While our two favorite dance clubs are quite different, there are considerable similarities in the young people who frequent both of them. Many of the behaviors are negative - even bothersome - but some are encouraging.
Our Wednesday night dancing is done at a moderately upscale club - The Fluid Lounge [link added] - which caters to the 20s-30s mostly business set. The DJ on the larger of the two dance floors plays strong beat current and older pieces (including latin and disco-like tunes) with increasing percentage of house music after midnight. (The smaller floor is typically slower beat including reggae and rap.) It is typical for Tom and me to be the only ones on the dance floor which we enter - somewhat with a flair - as soon as we arrive, usually about 11 pm. There are always at least a few people at the 3 bars in this room - one along the entire long inside wall and the other two at the opposite corners - (or in the seating between the 2 corner bars and behind the DJ) when we begin to dance. The numbers of people quickly increase with most obviously watching, many with clearly approving facial expressions - often a wide smile and nod towards us. While the room is low lighted (even with the flashing lights), Tom and I cover the entire dance floor and can easily see everyone.
A couple or two, or a single, will enter the dance floor during approximately the first 30 minutes after we arrive, with the floor slowly starting to fill after we've been dancing about 45 minutes. By that time the side lines are usually crowded with young people most of whom are smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages, though some simple water imbibers are present. The earlier toe tapping and shrugging to the music by the sideliners gradually evolves to a shuffling of sorts by some but more energetic dancing by others.
It appears to me that most of those finally dancing have required at least a half hour to "get into the mood" with alcohol, cigarettes, or rhythm osmosis. I am always conscious at this point of those who insist on smoking and holding their drinks on the dance floor. Only once have I had to gesture to someone to dispose of his cigarette (he'd already singed Tom's hand). A couple of disapproving glances to those with near full glasses sometimes gets the message, though once Tom's arm collided with the arm of a shuffling woman who then spilled her full drink, mostly on herself but some on Tom too.
We stop for a water break when the music takes a downturn (in our tastes) from melodically rhythmic to monotonous rhythm; this is usually about an hour after we started. The bartenders, unless new, know what we want - large ice water, half of which I drink immediately and get refilled before we search out a place to sit on the "other side". It's only been occasionally the past few months that the music on the smaller floor has been worth dancing to in our estimation. So our usual practice is to take about 10 minutes of cool down (I've been perspiring profusely since about 15 minutes into the dancing, while Tom rarely breaks a sweat) and then check out the main dance floor again. Most of the time we find the music acceptable for at least another 10 minutes (but cut it off after a total of 90 minutes total dancing) and find some of the most energetic pieces of the DJs selection being saved till this point.
It's been rare in the past several months at the Fluid for anyone to act negatively towards Tom or me, though Tom did tell me after we left this past Wednesday that he was struck in the side of the head by a piece of ice. He was prompted to tell me immediately after a young man called out to us outside as we all left for the evening that he thought we were "awesome". I acknowledged the fellow's complement and remarked to Tom on a few other obvious approvers in the crowd; then he revealed the ice incident but said he couldn't identify a source of person or even direction. This - if it was meant for Tom - would mark the first "physical attack" but both of us consider it an aberration and quite out of the normal acceptance we have at The Fluid where we are "members", known on sight by the doormen and never standing in line nor paying the cover charge. (One of the three cocktail waitresses regularly engages us in conversation and we know all about her university classes and new condo and she knows many of our life-extension practices.) Both men and women have verbally complimented us on our style and endurance; my typical response is that we're "long distance dancers". For the most part, the crowd is pleasant and we only regret that so many of them engage in the unhealthy practice of smoking, and appear to need the bolstering of alcohol and "the herd" to get out on the dance floor.
On Friday nights, we go to The Joker [link added] - specifically the Cathedral, the high ceilinged very large third floor - where the music played is everything high energy, some for which I don't even know the current names. However, the past several months when we've arrived about 11:15pm (again as "members" without line waiting or cover charge), the Cathedral most often hasn't been opened yet, necessitating a wait on the 2nd floor with its hip-hop, reggae, and rap, for sometimes 10 to 15 minutes. Most of the occupants of the 2nd floor appear to be quite satisfied with the "ambience" - dark, low ceiling, noisy, smoky, and typically fairly crowded. But there is always a noticeable number, like Tom and I, who keep an eye on the bouncer at each of the 2 stair wells, waiting for the signal that the Cathedral is "open for business". Everyone with drinks (free water from the 2nd floor bar for us) must use the back stairs and at the "signal", there is a quick burst of traffic up, with the fast pounding music audible in the stairwell from above.
One would think that everyone would pour onto the dance floor, but while Tom and I are not often the only immediate dancers, most stay on the sidelines either in front of the long bars or the large stage (used for paid dancers after 12:30am or occasional visiting DJs) that occupies one end of the gymnasium-sized room. Here the music is *fast* and most take their dancing seriously with much less drinking and smoking done concurrently.
The Joker, with its frequenters typically in their early 20s (which includes 19, the legal drinking age in Ontario), is where we are more likely to encounter strange looks, giggles, and an occasional hazing. (This latter most usually takes the form of two immature males crowding Tom and attempting some imitation. Tom makes it a point to ignore them but I prefer to "stare them down".) However room is quickly made for Tom when a particular piece is especially "uplifting" and he's motivated to do his high kicking with the crowd nodding approvingly. Last week, one fellow offered to buy Tom a drink early into the dancing, we suspect as a token of appreciation for other Fridays, since Tom hadn't yet done his kicking specialty. That same night a young woman complimented me on my "great moves" which she added were "awesome". I didn't recall seeing her before so I don't know if her dancing was more energetic itself due to my influence, but as a whole I have noticed more energy displayed lately by more women. As I said to her later when we both went for our water (kept on the stage out of harm's way) and she commented on the heat, one has to go "almost naked" to stay reasonably cool when being that energetic. (All this "conversation" is of course very limited since the music sound level is considerable.)
By far, most of the young people at both clubs take no offense at our presence - two people who are at least as old as their parents. (Considering that Tom is 63, he could be the age of the grandfathers of some.) Many gesture approvingly with smiles and nods; a few venture the "noise barrier" to compliment us verbally. Now that Tom and my appearance at these clubs as a couple has passed the 1 year mark (Tom has been a regular for about 20 years), I hope that more and more of the regulars will wonder how we manage to be so youthful and ask. My short answer will continue to be:
Actually the last subsumes all the rest in my opinion; but being specific leaves no doubt when the questioner is 20 years old and has rarely if ever considered the long term consequences of his/her practices.
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