Tina

At 17 I learned to partner-dance, and it was spectacular.

It was 1998, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies were popular for some reason, and I was friends with a lot of Mormons, so naturally I needed to learn to swing dance.

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 1.54.08 PM.png

As happens more often you would think, our high school lunch-club of nerds included one girl who was, traditionally-speaking, hot.  Her name was Tina, and she was blonde, slender but curvy, and she dressed like a biker chick.  She had a tendency to date older, bad-boy-type guys.  I don’t remember how she met our Dungeons-and-Dragons-class gang, but I’m guessing she reveled in the male affection that the soulless hard-asses she dated never gave her.  We certainly gave it to her in abundance – she was sweet and kind to the core.

So I wanted to swing dance, and I don’t know how I got it in my head …  maybe because she reminded me of Traci Lords’ character in “Cry Baby” – the Bombshell Drape.

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 1.53.56 PM

Maybe I sensed that she was just off-beat enough to be into it.  But one day, in the quad at lunch, I asked Tina if she wanted to take swing dance lessons with me.

Tina practically melted.  “I always wanted to learn that,” she gushed, and it was settled.  We found a teacher who gave lessons out of her house and signed up.

Over time I became a pretty good swing dancer.  I only went to two lessons with Tina.  Then, because it was inexplicably popular, the high school jazz band hosted a swing dance.

It was packed.  Tina and I knew about two steps, which was two steps more than the majority of attendees and in Tina I had the hottest partner, and everybody knew it.

It didn’t last long.  The swing fad faded, and in true nerd fashion I hung on to it, because, unlike fad-chasing, swing dancing had potential to be fun in the long term.  I was swing dancing into my thirties, and could probably still cut a rug to “Rock This Town” if my tango training hadn’t become senior.

Tina drifted away, as high school friends sometimes do.

When I next encountered her a few years later, visiting home from college, she was clearly anorexic.  She used to fill her jeans in the best way; now they hung off of her like a tent.  Her lovely blue eyes had become bug-eyes protruding from a face that looked like a skeleton.

She was still the biggest sweetheart, and remembered fondly our swing dancing and wished she had kept with it.  Then she went back to playing pool with the dead-eyed biker she was dating.

She gave me such a gift.  She gave a lot, and kept none.

Do you have a Tina?  Who captivated you and never knew it?  Who gave more than they took?  Who deserved more?

First posted August 17, 2016

Advertisements

One Reply to “Tina”

  1. So poignant.

    On Thursday, September 14, 2017, PAUL GREENAMYER wrote:

    > jorgleach posted: “At 17 I learned to partner-dance, and it was > spectacular. It was 1998, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies were popular for some > reason, and I was friends with a lot of Mormons, so naturally I needed to > learn to swing dance. As happens more often you would thi” >

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s