Updated: The guy who swiped me wasn't wearing a baseball hat, he was wearing a toque. This confused me because I THOUGHT it was a baseball hat, but when I reached out to grab the brim there was nothing there, which made it look like I was casting some sort of "back off, jerk" spell in the air. A really clumsy spell.
First off, on the right, that's Meagan and me tonight. Meagan owns Scaredy Cats and is a super-cool, wonderful woman. We also used to own the same boots. Whenever these boots frustrate me or hurt me, I tell myself that Meagan used to dance in them, and then I feel alright.
A person can't have a good night every night. If we somehow managed to always have The Best Night Ever, we'd no doubt get horribly bored.
I've learned that the best thing to do when going "out on the town" is to expect the worst...that way I won't be disappointed. Somehow, though, every time I expect a LITTLE MORE than the worst I end up having a disturbing night with the people in heat.
There are only two bars in Kitchener/Waterloo that I'm comfortable in: Club Renaissance and Club Abstract. While I love so many of the people at Renaissance, I hate the music, so I tend to find myself at Abstract...which is usually pretty quiet and calm and protective of Yours Truly.
Nobody can pretend that, at a straight bar, I don't stand out. And I'm the first to admit that I enjoy being visible and standing out, mainly because I think I DESERVE it. I'm not necessarily a BETTER person than the average, but I'm certainly different.
For me, the ideal night at Club Abstract is a lot of comfortable dancing and a lot of sweet people. Too much of that can get dull, for sure, but every year or so -- at unpredictable moments -- the stars align and the bar becomes packed with...well, "Flotsam."
Much of Flotsam are really sweet people, I'm sure. They tend to be quite young, they dress in a very average and conservative way. The boys are in baseball caps and the girls grind with each other (the "Lesbo Girl Routine"), and their ONLY reason for being in the bar is to find SOMEBODY to have sex with. Everything they do is directed towards the basic need to rut. They don't dance because they like the music, they dance because they want to grab some girl's butt.
This is offensive to me because it ruins all the reasons that I go to Club Abstract in the first place: room to dance, and wonderful songs to dance to. But when the Flotsam is taking up all the room, I start to wonder why the heck they don't go to the 9 OTHER bars in town. And I realize that they're slumming. They think it's a dangerous, spooky bar. They view the "regulars" as zoo animals. Or, equally likely, they're spilling over from Friday night at Abstract, which is about as meat-head-y as you can possibly imagine.
So I'm seeing the Flotsam. Wonderful people I'm sure. But they're taking up lots of room on the dancefloor, and most of them aren't even dancing. The ones that ARE dancing are doing the inexcusable "circle dance," where they all stand in an inward-facing circle just like they did in grade seven. Circles are inefficient shapes that waste space. Tonight somebody told me that girls did it to "avoid boys." That's bull...boys always come up from behind anyway.
Now I'm engaging in stereotypical behaviour that is -- objectively -- equally inexcusable. I start to deliberately puncture circles. Hey, if I'm the only person actually dancing to a song, I have a right to claim that enormous empty spot in the middle of your circle. At least that's what I'm thinking at the time.
By doing this I start to make enemies. And on these rare Flotsam nights, I can't afford enemies, because already I'm being scoped out by the men who spy me as an easy target. Maybe they think I'm a girl or maybe they don't, but with me acting all cocky it's already apparent that I have no friends on the dancefloor (and this is the funny thing about Flotsam nights...the "friendly" people are always absent).
So it becomes a stand-off: I'm out there to assert myself, and they're out there to victimize me. Honestly, this is how it happens. Often it's just a matter of some beefy f*cker sticking his fat bully neck in my path, or some guy doing a mocking "pick up the drag queen jig" around me. I deal with these situations by looking as happy as possible, which -- believe me -- makes them SO angry.
But every few years -- like tonight -- I get into a physical situation. As I walked past two of the Flotsam boys, one of them grabbed my skirt and yanked it up. Personally I can deal with this, but for some reason I feel it's my duty to teach men NOT to do such things, even though most of the women I know decide to just put up with it (to be nice), which only perpetuates the behaviour.
It's not my place to tell men what they can't do to women, but in any case I turn around and grab at the edge of the guy's toque and say "Don't EVER do that AGAIN!" Later, when I find myself in the middle of an increasingly hostile dance floor, buddy swats me on the back of the neck as he walks past, so I swat him too. This is stupid.
This has happened SO many times. I continue to stand there but I don't even WANT to be there, I'm NOT having fun, but I feel the need to stand my ground. I don't want the bad element of the Flotsam to think they've "won" by chasing me out of the bar with their general idiocy. Most importantly, I'm realizing that there IS a difference between the GOOD Flotsam and the BAD Flotsam, and I've spent part of the night alienating the good.
So tonight I speak to Nigel about it. Nigel wears showy clothing and is usually the other person who gets pushed around on these nights. All night, Nigel has been -- get this -- DOING MAGIC TRICKS for people. By doing this he is marking himself as a non-threat. He's being the "class clown" to avoid victimization. I do this too on more relaxed nights, but I'm at a disadvantage because men don't tend to think that Nigel is threatening their sexuality.
Might I just say for a second that most men come across as threatening in these situations? Do men realize this? I don't think so. I think that many doggedly pursue sex without realizing how claustrophobic they can be. But then a lot of women -- and I'm lumping myself in here -- either don't complain or (in some cases) don't seem to mind such a thing, so who's to blame? Perhaps me.
While Nigel plays the clown, my way of getting through these nights is to put on my sociology hat. Who are these people? What do they want? Why are they here? But for the most part they all just melt into the "sexual stew." It's like watching locusts in a mating frenzy. Intellect, self-reflection, and individuality appear to be completely shut off. They're animals.
Then I step back and realize that *I* am the abnormal one. *I* am the one who isn't perpetuating my genetic line (and thank goodness!). Who the heck am *I* to say that their behaviour is wrong?
Finally -- after many drinks and many songs I didn't want to dance to -- I come to a basic conclusion: we've got different ideas of right and wrong. I don't think you should take up space on a dancefloor if you're not actually dancing -- and I mean REALLY, you jerks, STOP DOING THAT -- whereas they believe they should be able to go wherever they want and pick up somebody, and why the hell is that FAG in the way?