However, it would’ve been difficult to re-create a frequent coup d'état from the junior high dance years. And that was my knack for snagging the ideal dance partner upon hearing just the first three notes of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” In particular, the extended version.
You didn’t want to be sidelined or stuck with just anybody during this 10-minute slice of slow-dance nirvana. I should send singer Bonnie Tyler a thank you note.
My dance partner of choice in seventh grade was a girl who'd suddenly and quite noticeably become a strobe light on the radar of every junior high male, having previously hidden under large oval glasses and an intimidating aptitude for math.
I'm convinced puberty and contact lenses could knock Earth off its axis.
For a brief window of time before she exclusively dated guys with beards, this blossoming young woman was my date to a church Valentine’s banquet, and personal Ginger Rogers for Anything Melodramatic Top 40. Let’s hear it for the boy!
“Boy,” in this case, was dead-on. Because my height did not come early. Hers, however, arrived by expedited shipping.
At thirteen, I was still physically eleven. And it wasn’t helpful that any clothing purchased for me during this time still featured "room to grow."
At one particular dance, I was wearing a button-down Ralph Lauren Polo Oxford shirt featuring sleeves that extended to my knuckles. Yet it didn't stop me from landing my partner of choice. Leaving the dance floor expecting a high-five from a classmate envious of my prowess, I instead was met with a stingingly accurate “You looked like you were dancing with your mom!”
Right about that time is when I stopped enjoying dances.
For me, overall, a dance ban would've been like hearing the news that junior high coaches could no longer divide gym class teams into “shirts” and “skins.” (Was I ever a “shirt?”)
In hindsight, I should’ve embraced my perennial winning of this Skins Lottery. Today, I imagine it would've been funny to get a series of creepy, temporary tattoos. Then when my inevitable fate was cast in gym class, I'd peel off my shirt, produce a cigarette out of my armpit, and mutter “Let’s do this, ladies.” That's a bit I could have embraced in exchange for exposing my inebriated, pasty white frame.
Ah, but we were talking about dancing.
You may recall that "Total Eclipse" singer Bonnie Tyler also had a big hit on the Footloose soundtrack? I think we're done here.