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Disco Daze -- No Petting, Pleeeze?

  • Posted by Wheelchair Dancer
  • 20 Apr 08, 4:06 AM

When I write about dancing, I often say things like, "well, you don't have to join a troupe, you can just shake your booty at a club." Shamefacedly, however, I have to say that I have never done that. I've been to clubs, yes. I have hung out at bars, yes. BUT up until last week, I have to say that I haven't actually done it.  I was a wheelchair clubbing virgin. 

Friday night, on tour.  The hotel we were staying at was apparently a local "dancing destination."  Seedy, sleazy, yeeeow.  We were coming off a performance high and needed a way to come down.  I ran to my room and pulled on a top, wriggled my way in to some leggings, reduced the stage makeup for regular makeup, pouted into the mirror, located my ID:  good to go. 

The West Coasters commandeered a table; we got some drinks.  And people stared.  Some 80's music began, and a friend and I bounced onto the floor.  People froze.  We played our part, of course; we bumped, slid, did the grind over body and chair, air-kissed, and generally danced as wildly as possible.  The seconds of stillness eased into cautious movement; they would dance and then check over their shoulder to see if we were still happening.  We were.

And then it began.  People came over and started wanting to dance with me.  These were kind of creepy pity dances, but, at first, I thought they would be fun to do -- freak people out a bit.  No such luck.  I danced wildly, sexily, skillfully, angrily.  I danced all styles, free styles, no styles.  No one noticed.  I was going to charm, wow, dance, bludgeon these people into seeing me as a dancer and not as a brave, spirited girl.  Instead, the evening got creepier: people wanted to touch.

My colleagues, ever the cynics, started a catalogue in case I wanted to charge for some combination of a simple dance, a dance with blessing or statement of amazement, a dance with a hug or a pat on the back, some combination of two or more of the former.

I had dug myself a very deep hole with no escape route.  Dancing with them was not enough to stop the petting urge.  Removing their arms from around me was apparently offensive to them.  I danced myself into an angry frenzy and then, my rage dissipated; I was too exhausted to find it fun any more.  One more sip at my drink, and I slunk off to wash their horrible bodies off mine and go to bed.

But not before the bouncer congratulated me on my wonderful attitude.

I should have known better.  No.  I did know better, but I thought I could outsmart them -- change the dynamic a little.

gah.  just.  gah.

Visit the online retreat of the Wheelchair Dancer

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