Thursday, September 12, 2013


Please enjoy Part Four of First Love.

Men dance with themselves
 At a young age
SUBJECT  maturation can happen differently

“Examine primitive societies and you will see that men dance alone, and with other men, but take a serious lap around our societal pool and you will quickly notice something different.  Mind you,” Keegan said as he sat musing while watching one of those macho male classics where he could recite the dialogue.  Alone with the cats and dog on a rare dateless Saturday, feeling philosophical.  “Mind you,” he repeated, “this diatribe does not take into accounting homosexuality, on that subject I have no expertise, but does homosexuality play any role in the reason why present day men will dance with only women, alone, or not at all.”  Neither cat cared and the dog left.

His thoughts became introspective.  He suspected that in his adolescence most males were homophobic.  He surmised he was able to circumvent that with sports.  Sports forced males to have physical contact, though in the context of game-play, nonetheless it was physical contact, touching.  Females did that by going to the restroom together, a phenomenon he couldn’t understand or rationalize but aptly reasoning it was so.  Now, women, he continued to inwardly wax, appear more evolved, earlier.  Therefore did that suggest that more boys more often should accompany their buds to the john.  Seemed like convoluted logic to Keegan.

Females danced.  They may have preferred male partners but freely opted for a girlfriend.  He watched and wondered.  They were having fun. What was wrong with guys?  Girls even danced slow dances without making it creepy.  Guys stood and watched, planned putting aspirins in their Pepsi, gossiped, though denying if asked, showed off, told stories but they did not dance until the late 70s.  Then everyone danced with no one yet with everyone.  One huge collective, celebrating the music, one huge step in the evolution of the male but if a guy fancied attentions toward another guy on the floor guys' eyes would turn judgmental and a bud might come over and tell him to butch-up.  Homophobia did play a role.

 Now, Keegan took another path. He played sports.  He had evolved.  He understood his manness, and was not uncomfortable dancing with another guy, but there were special circumstances.  He and his friend, Tom, both liked to dance and they were good at it, creative, would practice after sport’s training and sometimes during, inventing new steps and moves, all for the purpose to do what guys liked to do best, show-off.

Every week they would travel to other high schools attending their dances, something innately discouraged.  One never treaded on another’s turf but they did.  Why? It was all about the dance.  Once there Keegan and Tom would survey the landscape, listen for the right song, and then move out.  Their choreography was always faultless.  If people were dancing they would be subtle, doing their moves, showing off to whoever watched, but there were those special moments with a vacant floor when the overt nature of a sportsman flowed.  They had a move where Tom would run then slide on his knees.  Keegan would follow and just as Tom dropped, he would leap over Tom and land in a split.  With that move they got everyone’s attention then they shared their new dance.  Invariable, females would join, trying to learn.  Why?  Females danced, no matter what.  Guys respected them.  Girls liked them.  Then they’d leave, trying to hit two dances in one night.

Keegan recalled with great fondness returning to Dickinson's gym the Friday after the Friday before.  When they entered everyone was doing their dance.  They turned and left, proudly, mission completed.  They were dance gods.  They understood that and became iconic locally.

Keegan met Cathy Zirlger, his first love at that Dickinson gym.  She was years older.  They split when she went to college.  She had asked him to understand, she had to move on.  He was just a high-schooler and she was now a collegiate.  He never told her, never told Tom, never told anyone that she broke his heart, and the ache of it remained part of his soul, a tenderness that in time buried itself beneath a callous shell. 

He understood that one’s first love was oft times one’s most serious.   Tom married his first love, Donna, and Keegan, then until the present thought, good for him.  Tom and he danced Friday nights, monogamously dated Saturday nights, danced with each other and never once for one year did either of them dance with or date anyone but their first loves.

"What was a first love?"  The words slipped forth.  He silently queried and answered, feelings unleashed and received, respectfully returned.  The first love was not about the sex.  Whereas, he admitted, Cathy and he didn't have sex.  They necked a lot, submarine raced, which was an expression for parking along the river.  Why?  Hormones played a role and when you were in high school money was not free-flowing.  So gas for the car meant no movie.  Why?  Damn you had to save every dime for the prom.  Those thangs were expensive.  Did think about sex?  Absolutely. Twice he proudly remembered he was able to touch breast flesh, not nipple just flesh.  Mind you, though, he wanted sex and had such high hormonal content that he wore a virtual erection 24/7 for that year, except for dancing with Tom or playing sports or having family dinners or church choir.  Well, a few times while singing he tented up that robe but for the most part he didn’t.  He hoped God understood.  He’s a guy.  He probably did.

For one year he endlessly thought about Cathy, fantasized over her, talked on the phone with her about nothing yet everything, shared dreams, ate dinner with her family and brushed her hair.  Yes, he brushed her hair as if he were her friend.  He understood hair.  His barber father and beautician mother eased the hair thing whereas it was intimate to others, creepy to guys, it was natural to him.  She was his friend, his best friend, trusted her, and brushed her hair to demonstrate that.  She was the only female he did so with.  None since.  Why?  She traded him in. 

It hurt that summer, the summer of his love lost.  He stopped dancing, turned serious about his grades, and he pined, pined over Cathy, driving by her home from time to time and ached.  He graduated 16th in a class of 800.  He thought of Cathy, thanked her and felt he had to move on as well.   



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