Last night we watched Damn Yankees. We hit repeat at that one dance number at least twice. If you’ve ever watched it you know the one. The only one. The one and only. Lola.
Afterwards, I searched and found a documentary about Gwen Verdon, Merely Marvelous, which I paid to watch, it not being included free to Amazon Prime subscribers. The only reason I even knew who she was was because I had watched the Fosse-Verdon miniseries last year, or whenever it was broadcast.
So, what does this have to do with me? Maybe it has more to do with who I want to be. I can’t sing, at all, can’t even carry a tune. Dancing? Not so much. I might claim it’s because I never had any exposure to it as a kid, but really? I’m kindof a klutz. If you have the gene, it surfaces, right? Despite the limitations, it rises. Mine never did.
My family didn’t go to Broadway shows. A few times a year we’d go to The City. We’d go to Times Square to look at the Marlboro man smoking from his enormous perch. We’d feed the pigeons and giggle self-consciously at the peep show windows. We’d go to the Lower East Side and eat at Shmulke Bernsteins, or Ratners, for very special occasions. Very very special. Like I think we did it twice. But every single year we’d go to Radio City Music Hall and gawk at the Rockettes.
What am I in my heart of hearts?
A Rockette. A hoochy koochy dance girl. A singer and a dancer. Lola and Gypsy. And Marilyn. Throw in some Janis. Deep throated, a bit raunchy, sexy. Tough and vulnerable. Hard and real, with a teeny touch of soft. Not perfect, but yeah. Perfect.
Oh, I presented as a teacher, a computer scientist, a wannabee writer. A wife. A mother. A hiker, at some point an intense bicyclist and even a marginal triathlete. But who am I really? Mae West step aside. Marlene Deitrich’s got nothing on me.
In my dreams.
I do my jobs. Whatever they are. I’m responsible and reliable. But where nobody else can see it, there’s an entire performance going on, with swirls and dips and high kicks. With a bump and a thump and a shimmy and a twist.
Hell yeah. That’s me.