I was in junior high when “Dirty Dancing” was big. And lemme tell ya, that movie was a revelation.
BFF and I loved that some of the oldies our parents listened to – and by extension, we listened to – were suddenly cool. And another close friend had a pirated VHS copy of the movie and watched it every single day after school.
Personally, I spent my afterschool times listening to the radio, waiting for “She’s Like the Wind” to come on. Then, I would put down my homework and stare off into the distance. Sure, I was an awkward tween with glasses and braces and a perm. But somewhere out there was a Patrick Swayze lookalike who compared me to wind.
Wind, which is the flow of gases. Somebody thought I was mega-gaseous and mega-amazing.
All of this is lost on my sweet husband, my boy-man of a life partner who is five years my junior. We have a movie deficit for the years 1986 through 1999. While I was devouring “Dirty Dancing,” he was into all the Ernest movies. While he was watching “Jurassic Park” with his junior high classmates, I was seeing no movies because I didn’t have a car and there wasn’t a theatre within walking distance of campus. Also, I was broke. And too busy drinking beer.
When I went away to college, my husband was in junior high. JUNIOR HIGH.
So, I guess this is being a cougar. We make fun of each other’s lack of movie viewing. And we occasionally force each other to view movies of the “Ohmigod I can’t believe you haven’t seen this” ilk. This means that I recently saw “Varsity Blues” for the first time.
My Guy was really enthusiastic about this movie. “I can’t believe you’ve never seen it! You love football! You will love this movie!”
And I did. I enjoyed it like you enjoy store-bought desserts. Tasty, but probably not worth the calories and not the best ever. But fine.
However, “Varsity Blues” did leave some unanswered questions.
I would like to know what high school football program would allow a student to take over head coaching duties mid-game and then would allow another student to have bottles of beer on the field after a big win. What town is this? What is happening here? And isn’t glass dangerous? Wouldn’t it at least be cans? Where did the beer come from? Was it in the trainers’ ice chest? Does that mean there wasn’t enough water? Were the players dehydrated? Is that safe? Why was James Vanderbeek’s girlfriend so grouchy and anti-football all the time when she came from a football family? What high school boy would turn down a girl in a whipped-cream bikini? And, the biggest question of all: What high school actually has a teacher that moonlights as a stripper in the same town?
I guess these queries don’t occur to 19-year-olds viewing the movie because My Guy was completely taken aback. Watching the film as an adult was a totally different experience.
“Uh, these are all good questions, but … they won the game! Didn’t you see, they won the game?” he asked.
Clearly, he was working hard to hold on to the “This movie is AWESOME” experience of his youth. He had no desire to look at “Varsity Blues” with the cold eyes of an adult.
I let it go. I didn’t want to ruin it for him. And besides, this is probably why I haven’t watched “Dirty Dancing” lately. Why was it OK that all these people were infantilizing this teenager by calling her “Baby?” Didn’t her parents notice she was gone all the time with those ruffian dance kids? What in the world is Johnny going to do in the winter when he’s run out of dance money and eating ketchup sandwiches? Or will it not matter because he’ll be in prison for statutory rape? Because you can’t tell me that Jerry Orbach is just going to let Patrick Swayze get away with this, no matter how well Baby executes The Lift.
I’m great fun at parties.
What movie of your youth has lost some of its sheen in the cold light of adulthood?