It’s a chilly Sunday afternoon and Bill and I happened across the best dance scene ever… Patrick Swaze and Jennifer Gray grinding in Dirty Dancing. She was 27 and he was 34 (in real life). Today Jennifer is 56 and sadly, Patrick passed away from pancreatic cancer a few years ago. But that’s real life and who needs to think about that in the midst of the hottest dance scene ever. (Fast forward into this link to 2:36 minutes and enjoy).

When I first saw Dirty Dancing, I had a one year old and the blossom was off my rose but that didn’t diminish the thrill of watching our favorite dance/love scene.

Tucked in on a weekend afternoon, 30 years later, we watched Gray and Swaze perform their sensual mating dance and still, our hearts skipped.

This was not an orchestrated romantic afternoon for us, but it turned out to be the perfect finish to last night’s ideal birthday celebration.

Here’s what happened the night before…

Let me preface this by saying that Bill seems to have a knack for surprising me with new ways to celebrate my birthday.

He told me we were going out with our ski buddies (4 other couples) and he would clue me in on the details as they unfolded.

At 6 pm he sent me upstairs to put on a dress that he’d bought as we were meeting up with the gang in 20 minutes.

disco-nightWhoah…let me just say that was a first. Bill doesn’t buy me my clothes. I know there are husbands who are really into this but Bill is not one. So I was surprised to see a flimsy dress that looked to be a V-necked tunic shirt – not long enough to even be called a dress. It came with a matching sash. I looked at the label, “do not wash, do not dry clean, 100% polyester…made in Vietnam.”

I believe this would be considered a “disposable dress.”

I put it on…it fit. “Well done Bill,” I giggled. “How did you know this would fit?”

I decided with all the glitter and swirl on this ultra flammable mini dress from California Costume, I would accessorize a bit.

I pulled on a pair of Wolford black fishnets that make everything feel like a party and looked purposefully disco. I added suede black boots (no white patent leather Go Go boots in my repertoire), and tied the “sash” around my head. The dress was too short, at least 6 inches above knee, to hike up any further with a sash. I was instantly transformed into a 60’s Hullabaloo dancer. (Remember that show)?

My husband’s eyes’ twinkled as I came downstairs. “Perfect, you look great.” Honestly, I felt pretty awesome.

We drove 20 minutes and Bill escorted me into a dancing school.

“Honey, welcome to disco night,” he laughed feeling quite smart.

discoIn walked the four other couples; one up-doo, the rest coiffed for a party, all short short dresses, disco glitter,, and an Olivia Newton John sequined jump suit from Kohls. The men were all  Vinnies …. Vinny 1, 2, 3 & 4 … heavy chains, dark glasses and polyester shirts unbuttoned to the navel… reminders of why that fashion has not re-emerged.

We all couldn’t stop laughing and were totally into our “looks.”

Our teacher, Tiffany, started us off with the Hustle, and we attempted to channel Travolta. Saturday Night Fever was a far memory but we tried anyway. We quickly moved onto Salsa. We were dressed to go wild but there were dance moves that needed to be learned. We tried to mimic our teacher’s micro moves, some of us more successful than others. It was hard to tell if we had any potential  but we were undaunted.

After about an hour, someone asked about the 2 poles in the middle of the room. (That someone might have been me).

“Do you teach pole dancing?”

“Absolutely, we do,”  and Tiffany, our dance teacher, teed up the music.

The women grabbed onto the poles and the men pulled out their I-phones. It was hilarious. We were playing at dress up, playing at disco and now playing at pole dancing… it was a blast. Nothing too racey, but definitely not a waltz.

The plasticity of our outfits brought on our menopausal hot flashes but we were unstoppable.

Marisa Tomei’s X-rated performance in the The Wrestler flashed into my mind and I felt intimidated by the possibilities. I looked at the pole and knew we were going to have a PG relationship…which felt wild enough.

Truthfully, the pole was just the most cooperative dance partner ever…a brilliant device.

It was the best birthday night ….we had pushed the edge of our salsa and our hustle and we had all entered into forbidden territory in tandem.

I looked over at Bill watching us swinging around our poles and laughed. Hey there “Johnny” I said. I think I heard him whisper “No one puts Baby in the corner.” His eyes twinkled. The surprise had worked.



Great Idea For A Surprise Party After 50? was last modified: by

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