It’s a bummer that Patrick Swayze’s final role before he died of pancreatic cancer in 2009 was a forgotten A&E series. The man who gave us Road House, Point Break, Dirty Dancing, Red Dawn, and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, the man who men wanted to be and women (and men) wanted to sleep with, bowed out too soon with The Beast. Hollywood is still looking for an actor to match Swayze’s sensitive-yet-violent charisma with little to no luck. He was truly one of a kind, and it’s a shame James Dalton/Jed Eckert/Johnny Castle is no longer with us.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate his career, though, especially today, on his birthday. Here are some important lessons Swayze gave us about being a man.
1. Always stand for something, never think it’s about the money. The human spirit is alive, dammit, and now I want to make a triumphant speech around a campfire.
2. Dirty Dancing is full of important lessons — dancing solves everything, your dad’s probably going to say you can’t see the hunky dance instructor anymore after you ask him for money to pay for an abortion even when you’re not pregnant, etc. — but chief among them is, never put Baby in a corner.
3. You, personally, may not want to dress in drag and become a queen, but don’t judge what you can’t understand.
4. A dumb, childish prank is only as successful as the people who are willing to help you pull it. Surround yourself with those you can trust, especially when you’re pulling the ol’ fake teeth in a glass gag.
5. A man should probably avoid trying to relive his past glories. Specifically, sort-of sequels to beloved movies that came out nearly 20 years later.
6. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or whatever — all religions can come together to celebrate a very merry Patrick Swayze Christmas.
7. And lastly, share the spotlight because competition breeds innovation, and by innovation, I mean Swayze vs. Chris Farley in a striptease.