Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner

by Tom Swift

Pssst: I have a secret.

You can’t tell anyone — not a soul.

The other day I, um, watched Dirty Dancing.

Yes — the whole movie.

Of course, the original. What kind of question is that? The only version that should be allowed by law. The one with Swayze. And Jennifer Grey’s old nose.

No — a woman didn’t put me up to it.

What do you mean how did this happen? I just started watching on a break from work and, you know, one thing led to another.

All right, all right: It’s hard for even me to believe this … much less admit it … but … I … um … totally dug it. OK? Are you happy: I liked Dirty D.

Sure, the premise is a bit shaky. Here you have a seemingly packed club of young, gorgeous people who spend all their free time dancing yet not one of them can step in when the featured female dancer needs to step aside one night.

Yet when you let that go — when you accept that Baby is really going to go for it — all is redeemed. The training montage is sweet and sexy. There are actually some surprisingly moving lines of dialogue, the characters remain believable, Swayze is Swayze, Dr. Houseman (Jerry Orbach) is the man we hope all fathers would be, and during the final dance you realize that here is a woman who is living one of her moments.

And that is what life is — isn’t it? — it’s ten million ordinary, disposable moments broken up by a rare few that you carry with you forever. Moments that shape you and change you, moments that cannot be sought or reached again, save for in memory — in fleeting feelings that make you smile without knowing that you are.

I do not imagine that Johnny and Baby make it outside the walls of the resort. They don’t live happily ever after. That is not the point. And the resort itself — it’s days are probably numbered. Baby probably goes on to do good work in a helping profession, probably marries a solid guy who makes decent money, has two or three kids, runs the PTO, and hosts an outstanding Thanksgiving each year, and never again has sex like she had that summer.

She may find happiness in life but deep down in places she doesn’t talk about at the cocktail parties she is required to go to as part of upper-middle class life she experience occasional bodily twinges of what it means to be who she is, exposed in front of the world, moving her body fully in rhythm with the music, being totally fucking alive.

OK. Yeah. Sure. I know. Chicks movie.