“How are you going to meet anyone if you don’t get out there and let them know you’re available?” is the gnawing chant of every mother whose unmarried daughter has thrown in the proverbial towel on dating. “You’re such a pretty girl with so much personality. You’re smart. You’re funny. Who in his right mind wouldn’t want you?”
When my clenched jaw finally began to relax, it started, the feared motherly advice and tales of her single days. “When I was a girl…my girlfriends and I would go to the mixers.” (Mixer: a word which describes a social function, youth group picnic, sock hop, USO gathering, singles dance, or commonly known as torture for the reluctant participant). Mom handed me a flyer that said “SINGLES DANCE, Ages 25-45.” Then the pitch, “You should go. I’m sure you could get a group of gals together. You could meet Mister Right or at the very least have a nice evening out.” When I rolled my eyes, my mother’s tone changed. “You’re so picky. You’re going to have to lower your standards. You’re not getting any younger you know.”
Could she be so wrong? The woman who bore me, raised me, would she steer me wrong? So I called a few girlfriends. They laughed. I went alone.
When my eyes adjusted to the strobe light and mirror ball I glanced around the room in an attempt to identify my competition. There wasn’t any. Most of the women there were charter members of the Unibrow society. That is, due to genetics and an ignorance of basic beauty maintenance, their eyebrows met at the bridge of their noses and there was no obvious delineation to separate the two. Like their mothers and their mother’s mothers, many of these women stood tall at five feet and had been blessed with enormous rear-ends, thunderous thighs, mountainous bosoms, frizzy hair, and noses that you would have to pay a toll to pass under. I had never felt so beautiful or so tall as I did that evening. After a good look around the room I had come to the conclusion that the dance must have been sponsored by the sister group to Parents without Partners, Single without Choice.
A springtime bouquet of wrap-around cha-cha dresses, and fluorescent ankle strapped pumps lined the perimeters of the dance floor. It was obvious to me that many of these women were experiencing their first pair of high-heeled shoes. Some of the ladies were limping around. Some were attempting to gracefully stand in one place while shifting their weight from one foot to the other. When I listened carefully, I could hear the chanting of the anti-pain mantra, “I’m not in pain. If I concentrate, I can overcome this crippling agony.” The crackling sound of cheap suntan colored pantyhose rubbing together was deafening as the more aggressive women pushed and shoved each other in an attempt to position themselves in the line of vision of a potential dance partner. Sparks were bound to fly.
I searched the room for “Mister Right.” He wasn’t there. The selection of men consisted of a few who looked to be about thirteen years old and the rest looked old enough to have known George Burns as a child. If I had intended to be in the company of this group, I would have gone to a Bar Mitzvah.
The few men who fell into my generation consisted of two who had creatively combed hair-flaps, loud floral polyester shirts, gold plated medallions and tight “Stayin’ Alive” guess-if-I’m-circumcised-disco-pants. Another wore an ill-fitting sweater vest and Sansabelt slacks. Another man’s body odor was so bad that it could be seen. One was picking his nose and, another had what seemed to be an uncontrollable tick. He would thrust his right hand downward and grab his crotch while giving each woman a wink as she limped by.
The thumping K-TEL base coming from Mister Party Magic’s mobile disco caused my organs to jump around inside of my body. The vibration was causing an urgency equal to that of a serious bladder infection.
Everyone’s eyes were focused on the center of the dance floor where a dance challenge was taking place. The Potta-Potta verses the Latin Hustle. The competition was fierce. The sound of crepe-soled business-casual slip-ons squeaking across the floor was deafening. In unison, the “regulars” slapped their thighs, clapped twice, executed a half turn, kicked and then did the combination arm-flap heel-click maneuver. It was something to behold.
Personal hygiene standards forced me to turn down offers to slow dance with sweat soaked men. I guess that I had insulted one leisure-suited man when I said no to his offer to “boogie.” He looked as if I had just struck him with a rolled-up newspaper.
He barked, “So you don’t want to dance huh? Then what the hell are you doing here?”