As a teenager, I fondly looked back at the 80s and divided the decade into two distinct periods: pre-Dirty Dancing & post-Dirty Dancing. I still divide the 80s that way today.
Yes. The release of Dirty Dancing in 1987 opened up my innocent 11-year-old eyes and mind. You could say that it was a coming of age for me as the movie introduced me to issues of class, women’s rights, and charged sexuality. I had to sneak into the theater to watch Dirty Dancing because it was rated PG-13. Immediately, I related to Baby Houseman whose jaw you see drop in the following scene when introduced to something she had never been exposed to. I understood her rapidly changing emotions from discomfort to embarrassment to curiosity as she watched what has happening in front of her. When Johnny beckons Baby with his finger, she goes from being a voyuer to a participant. And just when she’s just about getting the hang of it and she begins to enjoy herself, she is spun around and is left wanting more.
Like Baby, my jaw dropped watching everything I was being exposed to. I especially couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the undulation of Patrick Swayze’s hips. Like the generations before me who went gaga for Elvis Presley and John Travolta, there is just something captivating and incredibly sexy about a man who has the ability to move his hips with such suave grace. I was hooked. He was my biggest crush in the 6th grade.
Patrick Swayze & Chris Farley – Chippendale SNL Skit