My little black dress worked. It was more modest than strappy, but it did the trick beautifully. My target? A handsome graduate student named James. The setting was a swing dance party at a friend’s home. I looked around the room for James. When I found him, I looked at him until his dark brown eyes met mine. I smiled slowly and turned away, as if I were going to get a glass of water. Like a moth drawn to a flame, he followed and the dance began.
We talked and danced as best we could while laughing and smiling at each other. “It’s getting a little warm,” he said. “Do you want to go outside?”
Following him through the crowd of people, we stepped outside and onto a little bridge in the backyard. The distance closed between us. We were standing face-to-face, about two feet apart. I flipped my hair back a few times, smiled, and giggled softly. He paid me a few compliments and looked straight into my eyes. Our hands touched. It was the most wonderful mix of awkward and awesome. There was electricity in the air, and it wasn’t coming from the fireflies.
That scintillating moment happened more than 17 years ago. I married that handsome graduate student from the swing dance. My little black dress doesn’t fit me anymore, but I can’t quite give it away. Perhaps if I could slip into it again, I might be transported to meet that younger me. The me who flirted, smiled, and dared to dance with two left feet. The me with the heart full of desire for a certain young man.1