From Dayglow to Dancing with Myself
Last week featured Dayglow in Happy Valley. For the few who don’t know, Dayglow is loosely based on the idea of a concert, much like Woodstock. You show up, dance like a lunatic, and rub up against a million people all while being sprayed with paint. I didn’t go this time; when I went over spring break, I knew as soon as I got there that once would be enough.
From my observation at Dayglow, I could see the main focus was the crowd experience, and enhancing that experience by whatever means, with the music being only a secondary component. I feel comfortable disclosing that 10 desperate people confronted me while I was there asking for ‘experience enhancers.’ I was barely drunk, I explained, but thanked them for asking anyway… you see, I dance in a way that might be described as “Pocahontas on Acid,” with absolutely no regard for life around me while I fist pump with enough force to power Staten Island. I figure that’s what drew the speculation.
The day after Dayglow’s first concert in State College, I saw a girl in class the next morning who still had the neon paint on her shoes. I asked her how she liked the event. “It was fun,” she replied, “if you wanted to get raped.” She was a little too serious, but we both laughed. The comment got me thinking about something that I’ve noticed before: the most common method for a guy to begin dancing with a girl would probably be considered assault in any other context. There is no place where this plays out more often locally than at nightclubs, like our own Indigo (still by far the most popular in the area).
I have been to Indigo a couple times before, with each experience being roughly identical. I walk down the stairs, get a drink from the bar, and do the obligatory “first lap,” which is where I will walk around the perimeter of the club looking for people I know. I don’t really ever recognize anybody except maybe a girl I talked to briefly last time, who probably doesn’t even remember me. Usually, I’ll then proceed onto the dance floor and attempt to start dancing with a girl. This scenario plays out in one of three ways:
- I approach a girl, put on a Sunday Smile, and ask her if she would like to dance. This almost always results in a negative reaction, spanning the spectrum from being ignored, to a confused smile, to a look which makes me consider if I have recently developed a Herpes II simplex. The look says: You’re a nice guy who doesn’t really belong here.
- I walk up to a girl and start dancing, hilariously. Think backing it up, immediately followed by dumping it. This will almost always elicit a stronger reaction than Scenario 1. The girl will either love it or hate it (usually the latter). But in either case it gives you that always attractive quality of desperately needing approval.
- I walk up to a girl, cool as Jimmy Dean, and rub my sausage in between her buns. This approach is different from the other two in that it demands a response. For me, usually the reaction includes her desperately grabbing a friend while simultaneously trying to find a less-occupied space on the dance floor. But, every so often, after that dreaded slow-mo turnaround where the check-out occurs, she stays and doesn’t run for the hills. Success!
A normal person would correctly surmise that Scenario 3 is the least respectful of the potential dance partner. Yet this method is by and large the most prevalent. Why could this be? Is it merely classic conditioning, resulting from formative pre-clubbing years spent inside a frat house? Or is it something larger, a cultural indicator of the lack of respect people have for one another’s personal space now that most interpersonal communication occurs via cell phone? Could we have forgotten how to act?
It will always remain a mystery to me why people do the things they do. In my Utopia, there will be a simple list of rules that anyone can follow when it comes to finding a partner. Until that day comes, you’ll find me dancing alone, uninhibited, on top of the Indigo speakers (curious? ask me in the comments!).