Patrick Swayze is beautiful, and I am in so much trouble.

Oh, that was interesting. 

A week or so ago a pang to watch long-time favorite movie, Dirty Dancing, came across me. I probably haven’t watched it in a decade, but that doesn’t change my feelings. It is one of the movies burned in my soul. Other soul-brandings include Love Actually, When Harry Met Sally and White Christmas. I’m sure there are others. I’m getting off track.

I never make time for frivolities such as movies. TV shows… occasionally. But never whole movies. So I added it to my to-do list. Literally. “Watch Dirty Dancing… with Gabi.” I amended it with that last little bit to give it virtue. When the opportunity presented itself, I made sure to drop an Instagram to mark the occasion.

Showing this to Gabi for the first time.

No fewer than 20 women liked the post. Not counting Facebook and Twitter shares. It is a film very near and dear to our hearts. 

I am so glad I watched it with Gabi. We laughed together. We talked together. I paused it so we could have a very basic conversation about abortion. I paused it another time to explain the intricacies of human sleezeballs. My friend Susan saw online that we were watching it and sent this link that I read once the movie was over. 

Dirty Dancing is a subversive masterpiece and here are four reasons why

 GAH. Yes! She makes a lot of points that I was discovering as I watched the movie. She also wrote it a whole lot better than I’m going to be able to. Just go read it and then understand I agree with every single word. ::I’ll wait::

Done? Good. This is helpful.

Sunday night we’re watching this movie while hoping that it will leave an impact on my daughter like it did me. I clearly remember watching it 6 times in a row one day at my dad’s house. Like….play, rewind, play, rewind, play, rewind, play, rewind, play, rewind, play. (Gimme a break, there was no cable or game systems.) I looooooooved it. But seeing it on Sunday, as a fully-grown adult, I saw some other things, too. I saw landmarks in the movie that shaped who I am. Crazy!

I’m reasonably certain that my liberal roots can be traced back to Dirty Dancing. I am a first generation liberal, y’all. I never remembered where I got it from. I can’t say I got it all from this movie, but holy shit….I didn’t get it from my parents or grandparents (…maybe by Grandma Gladys, though). Or aunts or uncles or neighbors. Or teachers or clergy or grocery store clerks. Where I grew up, at least in my narrow experience, the liberals were non-existent (either through silence or true non-existence). But there Baby was, talking about social justice. Teaching compassion. Standing up for what was right, or at least what seems right to me. I guess on some level, I needed to be Baby when I grew up. This was a good thing.

I’m reasonably certain that my bias towards certain kinds of men/relationships came from this movie, too. For the good**, for the bad. But to be watching the shy and awkward Baby set her sights on the unavailable man and draw him nearer to her, well, that was illuminating. Maybe we all do that? But I have a pattern of seeking emotionally unavailable men. Not all of them have been, but most have. It’s part of why I’ve been on dating hiatus for the last 6 months. Chasing the impossible is a pattern which needs to stop — my heart can’t take it anymore. Oooooh, and Johnny is the slightly broken guy who doesn’t believe in himself. She rescues him and makes him want to be a better man. I’ve been there more than once, too. 

Dirty Dancing taught me to be codependant! 

Not really, but it was a interesting tour of my psyche. At the end of the day, though, I have power over my decisions and my life. I’m not really upset about my past mistakes anymore. It is more like that it’s interesting to take out the pieces and examine all the cracks and imperfections, then place them back into the box and slide the package back onto the shelf. I’m learning more every day and making better decisions. Like a wise man recently told me, “Once you know better, do better.”

In the meantime, my daughter walked into the kitchen Monday morning and said, “Hey mom. I carried a watermelon.” 

** The ‘good’ is that I recognized that Patrick Swayze is the genesis of a certain kind of hunky type I’m repeatedly attracted to. But I’m attracted to all sorts of types, so this didn’t really need a whole paragraph. It was just funny to me. 

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