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Last Dance, Last Chance

Back when sweat was thrilling, a Boomer reflection

By Judey Kalchik Published 11 days ago 4 min read

When I was in high school the local churches in my neighborhood would occasionally sponsor a dance for the local teens.

We looked forward to it for weeks, debated what we would wear, listened to the local pop stations (‘I listen to the new sound of 13Q!’) for the latest songs.

It didn’t matter if the church was Presbyterian, United Methodist, or Nazarene- when the music started the lights were turned way, way down.

Suddenly, things got real.

The milling kids turned into boys and girls. Male and female. Line dances were in back then, too. We didn’t boot scoot, electric slide or wobble: we did the Hustle. There was no voguing, but we did strike many a pose.

In between dances, usually solo, we slurped down punch, made group trips to the restroom, and asked the DJ to play our favorite songs.

By the time "Stairway to Heaven" ended (the unofficial song that signaled the evening was ENDING, people!) Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” started, if you hadn’t slow-danced yet, this would be your last chance.

Do you ask a guy to dance with you?

Do you ask your guy-friends, or are they planning on asking a girl outside of your small group? (WHY didn’t you all plan this out better?!)

One of the guys you don’t know very well seems like he’s working his way over to you. (Quick! Palm to mouth and puff for a quick breath-check!)

Maybe he’s looking for some else? (No! He’s looking at ME! Roll on some Cherry Smash Maybelline Kissing Potion lip gloss. SMILE.)

He holds out his hand, and before you take it you slide your hand across the side of your skirt, making sure it is dry.

Of course, it isn’t. Neither is his.

Because this matters.

It’s important.

All sense are on high alert, every cell is alive, your heart is pumping, your blood is singing in your ears, your breath is shallow, your eyes are wide open.

You are sure you will remember every second of the dance. You need to record it in your diary. Tell your friend what he said (nothing). What he did (sway from side to side). How he smelled (Brut).

In that stuffy air of those church basements we hoped the night would never end. (WHY was the song so short?)

His hand on the small of your back was hot, your hand on his shoulder was going to leave a damp spot on his poly-Qiana blend shirt (silk-screened with a stallion, or sunset, or eagle) you couldn’t tell who was making your clasped hands sweat, but you didn’t want to let go until the song ended.

Because this matters.

It’s important.

I knew it would be the same, dance after dance. The setting up to make sure everything was just-so. The self-conscious dancing with a group, watching the cool-kids’ moves. The anxiety about what to do if I was asked to slow-dance, the panic at the thought of what I would do if I wasn’t.

I never thought about not going, though.

The sweat didn’t bother me. Because it mattered. It was important.


Now I shrink back with true distaste from sweaty experiences.

I even prefer to change at work and not in the locker room at the gym, because the locker room is attached to the pool, and the pool to the showers and that makes the locker room too humid, and I sweat.

I don’t want to be too sweaty before I work out. I must be nuts.

What I need is to see myself in my mind’s eye as fit and healthy, the same way I saw myself dancing in the arms of those cute, nervous boys.

I need to remain fixed on the reward of toned and happy, living a longer healthier life, the way I used to think of reliving the dance through conversations with my girlfriends.

I need to stop avoiding the sweat. It is time to sweat the small stuff now so I will be around for the big stuff later.

Because this matters.

It’s important.


I am not yet what I want to be, but i am not now what I once was. Clearly more disciplined exercise is needed.

While you are here, please leave a comment: Celebrate your successes and steps forward, share your favorite dance song, high school memory, or low carb treat.

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About the Creator

Judey Kalchik

It's my time to find and use my voice.

Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

You can also find me on Medium

And please follow me on Threads, too!

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Comments (13)

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  • ThatWriterWoman5 days ago

    I really enjoyed this. The parallels between the types of sweat in different situations is genius!

  • Linda Rivenbark7 days ago

    High school memories are so special.. thanks for sharing these with us?

  • I don't remember ever once dancing at a school dance, junior high, high school or college. But I didn't miss many of them either other than prom or "Tuckabatchies" (girl asks boy) where you were supposed to have a date. I don't remember dancing at all with anyone other than in gym class until I was married--& not much since. (She says that I "dance like a white boy", i.e., awkwardly, nothing cool about me.) Why? Because it mattered & still does.

  • Rasma Raisters10 days ago

    You brought back some memories. I always wanted to be part of Bandstand with Dick Clark but was too young.

  • Atomic Historian10 days ago

    I'm not gonna lie, this turned out different from what I expected. We had some differences in our experiences at church gatherings

  • Jay Kantor10 days ago

    'j' ~ Such a Stairway 'Sock-Hop-Reach-Back' ~ You're the VM "Cool-Kid" Now 'j'

  • Mariann Carroll11 days ago

    Teenage years, it’s nice to read memory lane stories and People experiences. Thanks for sharing ♥️

  • A really lovely read - All the details are so vivid.and poignant. Loved the desciption of the school dance (I never went to one in high school) and the nervous but excited anticipation-Is there a word for that? I don't know. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

  • Cathy holmes11 days ago

    Bringing back memories of high school dances. O remember the "closing" song always being "A Whiter Shade of Pale." Great stuff.

  • I loved this ! What sweet and beautiful memories to have and an uplifting message. My body, too, is not where I want it… but I’m a lot kinder to it… it’s brought me through a lot! And it deserves so much love…. ❤️ Now I’m much more focussed on feeling good from dancing that exercise videos that were working but felt like punishment xx

  • Really great work! High school dance sounds fun. Thank you

  • Yes!!!!! I remember school dances; I adore them! While getting ready, my parents thought it was so cute that I wore a skirt from JC Pennys (silk cheetah print, thank you) Yes, it is essential. But like you, I wouldn't say I like changing in the locker room at the gym 😅

  • I like how it is relative to remembering Details to elaborate inside the Diary-🤣 This is exactly how it goes -👍❤️📝

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