This post by Liz reminded me of something I did almost constantly while growing up – ask  boys to dance.1

I remember vividly when the dances began in junior high.  Most of my friends would sit out the slow dances, hoping that a cute guy, maybe even the guy, would ask them to dance, or simply waiting for the next fast song.  Not me.  I don’t know if it’s simply that I was too impatient to sit around when I could be dancing, or being unwilling to be pickee as opposed to picker.  I’m not even sure where this bizarre confidence/naivete came from.  But I have to say I had a lot of fun.

Which isn’t to say that guys didn’t say no.  They did, particularly the really cute, popular ones. (I was NOT popular, I was one of the masses).2  But, you know what, they said no. So effing what.  One or two even smirked when they said it, as if to say “who are you, mere peon, to ask me, god of the cute butt of 8th grade?”

I simply asked someone else and usually found someone to dance with.  I probably got a bit of a “reputation” because I was willing to dance with just about anyone (and I did get asked occasionally as I was making my way through the crowd searching for some guy I had spotted).  I didn’t care.

I look back and I’m still amazed at myself.  I honestly don’t know where it came from.  I am not always that self-assertive.  Indeed, there have been times when I have not been at all assertive (early in my legal career) in ways that hurt me for far longer than the length of a dance song.

I like to think that I grabbed back some of the small bravery (although at the time I think my attitude was more “what the hell”) when I left private practice.  I am less invested in my job and it gives me a lot more perspective on things, more willingness to say, “what’s the worst that can happen?”3

But, having been one of the apparently rare females that would go about all-school or all-city (gotta love the Rec Dept.) dances and ask cute boys to dance, I wonder, why the hell was I one of the few?

Look, I know, I know that most if not all women are socialized from day one to wait to be asked.  I’m sure somebody told me that.  I certainly horrified some of my friends, “God, I can’t believe you danced with him,” from time to time. 

Perhaps this asking was my first series of feminist acts.  And I have to remember that it all stemmed from an unwillingness to wait, an unwillingness to cede control, and an unwillingness to give a damn what a lot of people thought.  All necessary to become and be a feminist.

1 I do realize that there is a vast difference between a 14 year old girl asking people to dance and re-emerging into a social world that severe illness has kept one from.  I do not mean to cast aspersions.

2 Just to clarify, I was not popular.  In fact, halfway through 7th grade I had a big blowout fight with my best buddies from elementary and spent the second half of the year being kicked from one small social network to another. 

3 Perhaps this speaks more to the difference between criminal defense (worst: major jail time) and transactional/contract disputes (its only money, most of the time).