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Yesterday I physically (and emotionally) touched a piece of history, and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

While out on a boat tour of beautiful Lake Lure in North Carolina, I was taking photos of the amazing lakefront homes when the tour guide said something that made me almost drop my camera overboard.

We were sailing through the area where the famous water scenes from Dirty Dancing were filmed.

As my hand grazed the top of the water, I felt a chill rush through my body. This very spot was where Johnny taught Baby to truly trust him.

And better yet, this very spot was where Patrick Swayze’s young dancer’s body swam… and now my naked hand was in the water, too. Which means we basically… Well, I don’t like to kiss and tell.

The spot is gorgeous, just like in the movie. The long, wooden staircase that Baby climbed in the film is nestled perfectly in the woods. And as I took it all in, I could picture Johnny lifting her up in the water… and I could see the look of complete happiness on her original-nosed face.

As the tour boat made its way back around the lake, I thought about Johnny and Baby—about their story of unrequited love, turned love, turned forbidden love, turned love. Baby’s doctor-father didn’t want his daughter dating the camp dance teacher. He wanted her to marry someone rich and successful just like their family. But Baby fought for her love, running away to meet Johnny—even though it started a huge war with her family.

I can’t say I’ve been the Baby to any Johnnys in my lifetime. I’ve never had a man love me, only to have that love forbidden by my family. I can’t imagine what that would feel like.

But the character I have played, I suppose, is Baby’s father… even in my own relationships. I’ve pre-judged men—before giving them an adequate chance to show their true colors. In my case, it might not have been about how much money they have or how successful they are. But maybe it was about how smart, funny or social they are. Either way, it’s not fair to them… or me.

If I met Johnny and saw him slinking around on the dance floor with lots of women, and then met his friend who wanted a secret abortion—I’d probably think he was a complete man-whore and his friend was just another one of his conquests.

Boy, would I have been wrong.

And just by pre-judging, I’d miss out on some killer dance lessons from a great guy that calls me Spaghetti Arms and never backs me into a corner.

It seems I need to remind myself often to keep an open mind when it comes to dating. That elusive list of what I want in a man may need some editing. Perhaps my Johnny might not look or initially act just like I want… but underneath he might just be a studly, wife-beater-donning dance instructor that wants to teach me how to balance on a fallen tree.

Guess I gotta keep my mind open before I can have “the time of my life.”

~Ruth