Evacuate the Dance Floor

by Stephanie

So my dad and I were chatting tonight about me, my sisters and our weird dating relationship hang-ups. We recently found out that my sister went off and got married to some dude. Wow, that’s such a strange sentence, isn’t it? What’s really strange is that for me, it’s not strange at all–my family has never been very adept at social norms. Her doing a normal engagement and wedding-now that would have been weird. Then you factor in me with my near 27-year stretch of singleness, and my dad is left slightly befuddled. He told me that sometimes he worries about me and wonders why I can’t seem to grasp ahold of the most rudimentary human experience. I explain him that I often scratch my head and wonder if there’s something I’m not doing correctly. Or as almost all women do from time to time, I wonder if perhaps my appearance plays any role. But then my logical side prompts me to realize that I see gnarly looking folks coupled up all the time, so that can’t be it. I just haven’t crossed paths with the right sort of man yet, the kind of man who will complement me in all the right ways. And I told him that I’m perfectly content to wait until I do, or if not, I hear I come from a long line of nuns. And then we change the subject to the Pope’s recent comments on condom use and contraception. I quite enjoy our father-daughter relationship.

Did I ever tell you about the time I went to prom? Ok, so it wasn’t my prom per se, it was a prom for mentally handicapped teenagers. I was never cool enough to get dolled up to go to my own high school prom (I couldn’t find a date….poor, pitiful me), but I was involved with a religious group that would volunteer every year at the local school for “special” kids. We’d go, dance and liven the place up. It was actually a good event, and all the students there had a great time. I promise, it was not as patronizing as it sounds as I type this. Now, since I didn’t attend my own prom (and was not much of a dress wearer in high school), I had nothing to wear to the event, but a nice pant suit. Yeah, a pant suit. Well after fretting over my wardrobe failures, I arrived at the prom ready to mix it up. We had been briefed beforehand that the female students were quite shy, which meant that the male students would keep us busy on the dance floor for the entire evening. So I walked over to a boy who was standing alone. I couldn’t really tell what disability he suffered from, but I guess that’s irrelevant. Anyhow, I politely asked him if he would like to dance. And do you know what he said?

“No. I only dance with the pretty girls”

It’s ok–I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing. It’s pretty hysterical when you really think about it. As if I wasn’t already feeling insecure about how I looked. High school can be so rough.

Anyways, I was pretty shocked and devastated, obviously, so I sulked off, me in my pant suit, to wallow in my own self-pity. Well about an hour later, I look on the floor and see that same kid dancing with a girl with down’s syndrome, and I was….well…um…I was conflicted??? Ok, not confliced. My first reaction was “WHAT!?!?!??! Are you freakin’ kidding me??” But then, it occurred to me that what I was seeing was actually quite endearing, and I let it go. Besides my affinity for self-deprecating humor, I guess why I’m sharing this is to illustrate a point. Those two kids managed to find each other, so who’s to say I won’t be so lucky. Or something like that.

Wow, I am so proud of myself. That might be the least offensive version of that story I’ve ever told.

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