Sunday, May 2, 2010

DD#58: Movement - physical and social

I have a happiness hangover - not from alcohol - from having fun. My body is slightly sore, my head is a little achey and my spirit and brain are feeling terrific. I spent another night of intense dancing. While I'm on the dance floor, I feel the joy of being in my body and don't give a care to how I'll feel the next day. I know that after more regular dancing I'll be able to wake up feeling flexible and healthy the morning after - even with fewer hours of sleep.

I drove to a night club an hour and a half from my home to join in a friend's birthday party. It's been many years since I've been in this particular type of venue and wasn't sure what to expect. The one thing I could be sure of, however, was that if my friend said it was a great place it most certainly would be a fun experience.

I was a little curious to see whether things had changed since my Friday and Saturday nights clubbing from years ago. In those days, there was plenty of alcohol consumed - not by me because I've always been a lightweight drinker - but by others in the clubs I frequented. The single men stood around watching and the women sat around bouncing in their chairs just waiting to be asked to dance. It was a highly competitive waiting game. Who would win the attention of an attractive man?

The men needed a few drinks before they'd venture over to someone to ask. Since I can only speculate how tough it must be to get up the courage to ask a woman to dance leaving yourself open to the possibility of being publicly rejected, I'll speak from my perspective - one of the women who sat with her friends or alone, hoping and praying I'd be asked to dance. I remember looking around the room watching women forced by social customs to sit in their chair moving in rhythm to the music, smiling, flirting (outrageously or covertly), giving every signal they knew to entice a man to ask them to dance. Sometimes it worked and others it didn't, but nearly every woman in the place wanted to dance. For most of us singles it was the only opportunity we had to feel the joy of dancing and safe physical contact with a man.

Well, the times have changed - a LOT! Last night I joined an array of men and women of every size, color, style, and age having fun on the dance floor. None of the women waited for a man to ask - when a song was played that moved us, we headed to the dance floor and danced. There were still plenty of men standing in groups watching and waiting, but women weren't waiting for them. Sometimes the men would simply join us on the dance floor, three or four to a group. I was asked to dance and joined on the dance floor by men of all ages and colors - everyone was simply feeling the joy of strutting their stuff to the music. There seemed to be no socially proscribed qualifications for age, gender, or ethnic background - the only requirement was to be free enough to have fun moving with the music. How liberating it felt to participate in this break away from the old rigidity around who should do what. The only expectation was to feel the rhythm, laugh, join in, be there, dance, flirt, smile, and occasionally bump into someone who was exuberantly movin' to the music.

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