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Dance Like a Man

2004-01-19 - 11:39 a.m.

I love to dance. And I'm good at it.

Like everything else about me, I politicize my dancing skills, to an extent. Sometimes, when people say I'm a good dancer, I say, "I'm Latino and gay, what did you expect?" It's playing into a stereotype, I know, but it's one that empowers a minority rather than disenfranchising them. I like thinking that my ability to shake my ass is directly connected to my ancestry and my sexuality, particularly since it makes sense for me to do so. I listened to latin music as a child, and my mother danced with me before I could even walk. My mother can't sing to save her soul, but the woman has rhythm. My body got used to swaying to the beat, to finding the rhythm, and hip-hop and techno beats aren't anywhere near as complicated as a good Afro-Cuban mixtape. Then came the gay years, where club culture is a huge part of life. Those who do not know how to dance suffer greatly. The Queer Elders have told me not to speak of what happens to gay guys who can't dance, but, well, let's just say that a Manolo Blahnik platform in a men's size 14 can leave quite a mark.

Alright, I know, enough's enough. Bubt seriously, my humor and my feet may not be totally coordinated, but my hips can sway.

Some of my fondest memories revolve around dancing. The most important of all had to be the first gay dance party I attended in college. I had invited a few of my new friends to come join me (one of those friends was a bisexual woman, and unbeknownst to me another was a bisexual guy). I went to the party ready to shake my ass and watch myself, but even more to watch the guy I had a crush on. Who came with a date.

Yeah, that sucked.

So there I was, pining and wishing I could dance with this guy who didn't even seem that interested in dancing anyway. It was particularly painful when "Bizarre Love Triangle" came on, because it was an adolescent dream of mine to fall in love while dancing to New Order's schmoopiest hit (okay, it's still a dream, SHUT UP). I was getting depressed, wanting to go home, but then "Dancing Queen" came on.

If you have never seen the film Muriel's Wedding, go see it now. It is my favorite movie of all time by virtue of its original script and brilliant performances by Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths, two of Australia's best actresses. Until you see it, know this: Muriel's Wedding is a movie about friendship and empowerment, and "Dancing Queen" is the anthem of that movie. "Dancing Queen" was my and my fag hag's song. I played "Dancing Queen" when I left home to go to college. If I could only listen to 20 songs for the rest of my life, "Dancing Queen" would be one of them.

So when it comes on, I get very happy, and decide that I do not need to be pining over some guy who doesn't even like to dance. Then, at the end of the first verse, just at the lines "And when you get the chance . . ." come on, I see my three friends come through the door, head right for me, give me a big hug, and proceed to booty-shake with me like there's no tomorrow. It was a highlight of my life. In that moment, I knew that I had friends who would be there with me, friends whom I wouldn't trade for anything. I've lost touch with one of them since, but I still think about her, and miss her. I hope that I'll get to dance with her again.

As I said, I made a resolution to dance more this year. I have actually been pretty good about keeping this one, accepting any and all invitations to go dancing. The latest was on Friday, where I was invited to a hip-hop party to benefit a election monitoring in El Salvador (yes, I know, it would probably be better to spend money on election monitoring HERE, but no one is throwing a dance party for it yet). The DJs were awesome, mixing together the classics, the latest hits, and the underground tracks. The best few minutes had to be when he played Outkast's "Rosa Parks" followed by Missy's "Work It." My booty was shakin' hard enough to cause seismic disturbances. I was graceful, energized, and fabulous, and I knew it.

And so did everyone else.

There was this one girl who caught my attention as soon as she came in. This girl had fag hag written all over her. Now, let me take a moment to explain fag hags to the uninitiated. A fag hag, in my lexicon, is neither a woman in love with gay men nor a woman whose best friend is a gay man. The first kind of woman is sad and the other is simply conventional, if liberal and probably cool. Fag hags are women who have entourages of gay men, who know the names and dating histories of almost every man in her considerably large social circle, and who is loved and even worshipped by the men around her. Contrary to popular opinion, fag hags are not fat women who can't find a straight man. While many if not most (if not all) fag hags are plus size, they are rarely sexless. In fact, many of them have a number of straight men ready to service their every desire. It takes a special kind of woman to be a true fag hag. This woman had it going on. She had a voluptuous hourglass figure perfectly displayed in a black shirt and black jeans, with a cherry red cowboy hat on her head and cherry red lipstick on her DSLs (don't ask). She looked like Pink, if Pink were allowed food, but far cooler.

She took some time to compliment me on my dancing, and we went out on the floor together for Prince's "Kiss." The end of every chorus was punctuated by the two of us lokcing lips, after which she would shove me away in a classic diva style. I was a gay man in love. We got all up on each other throughout the night, and a couple of other ladies joined us, eager to lamabada with La Notorious. At the end of the night, I told this girl that she was the kinda girl gay guys like me worship. She says, "Baby, I didn't even know you were gay, but boy do I love you even more!"

Didn't know I was gay? Didn't know I was GAY?! The Hell?! Didn't my bootyliciousness light up the sky like a flame?

That's when I realized that some of the other girls who heard this were . . . disappointed.

Recently, a friend of mine said that he didn't by that I was transgender but lazy. He said that, as fabulous a drag queen as I have been on occassion, I was too much of a man to do it full time. This was bizarre, to me, because I've always thought of myself as very feminine. Yet another friend of mine had said that I seemed more masculine recently, that it was only around certain people that I decided to light the fires of queendom.

And here were these women, who were dancing with me, freakin' on me, even kissing me, thinking that I was eager to kiss back.

How cool am I?

Actually, not that cool, merely because I didn't have the good sense to follow through on my "learn to talk to cute boys" resolution. You see, there was this guy there who was REALLY hot. His hotness came partially from his look, but mostly from his moves. He moved like a snake, like how I imagine an Indian god would dance. He had me mesmerized, certainly. So mesmerized, in fact, that I barely noticed when he elbowed me in the eye.

I did notice, however, when he expressed his apologies by giving me a pat. On the chest. With his fingertips. Well, not so much a pat as a brush. Oooooh, boy, did I notice.

I tried dancing with him a little, especially after I misunderstood when a friend of mine said he was "pan" (I thought she meant "pansexual," but she meant "It is as though Pan, the figure out of Greek mythology, has appeared before us"). His behavior certainly seemed to indicate that he was a fan of the fellas and the ladies. Or that he was on E.

After the party, I had my friend who was also interested in him (because I believe in sharing my toys) invite him to participate in a dance/movement piece that we will be performing in February. Sadly, he will be one of those in El Salvador. However, he did say that he enjoyed dancing with me, and I found out something that, once I knew it, made me realize that this was one dancer I had dance with again. Horizontally.

He's a techie. More specifically, I lighting techie. Be still my beating heart. And yes, that's my heart, you pervs.

Okay, fine, not JUST my heart.

Tonight, I will be dancing again, first for the aforementioned performance piece and then later at Nasty's, a very fun hip-hop bar that features dancing every Monday. As for the boy, I'll see if I can follow the six degress of separation (which should be no more than one or two degrees) to find out about fun dance parties this weekend, and make sure he comes to them as well. Until I see him though, I will practice my booty-shakin' moves with full confidence, and see if I can't find some more dancing partners.

If they're ready for this jelly, that is.

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The End - 2005-02-11
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The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
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