Dirrty by Christina Aguilera
It was the end of my first year of university, I was back in Christchurch for the summer holidays. It had been a busy year filled with devoted attention to schoolwork and lessons in socialising and living with other newly-independents. To help me wind down and appreciate being young and carefree, my mum suggested I try out fun, new activities that summer, like how about windsurfing?
The lesson was booked.
On the day of my lesson I rocked up to the counter to be told that my instructor would be a few minutes late. No biggie. I sat down on the concrete path leading up to the shop entrance in wait. Ten minutes passed, behind me all was quiet in the shop, in front of me the estuary was awash in bright early afternoon light and making rhythmic little movements. Then, a young guy walked up towards me.
His hair was almost the same colour as his face, a caramel shade of honey. Whenever I try to imagine how that description must come across – tan hair blending into tan face – it sounds pukey, as if he were a Ken doll whose hair was left uncoloured. But on him it was beautiful. On him it looked like that was the key to beauty.
His eyes were blue-green and what I would call “good-looking” eyes. I don’t know if it had something to do with the way light was taken in and glinted out from them, or if it was something about the shape of them… The next year I would notice that a friend of my flatmate’s seemed to have the exact same eyes as this guy, and a guy in one of my classes last year had them too. These good-looking eyes, they’re a type, and they’re mesmerising, but I have no idea why.
L introduced himself as the person who’d be taking me out that day and sent me off to put on the rental wetsuit. The first emergence from the outdoor changing room revealed that I had put it on with the zip running down the front. The second emergence revealed that it was on inside out. The only incorrect way of wearing a wetsuit that I didn’t model was wearing it upside down – legs in the arm portion and arms in the leg portion. Kudos to him and the owner of the store, who did seem to be trying very hard to stifle their giggles.
Once in the water L was an attentive, diligent teacher. He would explain something to me and then ask if the way he explained it made sense. I would tell him what I had understood and the bits that I was less sure about. The cutest thing about him was how he would say “Hmmm, I really like this. It’s good to think about how I’m explaining something and to find new ways to do it, so that I learn how to teach things to people the way they understand them. I like learning how to think of other ways to say things.” He didn’t really need to be more attractive than he already was…
At one point we were standing side by side with our hands on the windsurf board, his pair to the left of my pair. We had our hands apart the same distance, and for some reason that moment sticks in my memory. Looking at our pairs of hands and silently remarking on how his hands were of a similar size to mine and how they were quite “nice-looking” hands, meaning they weren’t the stereotypical large, coarse man-hands. It was weird having that random thought of how our hands looked so similar.
About halfway through the lesson the chorus of “Dirrty” suddenly came up inside me, unbidden, so loud and confident that I was almost tricked into bopping in time with the music. ‘Wanna get, dirrty! Gettin fired up in a, hurr-ey!” Basically it was the rhythm and the bald-faced declaration of “Wanna get, dirrty” that was replaying over and over again. I didn’t even know the actual lyrics so it was the most banal loop that would occasionally interchange the words dirty and naughty, and wanna get with gonna get.
There I was, feeling healthy and peaceful and happy, standing in thigh-level water with the sun and the light breeze and the sea smells, the feeling of having all the time in the world, paying careful attention to the words of cute guy instructor L who’s trying so earnestly to help me… and stuck in a loop of this sassy demanding song brazenly yelling out that I want to get Dirrty. Why couldn’t I turn it off?!?!
Consciously I wasn’t thinking any provocative thoughts about him, I was just feeling happy being around this cute guy. The most I would have figured was “Mmmm, he is so attractive.” Yet subconsciously I was Christina Aguilera wanting things to get just a little naughty? What??
All I could do was try to quell the blushing. And refrain from laughing out loud lest he think I was laughing at him… I was so embarrassed that this was the song my crush chose for its self-expression. Music with sexual overtones is one thing. Music associated with the marriage of chaps to a bikini is another.
On a happy note at the end of the lesson I could windsurf in a straight line and make turns to go back in the opposite direction. Since then I have also never been able to listen to this song without breaking out into laughter. Oh Shame, thou most righteous humour-propellant.
Damn you brain. Damn you.