slightly stale Pringles with the cat.
I just felt kind of badly for the 9 year old me who really expected so much more than what she got when it came to dreaming about love and dancing. Oh, I don’t feel too badly for her; she’ll live in Paris and New York. She’ll travel extensively. She’ll meet people who will help her be successful, people who will love her and people she will love, but she’ll never be the Queen of the Disco, and I know, in my heart, that’s what she really wanted.
Just so you know: Vicki’s play closed before it ever opened, due to the fact that you can’t scotch tape tin foil onto a soccer ball and expect it to look like anything other than some sort of sad joke. We went back to playing jacks at recess, which suited me fine, because I could get to tensies and around the world in my sleep. Disco, as we know, began to suck and it wouldn’t be too far in the future before I heard the sound they were calling “punk,” that spoke to me more and on a deeper level than the BeeGees ever did.
But it might have been nice to have been Darla, the not “as pretty” one, with three or four spoken lines and a scripted grace.