I Carried A Watermelon and Other Awkward Moments

Jenna Martin
4 min readSep 17
Photo by Svetlana Afonina: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-holding-a-slice-of-watermelon-10985923/

There’s this scene in the now cult classic movie”Dirty Dancing” where Baby meets Johnny for the first time. Johnny is the resident hottie and rebel in this story (shocker, I mean, it’s Patrick Swayze in a muscle shirt and tight pants). We won’t discuss the feathered-hair-sorta-mullet. Anywhoo, Baby has this fairly sizable watermelon in her arms and she’s NOT allowed in the staff quarters. But she’s bored and intrigued by the music playing in the distance. And maybe unconsciously she’s itching to leave her childhood behind and do something different — maybe even a little dangerous. As trivial as it is, the watermelon in her arms symbolizes her ticket to her womanhood as we find out later on. Ahem. Moving along.

So, Johnny asks her why she’s there with an air of hostility. She’s a GUEST. I mean the nerve of this entitled little brat. Doesn’t she get enough of him and his staff all day? Now she has to encroach on their after-hour fun too? And all Baby can muster (with her heart pounding in her head and the blaring realization that standing in front of her is a bonafide real man) is “I carried a watermelon”. This seems like an acceptable answer to Johnny given the context. It’s a party, it’s summer time, it’s hot, and it’s truly the watermelon season. Obviously, his doofus of a cousin can’t carry all the watermelons. And in an entire resort he couldn’t possibly have snuck out some sort dolly to put them in.That would require his cousin to think on his feet. Johnny nods his head when Baby says this, then turns around and gets back on the dance floor. Baby feels inadequate. She wanted her first words to be something sexy and sophisticated, instead they were utilitarian and functional. She’s not the wild rebel of a woman coming to get her groove on and seduce the resort bad boy. She’s the watermelon carrier.And so begins the love story between Baby and Johnny. Awkward. Weird. Completely relatable.

I’ve been thinking about these “I carried a watermelon” moments lately. I’ve come to the conclusion that try as we might to get out of our own one-act plays in our minds and perceptions of the world it’s a near impossibility. I’m the star of my own reality just as you are the star of yours. We may have supporting roles in each others’ reality, but ultimately I can never fully grasp your perception of the world and you can never…

Jenna Martin

Resilience coach. Mindfulness teacher. Dedicated to helping little and big humans thrive through adversity. Author of Milo & The Wisdom of the Sea.