Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner, or In Which I Combine What Should Really Be Two or Three Posts Into One
When I was thirteen, I had an exceedingly active imagination, and an abiding fear of boys. I give private school the credit for both. I was not one of the cool kids--I'm still not one of the cool kids--and I had no hope of being one of the cool kids, since the cool kids were wealthy, aloof preppies and I was not wealthy, aloof, or preppy.
The movie "Dirty Dancing" came out when I was somewhere around that age. Johnny Castle and his sweaty bronze back muscles and 1960's hair and Baby and her high heels ignited my poor little pre-teenage libido. Because Baby was just barely out of high school, and OH. MY. GOD. She was having S-E-X. Sneaking around and illegal abortions and sex, and did you see the way they were dancing? She's squeezing his butt and he's touching her boob and OH. MY. GOD. She is ONLY five years older than me. FIVE.
The next five years featured...well, not a lot of sex, or sweaty bronze back muscles, or bad boys taking me by the hand and announcing to my father that Nobody puts Molly in the corner. In that regard, "Dirty Dancing" was not exactly prophecy for me. Scared of boys, remember?
But it was cathartic, if you had access to the transcripts from my inner monologue. Oh, the hormones. I treated "Dirty Dancing" like the screenplay for what my first romance would be like. Nothing would ever seem as shocking again--until one of my real-life friends had real-life sex for the first time at fourteen, in a scenario most un-movie-like.
I was disappointed to discover that most of my romantic life would bear little to no striking resemblance to any movie at all. Maybe "The Exorcist."
I was flipping through channels tonight--digital cable, I love you like Baby loved Johnny--and there it was, in all its late-eighties glory. I picked up the story where Johnny and Baby were dancing on the log out in the woods. The great seduction scene, where Baby implausably asks Johnny to "Dance with me" in his cabin, seems infinitely less racy now than it did when I was thirteen. So does the infinitesimal glimpse of the side of Patrick Swayze's ass.
But there's something about that movie that is the pinnacle of delicious guilty pleasure for me. I enjoyed every overwraught moment I watched, in a way that few other movies can replicate. It must be nostalgia. Nothing ever seems as good.
Next Tuesday, I will have been married for three years. I could not hope for a better husband or friend than the one that I have. I could spend the next two hours writing without pausing about Dan and why I am so utterly crazy about this good, sweet, kind, adorable, funny man. I will tell a story instead.
I work for a perfectly lovely woman who does not always make sense to me. Recently, the perfectly lovely woman who I don't always understand hired (at her own personal expense, I later learned) a very expensive fung shui consultant to advise her.
In adjusting my fung shui, I had to move to another office, where my desk would not line up with the toilet in the restroom across the hall and in which my desk had to be turned to face the west. My walls, which were a neutral, unoffensive shade of peach, were painted lavender. My window blinds had to be adjusted so as not to stab me in the back. And a lavender octogon and three coins were placed under my telephone, for reasons unknown. For awhile in silent protest of what I thought was total folly I unhooked my phone, stuffed it under my desk, and put the Pink Cell phone on top of the coins and octogon instead.
In an act of desperation earlier this week, I googled "fung shui fertility." Lord love a duck, that was a hard sentence to type. I am thoroughly embarassed to admit that, but I'm not pregnant yet, and hell, it probably can't HURT me, right? It took me a couple of days, but I finally admitted this to Dan.
Instead of laughing at me--which is what I would have done, because I'm clearly not very nice--Dan asked me what suggestions Confucious-Google had to offer. I told him that we should not dust--oh, my poor allergies--in the bedroom and particularly not under the bed, to place a vessel like a large vase on the north wall opposite the bed, and an oscillating fan in the northwest corner. It also recommended a piece of bamboo--maybe for the vaguely suggestive phallic quality. (When I was writing that last sentence and blanked on the word "phallic," I asked Dan for a word that was suggestive of a penis. He said, "phallic," and then he said, "I'll take crossword clues I hope to NEVER get for a thousand, please, Alex.")
When I came to bed last night, a shelf had been cleared on the bookcase for a beautiful raku-fired vase that my mother bought me several years ago at the annual Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Christmas show, an effort to cheer me up shortly after being diagnosed with a chronic illness. Balanced on the treads of his Tony Little Gazelle in the northwest corner of our room was a fan. "I don't have any bamboo," he said regrettfully. "We could go to Eastern Market on Saturday and buy some though. Whatever it takes."
So, to Dan: thank you for the last three years, and the almost-two-years before that. Thanks for understanding why, even though I've seen "Dirty Dancing" roughly a ho-jillion times before, I want to watch it again. Thanks for understanding why, even though I don't totally, I am so obsessed with having another baby that I'm quite sure I've become tedious to almost everybody around me, and certainly to myself. Thanks for being the sweet to my spicy. For all the encouragement and support and respect and laughter and willingness to take a risk--I am so grateful.
At thirteen, I wanted to be a writer and have a husband and a baby and live in Alexandria, Virginia. I am thirty-one now, and I am a writer and because I'm thirty-one, I can grasp the concept that when you're a writer, chances are, you can't afford to live in Alexandria, Virginia. But I live across the river from Alexandria and I can go there whenever I want to. With my husband and my baby. And my minivan. Thanks, Dan, for being willing to jump on board a dream I'd always had, and come here and live this life with me. Thanks for embracing it. Thanks for making it your dream too.