My dancing career began when I was 6. I was enrolled in ballet. I hated ballet. It made my feet hurt and the lady who taught it was an underfed, stringy haired, grumpy troll. My passion for dance reared its graceful head when I was in front of the t.v. with my Solid Gold Dancers. I would shake my booty harder than Beyoncé, I swear. Now I dance around my house with only my daughter to witness my awesome-ness. She gets embarrassed and pleads with me to stop. That’s how good I am (she’s obviously jealous). My daughter doesn’t realize, but she’s even more talented than mom. She will twist and flip her hair in time to Disney music videos. We encourage her, telling her she’s amazing, better than those dancers on t.v. (we may be exaggerating).
When she busts those moves out at her high school prom, she’s gonna hate us forever.
In college I got to practice my funky moves at The Marquee. The Marquee was a pathetic dance club. There was never any one there. I loved it more than dancing with my Solid Gold Dancers. They played Goth and Pop-Goth (I’m making that genre up) pretty much every night. I was an adult, and I could go every night if I chose. I also could wear pajamas, because that’s what adults do. They go dancing in their pj’s and sometimes straight from their printmaking class, donning their inked up overalls. I was hot. Extremely hot. The gay boys flocked to me like flies to a rotting steak. That probably wasn’t due to my hotness though, it was likely a result of my cute gay friend, who didn’t know he was gay yet. Or at least, he hadn’t said it out loud. In reality, there were no boys flocking to me, and oddly enough, that was just fine. To me, dancing like a dead fish and getting my white-girl-overall-wearing groove on was joy on earth. Like now, when I go to the gym. I would fall over dead if someone hit on me. I go there to sweat. I go there to listen to J. Lo where no one will judge me for my decomposing musical taste because she’s singing in my ear buds. I am a nasty work out lady, and I used to be a nasty dancing college girl.
Wow. Totally doesn’t sound right.
The point is, I wasn’t there to meet boys.
And then, what should appear before me but a strange, cute, apparently straight, blonde boy, who reminded me of a short Woody Harrelson. Maybe Woody Harrelson is short. I don’t know. He never returns my calls, so we haven’t actually ever met.
“What are you, from Nebraska or something?” was his opener. This was not creative, it was because I was wearing my overalls. Alas, I was intoxicated and didn’t remember wearing overalls (I had probably intended to change into my formal flannel pj’s), so I laughed like the mature adult I was.
“Tee hee! (nope. I don’t actually laugh like that. I guffaw like a drunken pirate. It’s not pretty.) What do you mean?” I said, showing off my new and improved college girl brain cells.
“Why are you wearing overalls? Are you a farmer or something?” He asked, innocently enough. I mean, you do often see farmers getting their groove on to The Cure and Depeche Mode. With their gay friends. I see where he was coming from.
“Guffaw. Snort. No, I’m just dancing! wheeeeeeeeeee…..” and off I went to shake my baggy saggy overall butt, like the retired Solid Gold Dancer that I was.
He approached me again, a bit later, and asked if I was “with” my gay friend, the one who didn’t know he was gay, or was choosing to keep it to himself, but – even had he been hetero – couldn’t be blamed for not being remotely attracted to me.
“No no. We’re just friends.”
What happened next should have clued me in to how dense the boy was: he asked for my number. Because sometimes I am also dense, I forgot that you’re supposed to make one up, so I gave it to him. I was constantly doing this. I have a serious problem with lying. I once had a creepy dude at the park ask for my number when I was babysitting, after he told me he was staying in a half-way house (I don’t think he was looking for a babysitter). I gave it to him! And then I freaked out and wouldn’t answer the phone for over a month (this was prior to the invention of caller i.d. – we lived on the edge in those days, baby!). Darwin would be ashamed that I have survived.
The next day he called and asked me out (the boy from the club, not the possible sex offender from the park). I forgot that there are rules to dating and you are supposed to play hard-to-get. I brilliantly said, “sure” and we began to date.
I tried to play it cool and arranged our first encounter to be at a coffee shop so I wouldn’t get drunk and act like a flirty farmer. Again. Once we got there and chatted for about 30 seconds, we headed to a bar. I don’t have a great deal of will power. I’ve been meaning to go on a diet for 15 years. Still hasn’t happened.
He told me that he worked in a gas station. I instantly thought that was cool. I can’t explain my thought process, but I had obviously been drinking too often, and there was a serious lack of ventilation in that printmaking room. I was inhaling laquer thinner and mineral spirits almost daily. There also was a Pearl Jam song out at the time about a gas station dude. I blame you, Eddie Vedder (you and my shrinking college girl brain)!! I had never dated a blue-collar kind-a guy. I had been around trust funders and college kids and more than my share of well-bred gay boys, but no one that had EVER worked in a gas station. It felt so dangerous and new. Of course, it was really just because he was too damn lazy to stay in school. But lazy when you are 23 looks a lot like rebellious. Especially when your mind is confused with thoughts of Woody Harrelson. I think I had Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl in my head for the better part of 3 months. (yes, I psychotically likened myself to Christie Brinkley.)
We had our fun, although I kept ignoring the fact that he was the stupidest mother fucker I had ever met in my life. I liked having a boyfriend. Until he dumped me one day.
I WAS SUPPOSED TO DUMP HIM!!!
I felt like poop.
I still wore my overalls, but I didn’t feel like the fun, goth dancing farmer anymore. My sister was worried about me. My friends were worried about me. I called that boy over and over again, channeling my inner stalker. But little did my concerned loved ones understand, I wasn’t broken-hearted, I was pissed. He wasn’t good enough to dump me! What had gone wrong here?
The confusion blinded me for weeks, or maybe it was the fumes from the printmaking studio. My gay friend who didn’t know he was gay came out of the closet. We started dancing again. The club was even less happening than before my ill-fated Mr. Gas Station had wacked me upside the head with his Woody Harrelson good-looks and his dumb-stick. We had loads of room to dance away our troubles, all seemingly related to boys. And then I met my husband. No, not dancing in the Marquee. He was in my Anatomy class. He was a college boy. And he was a tall college boy. He worked in a Liquor Store. Obviously, more worthy of my college girl brain cells.
We were together about a year when I ran into Mr. Gas Station.
Fortunately, I was with my super-hot-husband-to-be, Mr. Liquor Store.
Unfortunately, I was working out.
Fortunately, I was still young and didn’t look nearly like the sweaty basket case that I now do when I exercise.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t show my man off, or bend over and stick my toned butt in his face, or even say “hi.” I was so angry, still, from being the dumpee instead of the dumper that I had to leave the gym before I threw a free-weight at his big forehead.
My heart rate was elevated. I was shaking and ready to do battle. My future husband came out to ask if I was okay. I told him that Mr. Gas Station was in there, and pointed him out through the glass door.
“Wow, he’s a lot shorter than I would have imagined.”
That might be why I married my husband. Well, and the fact that he never once has mocked my overalls. Or my pajamas. He does sometimes mock my unbrushed hair, but we’re working on that. No marriage is perfect.