I wish I knew more people who loved to dance as much as I do. At The Short Stop, I was and am known as "the firestarter." I wonder how many other people know what that's like. When I dance, I can get people dancing. I don't know if it's because of my enthusiasm or skill, but I know it to be true. I may be the first person dancing on a Saturday, but eventually people are going to dance on a Saturday because it's Saturday. When you can get a crowd whipped up on a Wednesday, that's when you know it's not just the day. I wonder about my movement. I know I've gone through transitions. I've moved my hips more, my legs more, my arms more. I've found patterns I like to repeat, but it's all self-taught. There might be a little Travolta (very little) or found items, but maybe it's best if it's primitive. No idea. Rhythm is math, understand the math.
One thing dancing has made sacrosanct is that woman are to be treated kindly or left alone. I say this because one thing the dance floor has taught me is what it means to be objectified. On an off night, people can do what they want, but when shit gets crowded, you get guys who are on the hunt. What that means is a line of guys just looking, dudes who get into groups and will stand around in the middle of a dance floor (MIDDLE OF THE DANCE FLOOR!!!) not dancing, sometimes just looking at their phones. This makes me think an entire generation of people don't know how to interact, so they just want to be in it.
But I also know that as someone who hits the floor so regularly and with such passion, that I am captured on people's phones. People think they're being subtle, but they're not. Some days I treat it like my friend Scott - who used to pose in the background of photos at Universal Studios, creating an album of images that will never be seen by anyone - as something that happens but is my personal in-joke. These days when I see phones pointed at me I get mildly annoyed because I know that this is going to end up on social media platform to which I have no access and I have no idea how what I'm doing is being viewed. Am I being singled out because of my skill, or is it "look at the white guy!@!" I have no idea. Because these people don't talk to me, I can't be sure. And that makes me mad at the level of a dull ache.
Being objectified also means that people will touch me. My ass has been pinched often, women have tried to kiss me, and people will offer me advice I don't want about how to dance. I don't need to be told how to dance, and I generally don't want advice from someone I don't know. I have control. It may look frenzied or big, or whatever, but I know what I'm doing and I know the space I have, which means when I have a lot of space I like to take advantage and go big. I would compare this to being a woman if it happened all the time, but really it only happens when I'm dancing so I won't pretend to relate. If I do talk to a woman on the floor it's because I know she's interested, or I feel the need to tell them they are a great dancer and I leave it at that.
Unfortunately, flattery is my downfall. It's late Friday and I'm at home without going out. That's because I threw my back out a while ago, and I don't know if it recovered. I often carry groceries in a backpack and I think the weight differential puts my spine out of whack. Sad. But the reason why I'm hurting so bad is because I was out Wednesday night after work, and I got the dance floor going. I hit, and people joined in. Eventually a woman - who had a boyfriend - hit the floor. I had been peacocking for a while as there was enough space, but the people who were clapping on my moves made me feel supported. Even though she was with a guy, she wanted to dance with me, and that seemed awesome, so I danced with her, eventually going full DIRTY DANCING. When she came over to show me all the photos her boyfriend had taken, I couldn't be happier, happier to be included in this game. But my back showed signs of distress, which I ignored because the DJ was cute and I was being properly lauded.
I recently joined Tinder. I don't care for swipe culture, but I also felt it was important, as I think I'm ready to date again for the first time on social media. I want people to know I'm ready. I have no idea how many swipe right or lefts I've gotten, but I figure that if I'm at a club and people see my profile that it can't hurt. Then again I was at work today, and as I got out of the elevator to go to work, I got a "yeah" nod from a female who must work near me. I assume this happens all the time to women, but it happens to me only from time to time. It's that "yeah" nod that suggests that person is in to you, sold American. And that's the divide from men to women perhaps, though perhaps not, of when I want to be objectified.