Lip gloss is poppin’, stilettos fastened, and freak em’ dress on. Check the hair one more time. And I’m ready to go. Everyone stuffing lip gloss, ID, and cash in one purse. Then we all piled into a compact gas efficient car, meant for young adults and college students. Similar to most of my fellow college classmates, I lived for the weekends. I can recall spending my Saturday afternoons shopping for an outfit then taking the evening to sit with my cousins and girlfriends primping all in preparation for the club or party we were going to make our appearance at that night.
We each enjoyed competing with the other ladies in the room for male attention and I anxiously anticipated the opportunity to free myself on the dance floor. To move my body and release my emotions, my week, and my problems to the R&B, Hip Hop, or Pop beats. I wanted to sing the lyrics out loud and not think about any troubles plaguing my life at the time.
I hit the floor, beat pulling at my hips, swaying my shoulders, clapping my hands, moving my legs, and swing my arms in the air. Beat amplifying my heart’s rhythm. Pushing, sliding, squeezing in between small groups and couples already in full groove, my companions and I searched for our own comfortable space to be rhythmically free. Usually this space was either directly in the middle of the dance floor or along the edges near the tables of non-dancers. As familiar tunes filled the air, each of us would begin our own brand of groove. Depending on the personality, clothing and true amount of personal space each individual groove took shape.
But my moves were always restricted, hindered and held captive to the elements of the night. First was my attire. Four inch heels and a mini skirt aren’t exactly ideal for coordinated movement on the dance floor. Not to mention trying to maintain a sexy demeanor free from running make up, sweat, and hair going wayward. With as much time and effort that went into preparing for the evening out, the last thing I wanted to do was step into the street lights only to unveil a mess of a woman. So usually these things minimized my moves to an embellished two step. With an extra hip shift or arm pump I thought I’d be able to maintain my looks.
Another hindrance is the good looking dance companion. I made it a bit of a habit to turn down potential dance partners. Especially when just commencing my moves on the dance floor. Now there are times when it actually takes a partner to motivate movement to a dance floor or when the guy is just too sexy to turn down. But typically I had my female companions to keep me company. That is until they found male counterparts to share a dance with. But for me, a dance partner with their own set of groove rules and restrictions only seemed to hinder the internal dance crying to be freed.
There are many men that want to lead on the dance floor and there are others that don’t mind a lady guiding their steps. There are even guys who don’t really want to dance with you at all even when they are the floor with you. The leader guy has his own groove and desires his female companion to adapt to whatever moves them. For a girl like me that came to the club to be free, this is a problem. I don’t want to be held captive by someone else’s groove. I couldn’t sway and move in my own motion. I had to restrict myself to the way he moved conforming and becoming the partner he wanted me to be.
There there’s the “follower”. He wants the lady to lead the way. Which is fine but I know that most men would only be confused and bothered by my free form. Knowing my moves weren’t popular, cool or cute; I didn’t want to expose any partners to the potential embarrassment that my moves might ensue. And so, as a common courtesy I would tone down my moves to a simple groove that anyone could follow or keep pace with. Once again, having to hinder myself to accommodate my companion.
Then there’s they guy who asks for a dance but really doesn’t want to dance at all. Instead he wants to watch. This so called dance companion always bothered me leaving me feeling objectified. I never specialized in the profession of private dancing and I don’t enjoy “dancing” with men that want to employ me in this position. This companion will receive one opportunity to join in and if he refuses to comply then it’s time for me to move ALONE.
So these days I’ve restricted my dancing to the polished wood panels in my living room floor. With the couch pushed back and the a rug rolled to the side, I use this space to sweat, to wave and shake my arms, make my hands clap, fingers snap, hips sway, pop and drop. My feet tap, spin, and moonwalk. My hair is flung back and side to side. Shoes off, in my leggings and t-shirt I’m free. No barriers. No restrictions. Now I do encounter some protest especially when I move into my rendition of old 80’s dance moves. (Of course from my son) but the judgment falls flat and the only thing I truly hear is the beat.
This is my chance to be free. To finally gain that release and freedom I was looking for during my party days. Maybe this should have been my resolution all along. Perhaps it was a phase that I needed to truly appreciate my current freestyle days. I am still young enough to make sporadic club appearances and when truly motivated I will, I prefer the comforts of my in homemade dance floor. Free to move, free to be me.