Hildog breaking down some of her feelings about the club scene. I have never understood why grabbing a strangers bottom is appropriate. I have however been told that I should do it to pick up, because the only reason I should be at the club is to get laid. The portrayal of masculinity in clubs is one of sexual aggressiveness and it needs to be changed from both sides.
Hope someone got that lame grasp at a play on words in my title. I didn’t even like that book.
Having recently received my long-overdue driver’s license, I’ve been playing designated driver for my friends who have rotated through the position for the past many years. This duty requires a lot of sober club-going, an experience I liken to being part nanny, part safari guide and part undercover cop.
Luckily, with or without my trusty bottle of vino, I’m always on the fun wagon. My best bud Ainsley says I’m the best person to go out with sober because I “just don’t give a shit.” Some people need a shot or three of tequila to even bring out there meekest moves but I’ll throw my jacket and car keys on the nearest table and make way to that empty dance floor before the rest of my posse has even paid cover. Dancing is my Shangri-La set to Gaga and Biggie. I don’t mind confiscating phones from drunk-texters or driving gin-drenched friends home at 3 a.m., plus the zero-tolerance blood alcohol level has resulted in some clearheaded inner monologues that I’m transcribing into a post.
While I like going out with friends, I do recognize most clubs to be a site of much misogynistic behaviour and cis-hetero privilege. Too often the dance floor feels like a hunting ground where guys and girls stand around the perimeter waiting to pick off the gazelles. The types of bodies that are revered, or even accepted into the club culture, are limited. Ick. I hear people (and no, this is not a single-gender issue) talk about getting laid as the sole reason for going out. I remember when I danced not because it was my favourite thing in the world, but because I liked the idea of someone noticing me (not that being noticed is a bad thing-stand out if it makes you feel genuinely rad). I don’t like some aspects of the club but I try to barge in with raging self-confidence to set an example to act, dress, make-out, drink and dance in a way that works for you, not someone else.
A couple weekends ago, my cousins and I went out dancing to celebrate the end of the holiday break. We were rocking our kung-fu meets robot moves, sweating more than we do in some Moksha yoga classes, when a guy came up to us. We made some cursory conversation, but when Beyonce came on we knew it was time to end the chit-chat and breakout our ‘Countdown’ routine.We live across the country for 50 weeks of the year and this wasn’t the time for new acquaintances. However, after we kindly waved and moved on, the guy lingered. He insisted on chatting up my cousin, even after she expressed that she wasn’t interested and informed him she was married. I mentioned we wanted to have some fam jam time, but he was insistent. Not wanting to seem rude, my cousin was trapped in awkward conversation while we danced cautiously nearby. His behaviour became more and more inappropriate and he would not take our hints, and eventual requests, to take a hike.
This bind of feeling obligated to spend time with him, despite it being the opposite of what we wanted, struck me as something more than the typical over-politeness of Canadians. We knew that once we told him we wanted to hang out en solo, we would be considered rude, stuck-up, ugly. Women are taught that expressing their personal boundaries is bitchy behaviour. And I hate, hate, hate that. Why do we feel pressure to smile while some guy you aren’t interested in leans way too close at the bar? Why do we feel every drink bought for us is a bargain? No matter the bar, the outfit or the attitude, no one should ever be made to feel like their comfort levels are being forsaken. Articulating your limits should be a right, not write you off as “a fucking cunt” (as eloquently slurred at me one evening after I shoved away a particularly eager suitor).
To the “work it-back that up-damn girl” calling gentlemen on Friday night, I ask you this: do you think this is a performance where the encore is your validation? Do you think I made it this far with these curves and innate sense of rhythm and not realized I’m fucking fantastic on the dance floor? No, I’m not flattered to be the object of your machismo bullshit. Every unwarranted touch or grab is only a flimsily disguised intimidation tactic. It is an expression that your rights are more important than mine. To the leering dude who grabbed me at three drinks past midnight, no, this song isn’t a pass on respecting my physical boundaries. The club is just more fun for me than going on the elliptical and it sometimes has better music. I’d like to keep it that way.
However, to the guy who politely taught me the running man, or the guy who head-banged along to David Bowie and said you liked my energy, thank you. Thanks for being respectful, for being fun, for actually enjoying moving around to music even if you may have looked silly for a moment. To the folks I arrive at the club with, thank you for being awesome and also looking ridiculous. It’s not every night two straight guys attempt the elusive standing 69.
Unless your name is Jarrett, Grady or Spencer, please don’t assume you can dance with me. I can appreciate being asked to dance but too often the asking part is neglected. If you want to teach me how to shuffle, took swing dancing lessons or are interested in actually attempting conversation, you are also welcome to come hang out, but recognize when I want to do my own thing. Please and thank you. I advise bar-goers brush up on their respect and work on their stomp because I’m a pretty fun time on the dance floor.