Nobody puts Baby in a corner ….


I caught the original “Dirty Dancing” movie last week – purely by accident.

One of those situation where you click the television on, there is a flickering image of Patrick Swayze in too tight black pants.  With an alarming high waistband dancing, and you can’t help yourself as you start to blink a bit slower, your eyes widen and you park your rump on the couch for the next 90 minutes, trundling down memory lane.

Dirty Dancing appeared on-screen when I was in Standard 8 (It was released in 1986 or 1987), and though I was not really a Patrick Swayze fan (I recalled him from the TV series North and South). I, like every other 14 year old, was riveted by his coolness, his slick hair and his “bad boy” attitude.  Swoon!

His eyes are a touch too small for my liking, but one was willing to forgive the details for the sake of the overall picture.

I thought that Johnny Castle was suave, cool, a bit of a bad boy and pretty much worth sitting through a rather long dance-a-thon to catch a glimpse of him doing the pelvic thrust.

I was in boarding school in Standard 9 and Standard 10.  I recall this video playing on a loop nearly every afternoon in the television room.  I sat through it at least 8 times, there were girls there who watched it 2 or 3 times per day for how ever long it ran, until the video cassette broke or the video recorder just gave up it’s life.

The music was extremely easy to sing along to.  The dance actions were nothing I had ever seen before and the movie was one you could watch a few times, and still fall in love all over again.

I watched the movie through fresh eyes last week.

When I saw the movie the first time, I saw it through the eyes of “Baby” as I was closer in age-on-screen-not-age-in-real-life to her.  Her teenage angst, and the love affairs that turned into absolute all-encompassing-life-struggles resonated with me.

Now I look at it, and I am looking at it from Baby’s parents perspective, and a little of the magic is lost.

I wonder how thrilled I would be to be woken by my daughter in the middle of the night to assist her friend (whom she met at the hotel) in her botched abortion.  Remembering that she borrowed money from me to assist her friend in getting the abortion.

I would be seriously questioning my child’s ability to confide in me, and her ability to make good decisions in clearly what was a very adult situation.  I would sh*t myself that this was all happening and my daughter was now embroiled in a “staff issue…”

I am thinking about how thrilled I would be to find out my seventeen year old daughter is sleeping with the dance instructor.  And has spent the last three weeks sneaking out of her room to do it in his rather shabby cabin that features no toilet or running water.

Can you say “Pack up and end this holiday instantaneously!”

I really get a cold shiver.

Often when Kennith and I are sitting watching something, and it is all movie-magic-stuff, I get this chill and I think “hey what if that was our daughter.”  Unfortunately it takes the shine out of most things and makes us both pull a face that makes us look like we just sniffed a donkey’s armpit.


Dirty Dancing is a great movie, and I enjoyed it as if I was seeing it for the first time.

It did unsettle me how my perspective has changed, and I am no longer the dizzy, drunk on love teenager, but now the suspicious, cautious parent who worries about what their child and the idea that they would be shtoinking the dance instructor takes much of the magic away.

This parenting malarkey is not so much fun as the magazines makes it look!