The Dancing Baby

posted 15 August 2004
Right, I've had a busy weekend. Lots to blog about, so let's try and get this over with quickly (while simultaneously chatting to four people on MSN and two via SMS. I am so totally overcommunicated.) Tackling things in chronological order, and adopting M's discreet habit of using initials for those without blogs:

Friday:

So, I didn't go to Noise. I liked Noise last time I went, but I wanted to dance, and Popstarz is better -- MUCH better -- for that. Noise has great music, but very Indie, so two-thirds of it I've never heard. In any case, C & I found it too difficult to get back from Vauxhall, so I met them at Retro and we got tickets for Popstarz. R turned up with J, who I met at Element, and C (or possibly K?) who I'd never met before. They decided to go to Noise anyway, so I didn't feel bad about ditching R with them.

Popstarz was in fine form and C is a fabulous dance partner, totally unafraid of claiming a patch at the front of the stage and strutting her stuff. I is somewhat more retiring but even he turned up on the stage for a new songs. Kudos to them, even if I *did* find they'd hunted through my bag while I was in the loos at retro and scrawled salacious messages in my notebook.

I danced for hours, more than I have in ages, even more than with Moz when he visited last weekend (and that in itsef was loads more than I have in a while). R, J and C/K turned up at 1am (having already been to Noise) just as C & I decided they'd had enough, so that kept my evening going until 3.30, which was great.

I spent quite a lot of time making my own typically inept advances towards an extremely cute boy, a great dancer in a black sleeveless top who spent a lot of the time at the front of the stage with a girl-friend of his (sound like a description of anyone you know, kids?). I wussed out and took the usual route of introducing myself to his fag-hag first (who was called Amy, and an excellent dancer in own right, matching me move for move without any kind of advance warning, a feat accomplished by relatively few people, notably M). When I finally spoke to him directly, he gave me the most obvious brush-offs I've had in a while, bordering on the rude/arrogant. Apparently he's on OUT (where I've been spending quite a lot of time recently) and has seen me there and already decided I'm some kind of psycho, which is sort of worrying. I didn't think I was that scary. I intend to contact him on OUT anyway, if only to enquire what it was about me that he detested so: I only seek to learn. In any case, later saw him smoking, so he's a write-off anyway. Maybe that was his reason for writing me off too? I certainly hope so.

The other thing that stuck me about the night was the number of people who approached me, and specifically their composition. Now, there's no way to address this subject without sounding like a total arrogant bastard, so I'm not even going to try. Just take my word for it that I'm not really so incredibly up myself and that I wouldn't be making these statements if I had not been repeatedly assured that they were true by many friends.

Apparently I am a relatively "good" dancer. At least, people come up to me in clubs and say this relatively frequently. That's a good thing. I really, purely enjoy dancing for the fun of it and the love of the music, so the fact that people think that I do well what I love doing anyway is very satisfying -- the alternative being that I would be like one of those people who love singing but are awful at it, but insist upon singing anyway, inflicting their grating voice on everyone at every karaoke bar they can find. I'm glad people enjoy watching me dance as much as I enjoy dancing. Indeed, the kind of dancing I enjoy most is what I refer to as "music-video" dancing: it faces in one direction, mimes to the words of the song and in general presupposes an audience, so if people are watching and understand the miming and notice the jokes I put in, then all the better, because nobody likes talking to themselves if they think they have something funny to say.

Because my dancing rather demands an audience, an audience tends to form. This is particularly the case in British clubs where people would rather not be dancing themselves (I'm sorry Britain, but you are in the majority rather unenthusiastic dancers). These people come up to me, tap me on the shoulder, and compliment me on my dancing, which is really lovely of them. And, as I say, this is all to the good as far as I'm concerned. But the thing about these audiences is that they are exclusively female in composition. Why? It made sort of sense at uni, when most people were straight and the gay ones were all on stage next to me (gotta love Warwick), but now I'm in a gay club, full of gay men, dancing in a way that is apparently pleasing, and yet the only people who come up to me are straight women. What's up, guys? Am I really hideous, but as some sort of cosmic compensation I can dance, in the same way that Pavarotti can sing to make up for the fact that he's a really annoying fat guy? Does my dancing make me look like a scene queen? Does it intimidate? What? Tell me, so I can rectify this problem! It was mildly annoying to have only straight women talk to me all night at straight club nights at uni. To have the same be true at gay clubs in London is positively demoralising.

And speaking of demoralising...

Saturday and Sunday:

As I mentioned previously, my parents are making their annual visit. This is fine with me. The days when I dreaded their visits because of awkwardness caused by my coming out to them are past. My family are really great, and I get along with them all really well, which is a very lucky thing, I realise. But you know how certain groups have a particular dynamic? With certain groups of people, the conversations always have a certain shape, and everyone plays the same role every time? With my family that shape is 22 years old now, and quite impossible to break.

Individually, I can have quite mature conversations with my family members and be taken totally seriously. But when we all get together and the conversation is in full swing, everyone reverts to type, and I am the Baby. My pronouncements are cute, not amusing. My point of view is not to be taken seriously. I know it's not meant harshly, and I know they don't intend to belittle me, but when we're all together everyone will hear what I have to say but no one will listen and it enormously aggravating to me that this is still the case now that I'm 22 and have my own views on politics, economics or even bloody cooking that may or may not be realistic or well-informed but which I have spent time considering and formulating and are as valid as anyone else's.

Part of the problem is, of course, that I am the baby. No matter how much I mature or learn and how much I experience, my parents have 37-odd years' more experience than I do, and even my youngest brother is 6 years older, putting them all permanently at a different stage in life than I am: when I was an adolescent, they were wise university students, when I was a university student, they were young professionals, and now that I am a young professional they are settling down with long-term partners and stepping up the property ladder. I am always and forever coming to conclusions and having experiences that they had 5 or 10 years ago -- or 40, in my parents' case. But still, it hurts when my comments are dismissed with a condescending laugh or when my wish to explain my position is brushed off with a switch to another topic: nothing I can say will change their minds, so why even listen?

At least one of my family reads this blog, so I know this will feed back to them, but what do I want the outcome to be of this? I know what would happen if I brought it up: either awkward apologies and future overcompensation, or further dismissal -- Laurie being over-sensitive again. And once again, just as when I came out to them, I would be the one introducing an awkwardness to our family conversation that everyone else would have to accommodate and work around, I would be the spoilt baby unable to take a good-natured joke, demanding special treatment instead. I don't want that. I hate having to demand that of them. I would rather, instead, that I didn't have to ask. I would like them to listen to me not because I had screamed petulantly "I have something important to say!" but instead because they thought what I was saying was worth listening to. But that's not happened, and doesn't look like it's going to.

So instead, here I am, whining petulantly. And there they are, about to awkwardly apologize and overcompensate. Sorry about that, guys, but you're fucked either way. Best to just ignore it completely and pretend I never said anything: that's what I'm used to anyway, and at least I won't feel like the spoilt baby any more than I already do.

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