I sometimes use the term THE LOOK as a shorthand referring to a very special incident from my past which people close to me understand. But I feel it's time to document the story because the term has taken on a new life.
=== LONG AGO
A long, long time ago I saw a movie where Wally Cox, playing a very shy young man, went to a gypsy woman to learn how to make the object of his desires fall in love with him. The gypsy taught him how to cast a spell using THE LOOK. THE LOOK requires you to gaze into her eyes and concentrate on a particular incantation, which I cannot share with you, but itís guaranteed to make any woman surrender to you.
I decided then and there to keep this tactic in reserve for future use.
=== 1968 - MANY YEARS LATER
Years later I met Nina. She was Aunt Shirley's best friend. I was a recent college graduate. But despite our age difference we became good friends. A year later I began to realize that I enjoyed spending time with Nina more than the time I spent with the women I was dating. And then I started thinking what I could do to get Nina to think of me as a lover, instead of her friend's nephew.
This was all just my fantasy. When I came for a visit, we'd talk over coffee, or we'd play gin rummy and listen to music on the radio. One night a jitterbug was playing and I asked her to dance - right there in the dining room. But dancing a jitterbug is safe. It's fast moving. You're at a distance. It's not intimate like a slow dance.
But then one night after a jitterbug, a slow number came on, and I asked her to dance that one with me, too - as long as we were already on our feet.
That happened more and more often. Finally one nght I decided to give her THE LOOK.
We were dancing a slow dance in the dining room. I gazed into her eyes. I silently repeated the magical phrase. And I gave her . . . THE LOOK!
And thatís when it happened. She said, ďOh, Yale. I love you so much.Ē And she kissed me like Iíve never been kissed before. A few months later we were married.
=== 2018 - TWENTY YEARS AFTER NINA DIED
Since Nina died, I have not pursued romantic relationships. I've gone out with a few different women for a casual dinner, a night at the theater, but nothing romantic. No holding hands, no kiss good night.
I became involved with many personal projects. I've done a couple one-man shows, I go to Karaoke every week, I've gotten into Swing Dancing, and I audition for film roles.
In one of the films there's a dance number. I'm a resident at an old age home and this dance number takes place in the large dining hall where six elderly couples suddenly perform a synchronized dance routine.
After several takes, the director told us to look at our partners like we were in love.† "And really let it show," was the direction.† So I gave my partner, THE LOOK. And damn it, she kissed me.† She was flustered immediately afterward and said, "I don't know what came over me.† It just seemed like the natural thing to do."
I decided not to explain the story of THE LOOK.† I simply and politely asked her not to do that again.† (I've got to be more careful with that.)
=== 2018 - THREE MONTHS LATER
Went to Swing Dance. Got there early because I volunteered for door staffing duty. That meant I was there for the tutorial session. I usually skip that part, but it's a nice way to meet the new people and I do enjoy sharing my experience with the newbies.
During the tutorial I danced with a young lady named Monica. She was brand new to Swing Dance, but she was learning quite quickly. I complimented her on that and she asked if I'd promise to dance with her after the lessons were over.
Shortly after the tutorial ended I danced with her and showed off some of my fancy moves. She caught on quickly and we enjoyed ourselves.
Later in the evening I caught her eye and we danced again. This time as the dance ended I moved into the basic ballroom closed dance position - and then she gave me THE LOOK. I almost kissed her, but I caught myself at the last second. Now I was flustered and I'm still confused.
However, now that I've had time to think about it, I'm looking forward to dancing with her again.
Copyright © Yale Schwartz, 2018