It is Tuesday night at the hip, cool nightspot close to my apartment. I am meeting my hip, cool, confident girlfriend here for “a” drink. An early night is what I need, after being up late both Sunday and Monday.
My re-entry to South Florida has been a rough one. I miss the Colorado pace and mindset, where so many people seem to gravitate toward a seemingly unending smorgasbord of active, healthy, outdoor options. I can’t help but contrast there to the great outdoors here, where I see so many who maintain a daily diet of booze, bar food, and cigarettes, and then convince themselves that “healthy” means sweating out the impurities at the beach.
And no, I am not judging anyone. I am certainly no stranger to toasting myself at night and pushing myself to run four miles at noon in hopes of rinsing my stupidity away in beads of salty regret.
But it is Tuesday, and I am dressed in a work dress that works quite well at this hip spot. My daughter has been calling me all day with updates on “the apartment I found in the coolest town, and you will LOVE it.” I love her, and I love that she wants me near to her, and I am even considering renting it and making the move across country that’s attached to it. But I am having enough trouble straddling lifestyles in the here and now. At this moment, I just want a drink, and if some dumb guy wants to buy it because that’s what guys do at this hip, cool nightspot, then great. As long as I don’t have to talk to him or his dumb-ass friend.
“It’s 70s and 80s night,” says my cool, hip, confident friend. “And this band is unbelievably good.”
“Great music, good wine, day two at work done–I’m in,” I tell her.
Tuesday is not a particularly big night at this place. But the GM or the owner or someone in charge knows their stuff, because they always have a first-class band booked even on the slowest of nights, and this one is supreme. The lead singer is tall and curvaceous and the antithesis of model-thin. She has shaved her head. And she is utterly comfortable in her body and her talent, and this confidence sets her free to sing from the deepest chambers of her heart.
She makes me want to cry. Because she has it. She gets it. All of it.
A few sales reps masquerading as drunken sailors get the dance floor going as they and their partners stumble through renditions of a vague form of the Hustle. A grey haired gentleman at whom I would normally look twice asks me to dance. “Oh, maybe in a few songs,” I tell him. Because I am mesmerized by the lead singer and her sax player, her drummer, her bassist, her guitar player. But mostly, by her.
Because she is smiling and singing and dancing on stage, so very, very comfortable in her skin, and she couldn’t care less about the drunken sailor guys trying to dance, or the gaggle of guys at the bar who are studying their cell phone screens while watching the done blondes in front of them. She doesn’t care that my friend and I are now onto drink three beyond the one we said we were having, because we can’t tear ourselves away. From her.
“Let’s dance,” says my hip, cool, confident friend when my all-time favorite Tina Turner song comes on.
I do not hesitate. Neither does she. And as we start to laugh and move about the dance floor, singing along with our mentor, another girl joins us. Then another. And another. And soon we are a dance floor of women–all women–dancing with our hearts in our smiles, with our hopes in our waving arms, with our momentary collective confidence in being okay with our myriad shapes and sizes and talents and places in life.
In this spontaneous girl dance at the hip, cool nightspot, it was never about anything but us girls being girls. The girls we were. The girls we are. The girls we accept and embrace.
Change is in the air for this gal. And wherever it leads, I will never forget how, when I stood on the cusp of a decision, my life was affirmed in a single moment as I danced with my girls.