Tuesday, 15 September 2009

RIP Patrick; elegy for a dirty dancer

He adorned the wall of my school dormitory for two years, resplendent in a skin-tight black leotard. The chiselled cheekbones, the gently waving hair; for a while he was the one we all wanted to marry when we grew up - pre Brad Pitt, post Morten Harket.

I was 14 when Dirty Dancing came out - probably just about the perfect age for it. It wasn't the most earth-shattering film ever - pretty lightweight plot, cheesy lines - but it was one of those films that you ended up watching again and again. What spotty teenage girl didn't identify with Jennifer Grey, short and not obviously pretty, the 'sensible' sister, falling for the hunky working-class dance instructor, Johnny, at the holiday camp with her parents? Surely it was the fulfilment of the ultimate teenage fantasy that, in the end, it was HER that he noticed, her that he fell in love with, her that he turned into a fantastic, sexy dancer.

Thinking about it now, if a 30-something staff member at a resort seduced a female teenage guest, he'd probably get taken to court at the very least. In some ways, the film panders to every teenage girl who's had an unsuitable crush on a teacher or similar - and I'm sure some would say that's not helpful. But to us, the generation of teenage girls who fell for Patrick Swayze, it was romance of the highest level- losing your virginity not to some juvenile boy, but to a gorgeous older man.

(I always wondered about what would have happened after the film ended. Would Baby and Johnny have stayed together - or was it just a holiday romance? Had they really had the 'time of their life' - was it all downhill from there? What does anyone else think?)

So, RIP Patrick. Thanks for making our teenage years more exciting. I've never seen High School Musical, but I'm sure whoever's in it is not a patch on you in a leotard.

14 comments:

Dumdad said...

What a great shame - he died so young for a fit guy.

He was good in Ghost and I seem to remember Road House was a guy's movie.

But he had a pretty amazing life and did things most of us never will.

RIP Patrick.

Bush Mummy said...

I've just written about him too with echoes of your post which I've now read. That whole 'DD' time just represents such a formative period in my teenage years..

So sad..

BM x

Fourdownmumtogo said...

Accept my sympathies but I'm afraid I'd choose Zac Ephron over PS any day of the week! He may be a baby, but he's just so pretty.

Iota said...

Yes, what would have happened? Nobody puts Baby in the corner, but perhaps she'd have ended up there in the long run.

Almost American said...

It was totally a summer romance! The time of their life - sure! Memories for a lifetime - I doubt if they would ever have forgotten each other, but they would have moved on. Of course, that's my 40-something year-old self talking and not something any teenage girl watching the movie would ever want to believe!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I LOVED Dirty Dancing. In fact we watched it a couple of weeks ago. I say we.. I watched it, texting my bestest girl friend here whilst our husbands made rude remarks and miraculously appeared for the scene when she is wearing a wet white t-shirt.

But, what I have enjoyed in reading through all the obitaries is being reminded about the film The Outsiders. That truly was teenage girl fantasy. Interesting to see which actors went on to great things, and which, sort of, didn't.

Mwa said...

The ultimate fantasy indeed. Of course they would never see each other again. She will have a bright future, but he will end up having a beer belly and being stuck in a rut. It's best they left it at that one summer.

Shame about Patrick Swayze, though - he was a good one.

Tawny said...

He was on my wall too, and I used to dream I was Baby in the corner!
He was my teenage crush (well into my twenties)

RIP Patrick

Mud in the City said...

Come to think of it, the story was a bit dodgy - but what an awesome film!

I am proud to say that I have the sound track on my ipod and merily run along the Thames singing along to it out loud.

nappy valley girl said...

Dumdad - you're right, he lived a good life. And I'm sure he will be remembered.

BushMummy - definitely a formative time. I hadn't thought about Patrick Swayze in years, but his death really took me back.

Fourdownmumtogo - you cradle snatcher! I'll have to watch HSM now, I have no idea really what it's like, but surely he can't dance as sexily as PS.

Iota - ooh, I can feel a sequel coming on......

Almost American - definitely time for a sequel. If it was a romantic novel, she'd meet him again, 20 years on, divorced with kids, and marry him.....

Brit in Bosnia - do you know, I don't think I ever saw The Outsiders. I remember him in North & South though - a mini series thing about the Civil War.

Mwa - That's it. We should have a sequel writing competition, and let readers judge the best ending.....

Tawny - I was a bit more fickle, I think I forgot about him after Ghost...who knows what happened to that poster?

Mud - I can just picture you, pelting along the river to 'I've had the time of my life....'!

Cassandra said...

Damn. Just wrote a comment then lost it. I agree, really wonder what could have happened next. Many thanks for your kindness re my blog - have just posted again, actually. Was feeling really bad when I decided to stop but better now. Fx

nappy valley girl said...

Cassandra - glad to see you back. But don't worry about not posting -the interweb understands!

MadEnglishWoman40 said...

I used to have a huge crush on Patrick Swayze...sad news. :-(

Anonymous said...

I just watched it again the other night and while it still gave me goosebumps and made me a mushy teenager all over again, I did see it for the first time from the perspective of "older guy takes advantage of young innocent". How annoying is that?