All The Real Girls

15 February, 2003 at 1:48 am (uncategorized)

Last year at this time, the winter talent show at the school where I work moved me to comment. I am experiencing the same impulse this year, but for different reasons.

This year a senior got up to dance, a piece of choreagraphy she’d put together to the tune of “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix. She strode out onto stage in a heather grey tank top and black zip-off cargo pants, and when the music started and when she demanded excuse and kissed the sky I could hear the breath catch simultaneously in the throats of a hundred boys in the auditorium.

It wasn’t just the dancing, which was good — she was obviously well-trained in jazz and modern dance — and it wasn’t just that she was wearing a tight top while thrusting about on the stage. I’m sure that most of these boys had seen more wearing less in magazines, in rock videos, and on late-night cable. But while those women and models are alluring, you could tell that this girl was heart-stopping because she was real. She was just a girl in the school, and yet… yet should looked like that? And danced like that?

And a hundred boys felt their hearts expand and break. It doesn’t matter that they may pass her in the hallway next week and not even recognize her when her hair’s not pulled back and when she’s wearing a different outfit. The damage has been done, and a tangible ideal has been created, supplanting the out-of-reach ideal of silver screens and glossy covers.

Happy Valentine’s Day, boys.

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