My sister in law has been unilaterally liberated. Well, she had help from family court. I went to celebrate her birthday last night with my wife and her circle of girlfriends at one of those places they call 'clubs'.
It didn't start off as a club. We had the white linen at our long table and so did all the others upscale around the joint. The chanteuse with her quartet showed off her age and grace in black sequins and jazz standards. It was lovely, and we munched on overpriced crab cakes and talked about the good old days.
After a while however, the jazz ended and the DJs took over the stage. Tables were cleared and shuffled from the center of the floor and the noize was brought. Now I can stand a good bit of funk, especially of the caribbean flavor. In fact, not only do I stand it, to paraphrase Robert Bell I get down on it, not just in theory. I have become adept to dancing in my jacket and sweater without breaking a sweat, but am nevertheless quite funky. That was until the funk got straight nasty.
I can't say that the entire thing was a surprise. I have been a top rank club predator. Something takes over my brain, like hunting instincts. I circle and eye and place myself in lines of sight. I move sideways through dancers knowing who and how to bump and sample flesh along the way. I know which of the three girls dancing together really wants some serious company. I've got lines in reserve like "What's a nice girl like you doing in a gay bar like this?", as I slyly undermine all male competition. I have a cigarette lighter with my initials at the ready. All of the tools of seduction lie quietly beneath the surface and I summon them like an old master. My inner dog is on a leash tonight, as he has been for some time now, but I give him some rope. Nevertheless, he won't eat anything.
The angel on my right soldier is parsing this scene as well. When he's not outright laughing at the absurdity of this multithreaded vertical fuck, he reminds me how fortunate I am to have a low tolerance for flaky people. That would include the 5 foot 2 woman with the crisscrossing leather belts and the navel shirt that says 'real'. That would include the brother with the dead expression, bud light, layered sweats and skull & crossbones on his sagging denim pockets. And of course it includes everyone who is taking in this remarkable scene with any notion resembling hope and optimism instead of amused disgust. The DJ asks for the fifth time "Do the ladies run this motherfucker?", and for the fifth time the response is "Hell yeah!". He then stops the music and asks all the ladies who have a nice ass to scream. Screaming is appropriate, but by the time the lyrics had gotten to "Pop that pussy", I was sitting down.
I told my wife, who had more expectations of a second caribbean set than I, that her inviting me here was going to get me kicked out of the Republican Party. The problem is that she has an appetite for voyeurism which is satisfied without engagement. In contrast, I am the kind of man who skis black diamonds on my third snow trip ever. I am more disgusted by the scene because I can do it. And I don't want to do it. I want to go home, now. I am not tempted, I just wish everyone here would just grow up.
One of our party of 10 and her boyfriend are slithering and gyrating approximately 13 inches off the floor. It looks, with the others participating, like a doggy hump circle. Been there, done that. Bought the T-shirt, wore it out, gave it to Goodwill, recognize it 10 years later. Where's my firehose? Then of course, it happens. Oochie Wally comes on. This shocks even me, and now it's personal. I said that I protect myself from this kind of behavior. But here I am, dipped into it, surrounded by freak daddies and hoochies.
It's not who we are. After all, this is just Saturday night, the moon is bright, shining down its harvest light. Every body is showing out. It's a show. We give ourselves license to get wicked by serving up dollars and nuff respect to hiphop's master sex symbols, starting with Luke and going through to Lil Kim. Am I right? Is it still Lil Kim? But of course before Luke there were others going back through history including Millie Jackson who did bad things to my teenaged mind.
I woke up this morning with my Barry White voice. I like the way rye whisky does that to me instead of giving me hangovers. I was ready for the new day and managed to squeeze out some good times with no ill effects. Since I have a pledge not to second guess blackfolks, I have concluded that I have come to a new understanding of the acceptance of R. Kelly and Michael Jackson and other entertainment thugs.
Still I wonder how many of the freaks who came out last night are living in the same reality as I do. I can understand my sister's desire to break out of her bad marriage in an explosion of foolish abandon. I can understand my desire to let the dog out for a while. I can understand my wife's desire to take in the wild scene sipping champagne on the sidelines. I guess enough such feelings, transitory as they are would be enough to fill any club regularly on Saturday nights, and bankroll an industry. But I can't for the life of me understand how anyone could consider the club, black culture.
Shit. Maybe I can.