When we got to the scene where Oda Mae allowed Sam to enter her body so that Sam and Molly could have one last dance together, something funny and unforgettable happened between my friend Charles and me.
The scene was edited such that as Sam enters Oda Mae’s body, there were a few seconds where it showed Oda Mae’s hands touch Molly’s hands. The scene gracefully transitioned to Sam dancing with Molly, although the audience knew Sam as in Oda Mae’s body the entire time.
Although I understood at 11 years of age that the scene was shot that way to convey what Molly’s character was feeling and yearning for, part of me desperately wanted the screen to show Oda Mae dancing with Molly.
At 11 years of age, I not only knew the history involving slaves and the African American plight during the civil rights movement in the United States, but I was also aware of the issues surrounding interracial marriages between blacks and whites.
Furthermore, what I was even more sensitive towards and aware of was the stigma attached to gay or lesbian relationships. I was no stranger to the bullying in elementary school and the suffering endured while being teased for being feminine at recess, and I certainly was aware of how society instilled in their young the assumption that it was a given a boy would grow up to one day be the prince for their lucky princess.
Except I wanted to see an exception to that rule. Part of me desperately wanted to see Whoopi Goldberg dance on screen intimately with Demi Moore. That would have not only been hot, but I remember distinctly thinking how seeing such a scene would free me from the shame I carried towards my own sexuality. It would be a stamp of OKAY coming from a viable media source, and I would have a defense for being “Weird” or “different.” I’d have ammunition to use against my teachers, peers, and parents in case I was caught dressing like a girl and making out with one, or dating a boy, for that matter.
As the scene rolled on, I said out loud: “I thought Molly was dancing with Oda Mae, why did they insert Sam there?”
Charles got so bent out of shape, he actually paused the VCR, turned towards me, and annoyingly said to me: “You know why the movie shows the scene that way, right?!?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Okay…..” said Charles, in an unconvinced tone. “Why did they shoot the scene with Demi dancing with Patrick instead of Whoopi then?”
I went into the explanation I knew Charles wanted to hear instead of explaining what I felt in my feminine heart. I honored the masculine facade that society had categorized me with and placed me into from one glance at my genitals….instead of honoring what I truly felt about my gender and sexuality and what I wish the movie would have shown.
“Because the movie-makers wanted to portray what Molly’s character felt and what she experienced, which was one last dance with Sam. Even though Sam was using Oda Mae’s body, they didn’t want to show 2 women dancing inappropriately and it was more romantic to show the man and woman characters who were in love dancing together,” I said.
Quite articulate for a 11 year old, but that’s what I recall saying.
“Yes! Thank you!” Charles said in what almost seemed like a sigh of relief, given my explanation showed I wasn’t an idiot.
We were quiet for the rest of the movie.
I went home and was quiet about my feminine heart for the next 21 years…
I still disagree with Charles….if would have been hot to see 2 women of Demi and Whoopi’s caliber dancing together.