The title of this post alone sounds like some messed-up episode of MTV’s True Life. Sigh. If only it were not true.
I take you back to the summer of 1992. I was hanging out with a college friend who was working on campus for the summer. Even though this girl was Italian, she was hell bent on going to Pulaski Polka Days. (The mention of polka should now have you even more intrigued. Either that, or it explains where an 80-year-old man might come into the story).
Pulaski Polka Days really do not need much explanation. It’s another Wisconsin festival set in a very Polish town, but obviously it focuses on all Polka, all day long. Oh and there may be some beer tents involved.
Aforementioned girlfriend invites a mutual friend along, who then invites his friend. But let’s be clear here: they were actually two really hot, fun gay guys we secretly wished were our boyfriends. We were in serious denial. Anyway, upon arrival to our selected dancing tent, my friend and Gay One immediately take off dancing. I was left alone with his “friend” who promptly ignored me. Thankfully a cute little old man comes to my rescue and asks me to dance. Even though I was all of nineteen and he was pushing eighty, there was no way I could turn him down. Of course I would love to dance with you, Grandpa!
So we start to polka, but it doesn’t take long for me to notice that we are just not jibing. Years of watching Polka Variety Hour before Sunday mass have made me realize that we’ve got a case of CPS – Clashing Polka Styles.
You see, there are two kinds of polka dancers out there. One is the bouncing, step-ball-change style (me), and the other is the more complicated, herky-jerky, I-stepped-off-the-boat-from-Poland kind (him). Try putting the two styles together and you have one awkward mess. I looked like one of the bouncing twins from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and he looked like he was trying to tame me by having a seizure. Finally, he just stopped, shook his head and said, “I’m sorry, but this isn’t going to work.”
And then he left me. I just stood there, alone and humiliated on the dance floor. Dumped by an 80-year-old. Oh, the shame.