Last night, Elly and I went to a club that Beth’s company had rented out for the night. The website exhorted women to “wear whatever you want…as long as it’s sexy!” And there I realized my first problem: I’ve gradually been phasing “sexy” out of my wardrobe. Unless the early nineties fashions come back in, when glitter tops were the height of style, I’m kind of screwed. Mostly what I own now are pajamas — and not even the sexy kind of those.
Anyway, I threw on something that, if not sexy, was at least stretchy, and we limped our way to the club in our pinching boots. (Pinching is still sexy, right?)
I was okay while the three of us stood in the corner with our drinks, yelling a polite conversation — I am a champion corner stander — but once the dancing started, it took less than a minute for me to realize something: I am old.
First, I kept trying to chat with people while dancing. Each time I opened my mouth, I knew this was not the right thing to be doing: for one thing, it was impossible to hear; for another, cool girls lose themselves in the substandard hip hop and salsa music, they do not become chatty Kathy when there are beats which must be grooved to.
Second, if I ever knew how to dance, I’ve forgotten it now. I sucked down a gin and tonic in search of pot courage, but all I found at the bottom was a mangled lime on ice. As I twitched awkwardly, I was plagued by the image of a giant, stretchy-top-clad fish struggling at the end of a long fishing wire of humiliation.
Finally, somewhere in the past four years I stopped thinking of myself as primarily a pretty girl. I used to be able to get through these situations with a few desultory shimmies, displaying the merchandise as it were. Now I have no merchandise. If they had let me write something instead of dance I might have been all right, as long as it was about dogs, but the option was not presented to me.
Disheartened, I finished my drink and ran off, a classic Kristen move. I walked halfway home, passing through a small homeless encampment and a cloud of jasmine scent, nodding to a transvestite in sparkly heels. Finally, my blisters rising like the moon, I hopped into a cab.
“Do you think you are ever too old to dance?” I asked the driver.
“Too old?” he said, astonished. “No! Music is everything. Music is life. I dance all the time. Sometimes as I am driving.” He executed a tidy little seat dance to demonstrate. “Perhaps you are too old for a place or the persons you are with. Never to dance.”
We stopped in front of my building, and he waited, ignoring the angry cars behind him, while I shimmied, twisted, and mashed-potato’d all the way to my door.