Every dance bar in Omaha ended the night with its signature song. One bar closed with Last Dance by Donna Summer, another used Shout from the Blues Brothers movie (by the Isley Brothers) as its sign-off song. But my fave dance bar closed with the song New York, New York. It seemed an odd choice for an Omaha bar, but there was no song called Omaha, Nebraska.
I’d met Jeremy at aforementioned dance club under the mirror ball. He asked me out for the following Saturday night, for the obligatory dinner and a movie.
“How about dinner and dancing instead?” I asked.
These days the acid reflux would kick in, but back then, what was two hours of swing dancing after a heavy greasy meal?
Jeremy agreed, and we headed over to the New York, New York bar after dinner. I had recycled my old Gunne Sax maxi dress by cutting off two feet and reattaching the ruffle to the bottom of my now short gown. I looked like a saloon girl in my calico halter dress with the laced-up bodice. My summer tan looked good against the navy fabric.
Jeremy wanted to chat over drinks, but the Bee Gees were calling me to the floor. Jeremy spun me around in his east coast style. Then he wanted to sit down and chat.
But the DJ was playing Car Wash. No dancer can sit down and chat during Car Wash.
Then the DJ played Donna Summer, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Sisters Sledge. Jeremy, the awesome dancer, wanted to chat. I pulled him to the floor again and again. The more he drank, the more he twirled me, until my skirt swirled up like an umbrella and I felt a bit of a draft near my undies. Did they show? Why hadn’t I tested the dress out in front of the mirror back in my apartment?
Two guys drinking and smiling at the closest table confirmed my suspicions. They were getting an eyeful every time. Thank God for firm (no cellulite) third-decade legs.
The DJ played New York, New York, and then Jeremy drove me home. At my door he revealed that he was five years younger than I was. He was only 21!
I was unhappy that he hadn’t told me what a baby he was. Much as I enjoyed the dancing, he wasn’t ready to date a 26 year old, was he? Or maybe I wasn’t willing to date a guy that much younger. He was newly out of college, and I’d been working for almost five years.
We didn’t go out again, not because of me, because he never called. I hadn’t chatted with him enough. All I wanted to do was dance. Looking back, that may have been a mistake since I do love a good swing dancer, and they don’t grow on trees.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If I’d fallen for Jeremy, we’d have married and opened a dance studio. We would’ve won many regional championships and would have a wall of trophies in the den. We would’ve had five kids and entered them in all the fair competitions. We would drive from fair to fair in our RV, the dancing Dunkirks. The kids would’ve all left Omaha for the coasts and would never come to visit. When I turned seventy, Jeremy would’ve put me in a home in Gretna, and I’d be there today, knitting tea cozies for a local church bazaar.