Cheer December 9, 2008Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Insomnia or, at the very least, disturbed sleep caused by worrying that I might die while dancing along to Mickey by Toni Basil, is wreaking havoc with my clockwork. Still, as luck would have it, I’m keeping the world afloat single-handedly and there’s no time for sleep with all the scampering I have to do in my translatorly hamster-wheel.
Do you dance, darlings? I used to think it was a thing to do but as I’m now not far off the telegram from Her Majesty, I’m close to giving up the ghost. I’ll throw myself around a dance-floor if need be, but need doesn’t often. My mother taught me to waltz, or to move in a shape approximating a waltz, no doubt seeing it as a vital life-skill for a man about to embark on adulthood in the 1990s – I put it down to her not knowing how the world works rather than actual madness. And, anyway, her mind’s in far better shape than mine is and she’s 200 if she’s a day, which she is, at least, because she had me, and I wasn’t born today, or even yesterday – and I dutifully tried to pass on my dancing skills to the Russian in case we ever establish a foundation and start hosting gala dinners but my beloved is not light of foot or, indeed, mass and I think his dancing exploits are best left uncategorised, unnamed and unchoreographed.
(Speaking of choreography – Ms. Basil’s main bag – guess how old Toni Basil is now. No cheating.)
So dancing has become a vicarious pleasure.
Call me heterophobic if you will but I’ve got a feeling gay men probably set an ounce more store by dancing than our heterosexual brothers. Us gayers being artistic types – I only translate to help humanity. I’m a singer-songwriter-sculptor mostly – means that a dance-floor pulsating with poofs might even have the odd profesh or two on it and it’s not a rare treat to see someone moving in a way that seems to have education behind it. I look on in admiration and order myself another drink.
Darlings, but even we artistic gayers are products of our surroundings. And unless one makes a very concerted effort to pretend to live in a different world and is very selective about the company and geography one keeps, there are still chapters of one’s life that are heavily heterosexual. I am unfortunate enough not to know any gay men much older than myself or any long-term gay older couples. So I don’t know if the Russian and I, as surely as bankruptcy follows Christmas, will do that couple-dance that so many of our older heterosexual co-humans do. You know, the sort of jivey-dance. Him twisting her around. Their arms fumbling overhead. Catching her, supposedly, if she has spun clean away and then halting that momentum and spinning her back at just the right time. And all performed, almost without exception, with a total lack of co-ordination and skill after the committed consumption of booze.
I was only reminded that I didn’t have a prototype of couple-future when the Russian and I ended up Sunday-night-drinking in Poland. The club was quiet, naturally, and only hardened boozers bothered venturing out in flagrant disrespect of the working week ahead. Psychotically drunk people who’d never been to ballet school hurled themselves around furiously. Occasionally I would worry that it was about to descend into violence. The more psychotically drunk men were all much the most huge and most meaty present. “Probably not gay at all,” the Russian and I would reassure ourselves, drawing naturally gifted and florid designs for pink-gated communities on beer mats, but then one would pull his trousers down and dance in his boxer shorts and the other would pull his t-shirt off and then, in a crowning dénouement tying up all loose ends neater than a Vienna baker, they would snog each other and collapse with an unsexy thud onto the stage. (The Russian and I set fire to our blueprints.)
And it was only the straights who could show us the way in how to grow old gracefully and dance like proper couples. A deliciously jolly pissed couple did the inelegant jive-dance. Their movements were so slow, so padded, that even their reactions to getting the spins wrong without fail would come about twenty seconds later. Mr. would spin determinedly on. Ms. would move as the laws of physics dictated, having no mental input to contribute, and would be hauled back in close when Mr. was in a position, both physical and geographical, to do so. She would try to mouth words of apology and self-deprecation, blinking very slowly throughout. He would guffaw jollily. Then they would snog.
“Darling, we don’t know how to do that dance. Maybe it is a vital ingredient of a happy partnership. And we don’t have any older gays to ask guidance. We are pioneers. We don’t know what the future holds. Oh god, if we get rich and establish a foundation and have gala dinners, will you instantly then run off and leave me for someone 19? I promise I don’t mind that you wear pyjamas.”
Luckily for us, No Stress then rattled scratchily off the gramophone. We got jiving with the best of them and, do you know, I think we were even better than the Puerto Rican couple.