In A Beautiful World

When I was sixteen years old and just beginning to go to parties, I could not for the life of me comprehend the moping wallflowers. We’d be hanging out in someone’s parents’ ritzy living room and Prodigy or whatever would start tinning through the boombox, and suddenly a boundary would be formed: the people who wanted to dance, versus the people who wanted to lean– or talk, or stand, or make out, or whatever it is that people do when music is playing and they don’t know what to do with their arms.

“So, wait. Do you like music?” I would ask them, tiny lasers of condescension searing from my eyeballs. Pew, pew, pewpew! “Because I thought you liked music. But I find it really hard to believe that you like music, if you don’t want to dance to it.”

They would look at me helplessly and shrug.

This is not to say that I was a good dancer, or that I was cool, or that I had any right to be condescending to anyone. I’m sorry. I had pant legs which could have each made their own secretary skirt, and this was in 1999 (read: fad over). I was dancing to “Smack My Bitch Up” with one other girl I’d convinced to join me from theater AV on your parents’ oriental rug, while everyone else was splashing in the pool, or watching some sexy movie on the big screen in the rumpus room. I was wriggling in my gigantic pants and snaking my hands to the ceiling like some kind of druggie wannabe. I shouldn’t have been a jerk about it.

But honestly, I didn’t understand: did you like music, or didn’t you?

Lately I’ve been feeling those same sixteen-year-old feelings again. It is summertime in Boston, and I am traipsing up staircases in The Dance Complex to practice with walking canes which Sugar has dolled up to look like gigantic joints for our “Gin and Juice” number with Richard Cheese on July 1st. (I can’t get over his cover of Creep, which is arguably better than the original, if you hate to cry). It is probably going to be the most wonderful thing in the entire world. I texted Brendan on my way to rehearsal: “Is it just me, or are these the best days of our lives?” He responded: “We are the few lucky souls that know that we will remember these days forever. Starting right now.”

There is such joy in this. I am still not a good dancer, but I don’t understand: how can you say you love dancing, if you don’t take your clothes off while doing it?

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