I wanted to be a part of it

Here’s what this is: it’s a sequin bowtie, used during an 8th grade talent show dance to “New York, New York.”  Not to be a braggadocio, but… it was the cool girl dance.

I became aware of the cool girl dances in the 6th grade, when a bunch of them did a routine to “It’s A Hard Knock Life.”  As the 10 or so cute, popular girls tromped around the stage adorably, throwing their rags down in sync and with sass, I sat in the dark in awe, like in that movie I’ve never seen, “Cinema Paradiso.”  Not being asked to participate in that was like death.

One long, terrible year passed, and I got my opportunity to get into the 7th grade cool girl dance (“We Got The Beat”)!  I think I was at someone’s house (Jennifer Roels?  Becky Lawrence?) when they got The Call To Join, and they were like “Christy Stratton’s here,” and I might have insinuated myself into the situation at that point.  I believe we went straight away to Bonnie Blossman’s house for the first rehearsal.  I said something like “Do you think I shouldn’t go?  I don’t think I was really invited…” to my friend in the car on the way over, knowing I had no plans to go anywhere whatever her answer.

Once at Bonnie’s house, Bonnie’s mom put us in an inverted “V” formation.  I had somehow managed to be put in the front of the “V” on the right side!  I’m not going to tell you that I was an amazing dancer, but I was good, and I did have lots of energy and excellent facial expressions — so it made sense.  But my excitement was short lived when one of the moms demoted me to second row.  Stacey Youngblood was moved in front of me, apparently because she was taller.  I wasn’t buying that — we were the same height and she was a terrible dancer.  But, whatever.  I should just shut up and enjoy that I’m in this thing at all, right?  I can tell you I did not.  I pissed and moaned about this as much as a 13-year old girl can.  But the moms’ decision was binding.  During the actual performance, I wore a ponytail that apparently bobbed and bounced, distracting from my good dancing and all the dancing, really.  I feel bad about it now, but I couldn’t help it; I really had the beat!

The good news about the following year’s dance to “New York New York” —  I was grandfathered in.  We went with a professional choreographer this time, and we rehearsed in a real dance studio, like the one in that scene in the “Bad News Bears,” a movie I did see.

But yet again I found a way to attract the wrong kind of attention: waiting in the hallway moments before we were to perform in front of the whole school (!), I realized that the pantyhose I was wearing beneath my fishnets was different from everyone else’s.  Mine had lines across the thigh — they were SUPPORT HOSE.  I had just grabbed some of mom’s pantyhose for my costume… why wouldn’t I assume that all pantyhose were alike?  Maybe no one would notice — perhaps distracted by our professional choreography and our sequin bow ties.  You can kind of see it here.  Horrifying.

I’ve seen better pictures, y’all, it was super obvious.  We were all standing next to each other in a kickline for shit’s sake!

I had to scrape and claw my way into these dances, and sure it ended up bringing shame upon me, but I made it, dammit!  I can’t just throw this thing away and forget who I was!  Or should I?

8 Comments on “I wanted to be a part of it”

  1. Heather Jackson says:

    I too was in that dance/It was that time if the month and I was too afraid to use a tampon therefore I had a gigantic elephant size stay free maxi pad between my legs during high kicks in a leotard! I remember feeling like I had 2 left feet and loaf of bread in my undies- I think the dance instructor said not to wear any so I had to hide the lumps and bumps. Oh the days of junior high!

  2. Robin says:

    I have a green sequenced bow tie, and cuff links from 9th grade. They’re part of my legacy. You’re welcome, children.

  3. Laura says:

    Love your blog! And love your transparency! As far as the 7th grade dance goes, at least you didn’t get kicked out of the group. It was supposedly bc I missed one of the practices (bc my grandmother broke her arm and I was at the hospital), but I think it was really bc of my less than stellar performance in “It’s a Hard Knock Life” the year before. I hope all is well with you. Miss you sweet friend!!!

  4. Craig Rodgers says:

    You still crack me up! Although, I now know way too much Heather because of you…

  5. Sandra says:

    Christy, your perception is SO different of your life compared to all of ours (Janet, Charla and mine). We always thought you were sweet, beautiful, funny and full of life — and you didn’t mind that we “stuck” you with Peter Tork! Plus, when we had the beauty pageants, you never pissed and moaned because you didn’t win every time. You were a great dancer when we made up all of those stupid dances (with Tim trying to be the choreographer) and performing them for our parents. (Charla and I always got in SO much trouble after those because my parents thought kids should be seen and not heard OR seen performing terrible dances to 70’s tunes!) But we always thought the risk of trouble was worth it because it was awesome to have 5 in our dance group instead of the normal 4 — thanks for always being willing to be our shining star!!

    • You are sweet, Sandra darling. But every 7-year-old is a good dancer! I agree that I was pretty adorable at 7. Then came the tweens with the bad eyes and the gnarly teeth and questionable hair choices. And P.S. Peter Tork was the most adorable of all the Monkees, everyone knows. 😉

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