Thursday, November 10, 2005

How We Met

The old man and I had a Saturday full of social functions that took us almost from the cradle to the grave, beginning with a brunch, followed by a funeral, then a drinks-and-hors d'ouevres-type function, and finishing with dinner and music appreciation at a local pub. At the drinks-and-hors d'ouevres-type function, the old man got to tell the story called "How We Met."

It's a very boring story, so I think we need a new one to tell people. One that will make their eyes widen with surprise and laugh out loud in delight. One that will make them say, "I think I heard that about you guys somewhere," when we're totally making it up.

I worked on our new story last night. Now all I have to do is get the old man to a) agree to use it the next time he's asked how we met and b) memorize the story.

Here's how it goes:

It was back in 1981. He was 23, and I was 21. We were both living in LA at that time. The old man had moved there to try to jump start a singing career. I was a California girl looking to get into the movies. We both happened to be taking dance lessons from Kenny Ortega, one of the guys who choreographed the movie Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. Kenny wanted to put together a couple to compete for fame and prizes on Deney Terrio's Dance Fever. He thought the old man and I would work well together. Kenny was wrong.

It was not love at first sight. Kenny had us working on his version of the Hustle for Dance Fever. The old man kept insisting that I was leading (when I most certainly was not!) I just thought he was an idiot from top to bottom and found nothing even remotely appealing about him. After weeks of struggle, we finally got the routine down to where Kenny was more than satisfied with our performance. We thought we were awful, and we both thought it was the other person's fault.

The night of our Dance Fever performance arrived. The old man had a powder blue suit fashioned after the white one that John Travolta wore in Saturday Night Fever, open nearly to his navel. I wore a sequined canary wrap-around top with a white tearaway skirt. We both had big hair a la 1981. We danced the Hustle and you'd think I'd remember the song we danced to, but I don't (and I don't dare ask the old man because then I'll have to relive that whole nightmare of a night and hear his version once again). Well, long story short, we did a passable job on the Hustle, although the old man flubbed the part with the tearaway skirt and his shoes were too slick. (Remember, this is my version.)

We ended up coming in second, and when our names were called, we smiled, and jumped and down, and hugged for the camera, and then immediately went our separate ways, happy that we'd never have to ever see each other again.

For the next six months, the old man kept singing, getting backup gigs here and there. (If you listen really closely to The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas soundtrack, you can hear him singing with Dolly Parton.) I kept looking for work in the movies, landing extra roles and bit parts here and there (most notably 1982's Slumber Party Massacre). Then, one night, we were both out with friends and ended up at the same dance club. It was like one of those moments right out of the movies where the guy and girl lock eyes across a crowded dance floor. Everything and everyone seemed to melt away and we began to move toward each other in slow motion. By the time we reached the middle of the dance floor, we were the only two people in the world and the spotlight was on us. We danced to How Deep Is Your Love by the BeeGees. We didn't seem to have any problem knowing who was leading and who was following, and we've been together ever since. And, for you boys and girls who might be reading this, the tearaway skirt stayed on until after we were married.

So, from now on, if someone asks how we met, this is the story I'm telling. Now, if I can just get the old man to agree.