I often find myself thinking, “man, I wish I understood ___________ when I was younger.” But I didn’t. Our brains are not developed enough. I understand this now. I’ve been mired in travelling down memory lane for a few months. It’s hard not to be since I’ve been helping my elderly parent pack up the old family home. The other day I was handed a photo. It kind of blew my mind.
Part of me thought, “wow, I looked pretty good.” Part of me thought, “wow, I was huge.” Part of me thought, “why was I so insecure?” I’m not capable of answering any of those questions. And, as I’ve become overly fond of saying, it is what it is. Water under the bridge. Moments gone by.
I was either 15 or 16 in this photo, probably 16 and heading into my senior year of high school. At my lowest weight of 150 lbs (5’9″), I still felt awkwardly large compared to most other girls. I’ve cropped another person out of the photo. She was far more petite and considered very “cute” for the time period. It’s not necessary for her to be present nor would I publish a photo without permission.
My youthful insecurities aside, this photo was the start of a very fun evening. My friend’s aunt had taken us for a weekend at the former Lake Placid Club. An old-fashioned resort/lodge, there was a main building and several cottages scattered in a woodsy setting. Think the setup for Dirty Dancing on a smaller scale. We stayed in one of the large cottages adjacent to the lodge. It was an enjoyable weekend of swimming in Mirror Lake, playing tennis on clay courts (a real treat), horseback riding, and playing platform tennis. I was lucky to be afforded this experience. However, the best was dinner in the main building.
I couldn’t even tell you what we had to eat. But we were expected to dress nicely. I’m attired in a favorite wrap-around skirt paired with a favorite bodysuit top (it was the 70’s). A blazer completed the package. Since I didn’t own dress shoes in those days, a beloved pair of clogs had to suffice. After dinner, we adjourned to the lounge where many patrons were enjoying drinks. We sat and chatted. People were dancing. A nice looking, middle-aged man approached the table and asked my friend’s aunt to dance. She demurred. He turned to my friend and she readily accepted. Off they went to trip the light fantastic. It looked like a scene from a movie.
There was a pause in the music and it was my turn. Though I was slightly taller than my dance partner, he moved with a well-practiced grace. For the first time I wasn’t embarrassed to be seen with a man/boy shorter than I. It was exhilarating and our dance ended with me in a deep dip. Wow, the guy was strong.
Turns out he was the dance instructor for the club and spent the evening trying to drum up business. Part of me believes he enjoyed dancing with two young and giggling vixens. As for us, we dreamily drifted back to our cottage busily sniffing our hands which retained the scent of his Brut aftershave. What a night. And what I wouldn’t give to look as “badly” as I thought I did that night.