Dirty Dancing

“Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

~ Johnny Castle (Dirty Dancing)

I always wondered what happened after Johnny plucked “Baby” from that corner and they were done with that last dance. Did they make it?

We got the pay-off in the form of Johnny asserting his position for his girl, experiencing the feel-good pleasures when our bad boy came back for our protagonist. Our hearts fluttered and soared as he mouthed the words “I’ve had the time of my life. No, I’ve never felt this way before” while holding her close. Yet, as the credits rolled out to the catchy tune, I found myself somewhat mystified.

Call me a stick-in-the-mud if you must, but I was never completely sold on that romance. The chemistry between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey lingered somewhere in the sludge I’m playing with, getting my hands dirty while seemingly bagging the movie.

In the context of relationships, chemistry is a simple feeling people get when they share a special connection. It’s that underlying impulse and need to see the other person again, to be close to them – a romantic spark. This is the part between the characters that I felt wasn’t conveyed through the screen. 

Having said that, I must somewhat digress. Just a little. I’m thinking of the scene where “Baby” shows up at Johnny’s doorstep after her father saved Penny from certain death following a dodgy abortion. Johnny tells her he’s never met anyone like her, that she’s not scared of anything. Her response gets me every time when she says:

“Me? I’m scared of everything; I’m scared of what I saw, of what I did, of who I am. Most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.”

Sigh.

That is one great dialogue delivered with just the right amount of vulnerability. You can grumble all you want about not being a romantic, but if that line doesn’t make you feel something, then perhaps your heart is caked with a thick slick of that mud you thought I was stuck in.

Need some help getting clean?

The truth is, I’m not writing about Dirty Dancing today because I wanted to talk about romance or sexual chemistry. Despite my personal take on the on-screen chemistry (or lack thereof) between Patrick and Jennifer, the romantic “coming of age” love story hit the archetypical “forbidden love” romance conventions superbly, making a gazillion dollars worldwide and going on to become the first film to sell more than a million copies for home video.

Obviously, something worked. Maybe it was that line of Baby’s. Or the undeniably hot dancing scenes, which let’s face it, sizzled up movie screens and temperatures the world over. Someone pass me the ice as I gear up to tell you something strange.

Strange things. Other than people, the universe is always communicating and responding to us in some way. It may sound a touch on the “woo-woo” side and whether you believe or not is your thing. But it’s when you begin to tune into yourself and the energy around you that you start to become aware of the most uncanny and wonderful things happening for you.    

I hadn’t thought about Dirty Dancing for the longest of times, yet now, it seems to have become something in my life. At least, temporarily. No, I’m not planning on taking Mambo or Salsa lessons, or writing a romance novel any time soon (I’ll leave the romance writing to Catherine Evans). It’s just that suddenly, this romantic 1987 American flick has begun to shadow me and I’m not entirely sure why.

It began a few weeks back when I meandered to the couch with my plate of dinner and flicked on the TV. Dirty Dancing flitted onto the screen. This is the only time I might actually watch something on TV, and only for the length of time it takes for me to finish eating. It was good enough to grab my attention for that snippet of time.

I felt something shift slightly within me. When you become attuned to the universal consciousness, your inner reactions to your senses are a telltale sign to pay attention. Still, I switched off the movie after about 15 minutes and thought no more of it.

Fast forward one week and I experienced a repeat. That’s right. I grabbed my dinner, made for the couch, turned on the TV and there it was again, Dirty Dancing. This time, I’d caught the above-mentioned scene; Solomon Burke’s Cry to Me caught somewhere in my chest as I bit my lip and turned off the TV. 

Gets even stranger. I downloaded the album so I could hear that song again. Only, that track isn’t included on the iTunes soundtrack (true). But, She’s Like the Wind is, and it grabbed my attention, so I listened. When the song traveled from my buds and into my ears, what happened was something I’ll never forget.

The following day, that same song was playing when I stopped by my local store to pick a few things, and ever since I downloaded the album, my iPad has taken to randomly playing She’s Like the Wind all on its own. Which has never happened before. Like, ever.

My mother often wonders why stuff like this occurs in my life. I tell her it’s not that the signs aren’t there for her, but that she’s not paying enough attention to catch onto them. When we make a conscious choice to become aware of and push beyond our preconceived ideas of the world, we begin to open our mind to perceive and receive more information from a greater intelligence. And I can’t begin to convey the appreciation I feel to be able to tap into this part of our world.

As these beautiful unseen forces are currently slapping me in the face with a bit of the Dirty stuff, I can’t help but wonder again what had struck me so long ago when first watching the movie. After the summer spent at the Catskills Resort and it was time to return to the “real world”, did Johnny and “Baby” ever make it? Was their love strong enough to overcome the obstacles they would have had to face?

I guess we make up that part of the story as we go.