My first serious boyfriend was “The Dancer.” He was five years older than my barely 17-year-old self and I met him at the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) swim team we both participated in after school. I found him strange and a little weird, but I ignored my initial instincts (a trend I followed a lot in my life) and started to date him and then sleep with him. I’m not sure what my parents were thinking in allowing the relationship – but by that time there had been years of rebellion, fighting, defiance, crazy punishment, and therapy. They may have just been worn out with the prospect of attempting to parent me – and I would have just done what I wanted anyway.
I would stop at The Dancer’s house most mornings on the way to school and occasionally would skip school altogether to be with him. I only went to high school during the mornings of my senior year, in order to take college courses in the afternoon – but I actually only did that two days a week and spent the rest of my time with The Dancer and his college buddies.
The Dancer was a carefree type of guy who definitely suffered from the Peter Pan Syndrome. Although he was 22-years-old, he wasn’t close to getting his degree. He changed his major every semester and preferred to spend his time socializing or going to discos – that boy loved to dance! He had a night-time job at a local grocery store, ostensibly to clean the floors and stock the shelves – but in reality he made frequent trips to his car with cases of Vidal Sassoon hair products, Dr. Pepper, and packs and packs of steak. He dabbled in drugs, enjoyed drinking, and introduced me to both.
When I moved away from home for college, the Dancer followed and moved in with friends 45 minutes away. He was pretty excited to be living in Salt Lake City, where there were plenty of bars and dance clubs. We would go dancing often and, one night, he decided we would go to 21-and-older club that served liquor. Now remember, I was barely 18-years-old at the time and, unsurprisingly, when I couldn’t produce an ID, the bouncer at the club turned us away. The Dancer was disappointed, but decided that if we couldn’t go dancing, we would do something equally exciting – we would go and see an X-rated movie in the seedy part of town.
The theater we went to had been a beautiful thing – 75 years earlier. It was a REAL theater – it just showed things like “Forrest Hump” instead of “Forrest Gump”. The theater was run down and smelled funky – and I was worried about sitting on the seats. I was skeezed out the entire time – and especially so when this man sat RIGHT behind us (there was probably 10 people in the entire theater – so this was odd). As the show went on, I could hear heavy breathing and…other sounds – and finally the Dancer turned around and told the guy to get lost. He moved – right behind another couple who were sitting several rows in front of us and seemingly enamored with each other – in the physical sense. By this time, I was transfixed – not by the movie, but by the couple and the “gentleman” who was now leaning forward and craning his head to see what was going on in front of him. He moved closer, and closer, and then decided to join the party – reaching his hand over the seats and, I assume, grabbing some critical piece of anatomy. As you can imagine, the couple responded in a not so nice way – there were raised voices, cross words, and some shoving involved.
The evening was cut short at that point – much to my relief. Both the theater and my relationship with the Dancer bit the dust not to long afterwards.