In Lieu Of The Friday iPod Random Ten

Ken AshfordPopular CultureLeave a Comment

I offer a little classic Pat Benatar.

Takes you back, eh?

Here’s the plot, as far as I can tell.

Pat is riding on the back of the bus, chanting.  Nobody seems to care or notice.  She turns to the passenger next to her and shouts "WHOA-OO-WHOA-OO-WHOA-OO-WHOA-OO-WHOOOOOAA!!", but it has no apparent effect.

Flashback to Pat storming out of her house.  She has just had a fight with her father, Nathan Arizona (from "Raising Arizona").  He’s upset because she always sings, and never just talks.  Mrs. Arizona wrenches her hands in silent despair.  Pat waves "goodbye" to her younger brother, Jimmy, who her parents have locked in his upstairs bedroom, probably because he lacks fashion sense.

Pat eventually finds herself roaming the streets of New York which, as we all know, is populated almost entirely by sluts and brawny gay men who apparently have nothing better to do but grease themselves down with baby oil.

This was, of course, during the time when there was a clothing shortage, and many New Yorkers were forced to walk around in their underwear or torn clothes found in the trash.

We learn that Pat’s father operates a Mom & Pop store — the kind of place with creaky wooden floors and where you can get a fountain soda or a root beer float for a mere "three bits".

We also can be certain that Pat is in New York, as she is frequently the object of shoving and rude stares from the gay men who seem to surround her all the time.

Pat’s father is disgusted by his wife’s cooking, and cannot eat it anymore.

Pat finds a job at one of those seedy "Ten-Cents-A-Dance", which, contrary to popular belief, did NOT disappear in the 1930’s and were, in fact, staggeringly popular in the 1980’s.  The place is populated by more gay men, and an unusual number of sneering women who were never taught how to cross their legs in public.

This, we learn, is a very boring job.  Pat does not seem to be enjoying it, no matter how man gay men ask her to dance.  She sends a postcard to Jimmy, still imprisoned in his bedroom.  Jimmy is amused to discover how sad Pat is, and envies her freedom.

Meanwhile, all is not well at the "Ten Cents A Dance" emporium.  Pat refuses to dance with another gay man.  A gay greasy Mexican with a John Travolta outfit and a gold tooth — his name is Camarro — dances a little "dirty" with one of the other girls. 

This sends Pat into a rage.  She and the other girls surround him and invade his personal space, which is very uncomfortable for the gay Camarro.  She pushes him back against the bar, and shakes her magic shoulders at him.  The other girls join in.  They all shake their magic shoulders at him.

Camarro looks nervously around the club.  "Is anybody else seeing this?" he wonders.

Pat and the girls perform the "Here Come The Jets" routine from West Side Story, occasionally lifting their arms to dry their sweaty pits.

More shaking of the magic shoulders entices Camarro to join Pat.  Playing along for a while, Pat lets out with a "Oh, no you di-int" and throws water on him.  Camarro grabs Pat’s wrist, but she is able to break away from his very gay stronghold.  Eventually, he melts from the water (although this is merely implied). 

Drunk with their newfound fem-power, Pat and the other dime-a-dance girls take their shoulder-shaking routine outside, where it is midnight.  They are (one assumes) in search of the dancers from Donna Summer’s "She Works Hard For The Money".  They proceed down an abandoned dead end street where, remarkably, it’s suddenly noon.  They stop their dancing, and perform the "goodbye" scene from Godspell

It’s only now that we realize some of the "girls" are actually male transvestites, in an M. Night Shyamalan/"Crying Game" surprise twist ending.

The sound of the bus driver’s whistling snaps Pat back to the present, and we again see her on the back of the bus.

She pouts.  "Love is a battlefield" she muses.

FUN FACT:  The part of Jimmy was played by Will Farrell’s brother, Dominick.