Aug 02

Dance While You Wait!

My Friend Manya emailed me to berate me for not choosing “Girl Talk Date Line” as my favorite board game in my last entry. Sorry, sorry. Okay. Girl Talk Date Line…it’s a board game. Did anyone else ever play this? I just Googled it, and not only is it no longer being made, but it’s being written about all nostalgically and everything. Whoa.

Girl Talk Date Line featured a pink (of course) board, and some dice I think, and this weird pink box that was essentially a tape player, and had all these plastic cards. With names on them. Boys and girls. I think. So you roll the dice or something and then somehow you get two cards, a boy and a girl…Girl Talk Date Line did not tolerate homosexual couples of either gender, you know… and their names were always like “Stan” and “Mary Lou,” and then you stuck them, somehow, into the tape deck thing, and it would play a fake conversation between Stan and Mary Lou. Did I mention Stan and Mary Lou and the rest of their Girl Talk Date Line brethren had their pictures on the cards, and that everyone was in high eighties drag? Pink lipstick and feathered bangs their collars up and those weird color combinations that only happened in the late eighties, like teal and purple or bright blue and bright yellow. Anyway, you put Stan and Mary Lou into the mysterious pink box (get your mind out of the gutter) and you hear them have a conversation, and for some reason they speak with Canadian accents, and it’s always like this:

Stan Hey, Mary Lou, want to go to the roller rink tonight?
Mary Lou Suuuuuuure Stan! I’d love to!
Stan Oh, and can you bring your hot cheerleader friend Fifi for me to feel up by the snack machines while you’re doing a Couples Only Skate to “Lady in Red” with my dork friend Myron? See Myron’s card? See how he’s wearing glasses and a button down shirt? He’s a dork, you know. So, how’s about it, eh?
Mary You turkey!

The “you turkey!” part of the tape was what we all waited for. Please don’t think I bought this game for someone’s 16th birthday (I think it was My Friend Ashley) without the highest sense of irony I could muster. “You turkey!” we’d screech, cavorting around My Friend Amy’s living room. We were all really good kids in high school, and that’s why we would be playing Girl Talk Date Line on a Friday night. You know how in Say Anything where John Cusack goes to the Gas-n-Sip and asks all the losers why, if they know so much about the ladies, they’re sitting at the Gas-n-Sip by themselves on a weekend night? That was us.

To make Girl Talk Date Line even better…better than screaming “you turkey” over and over as you pound back a Big Gulp in your pajamas…you had to do this special dance. I think this had something to do with something in the game, like you’d be playing the tape to listen to one of the conversations when it was your turn to play, and then the tape would say “Dance while you wait!” For the world-weary, cynical, all-knowing 16-year olds that we were, there was no funnier thing to say, ever, at any time. Dance while you wait! Come on kids, try it! So we made up this dance that involved hopping around My Friend Amy’s dining room table, and chanting “Girl! Talk! Date! Line! Girl! Talk! Date! Line!” over and over. Try it! Come on! Dance while you wait!

I forget how you play the game. The object is, of course, to get Stan and Mary Lou to hook up, and by “hook up” I don’t mean hook up, but rather “Get Stan to take Mary Lou to the Senior Formal and bring her a corsage and kiss her chastely on the cheek and dance with her to ‘Somebody’ by Depeche Mode and then go off to college and write her ever-decreasing-in-frequency letters, leaving her to wonder if perhaps he’s met another girl, and hoping that her period is just late and that it doesn’t mean anything because she jumped up and down afterwards and anyway it was her first time and isn’t it nice that Stan joined his college’s drama department and is having so much fun hanging out with his roommate, art major, and fellow member of the chorus in Anything Goes, Jason.” You have to match various people cards together and put them in the mysterious pink box and listen to their conversations, hoping against hope you’ll get to hear “You turkey!” so that you can fall down on the floor laughing, you on a warm night in 1992, in your boxers and those weird bunny slippers you got at the old five and dime store, before it became a Blockbuster.

I think for a couple of years, whenever we were home from college and all in the same place, we’d drag out Girl Talk Date Line, usually for the purposes of making various boys play it. Woo! Boys playing a girls’ game! I think by that point I’d taken a freshman year soc class or two and was all full of gender socialization theory and so forth, which put rather a damper on the whole thing for me. I don’t think I’d like to play it now, because that game is the sort of irony that goes so fast past irony that it just becomes spooky and freaky and not even in a good way. Pathetic.

Dating seemed so mysterious to me then. Did you all know that Carl was my very first real boyfriend, back in college? And that that was not really saying much? Happily, we’ve since morphed into something more like a real couple, with an anniversary and “our songs” and secret jokes and everything. Back then we didn’t do much except…well, never you mind what we did. I think I spent most of my time since 1986…the fateful year Pretty In Pink came out…until, oh, I don’t know, the late nineties, hoping that one day some nice boy would lean against my locker and ask me to the Prom and that everything would fade out in a New Wave mist of glory. I’d get to wear his jean jacket to school and we would go to the Dade County Youth Fair and lean on each other in line and go on every single ride together.

It turns out, for me at least, my so-called dating life hasn’t been much like either Pretty In Pink (although it does have a similar soundtrack) or Girl Talk Date Line. I’ve mostly just looked up one day and all of a sudden liked liked a friend. Occasionally one or two of them have liked me back, for a little or a long time. But I still haven’t ever been to a Prom, and I still haven’t ever made out to the “I touch you once! I touch you twice! I won’t let go at any price!” song.