“I want to go dancing tonight!”
Ugh. There are few things more cringe-inducing than hearing the person you’re dating utter those six simple words on a Friday afternoon. Here it is, the end of a hard week, and nothing sounds better than just stripping down to your boxers, downing some Taco Bell and peacefully binging on Fuller House, but, then again, you remember that after a long dry-spell you finally have a romantic interest and these, my dear Eros, are the wages of love and lust.
Like most of my peers in the their mid-30s to middling-50s, all of whom are still desperately clinging to some semblance of forced vitality and fraudulent exuberance, the clarion’s call of Groovy’s, 5705 Mosteller Dr., is a strong one that seems to play a sweet tune we can all remember that promises lunchroom acceptance and strobe-lit non-judgment for the mostly tired and formerly aged on the dancefloor, unlike many of those far more coveted Bricktown joints, or so I have been told.
I myself had only ever been to a dance club once or twice back in the 90s, and that was really more of a meeting place for chubby Goths to stand in the corner and nurse a Dr. Pepper while the overhead blacklights reflected every single kernel of skin dander emanating from that black Bauhaus t-shirt. So for an alternative rebel that eschews choreographed community, such as myself, the mere thought of stepping foot into a place like Groovy’s filled me with an extra special kind of venomous fear and caustic loathing.
Still, I wanted to make her happy or at least some semblance thereof, so I dutifully pushed these valid feelings down very deep and, using the Strasberg Method, put on a very enthusiastic happy face, even asking her to show me some “groovy dance moves ha ha” which, let’s be honest, turned out to be memorized Zumba routines but, you know, whatever. She’s endured a trip or two to Guestroom Records with me, the least I could do is pretend to enjoy the…
“What? Ten dollars each!? You gotta be f…” I thought to myself as I flashed-forward and grinchingly paid the cover charge to get inside a building that I’m very sure had to be a dentist’s office in a former life. Located in a part of town where mainly middle-aged people like to bank, listen to piano jazz and dine in a (former) revolving tower, I begrudgingly entered into a pre-fabricated world that I had only seen in the last ten minutes of the worst 80s teen sex comedies, all grown up now.
Greasy oil-biz bros is neon wraparound shades wearing crimson OU polos drunkenly walking like an Egyptian and grinding on overly tanned cougars squeezed shut in a Forever 21 dress, all together banging it out on a mystically small dance-floor, the Party Galaxy effects in full force as the D.J. spins a Michael Sembello 12” he found on Spotify. I headed to the bar to get a drink but I felt my arm get ripped out of the socket by my girlfriend who was ready to dance, dance, dance the night away.
Now, I ain’t no Gene Anthony Ray or nothing but I feel like I can keep a steady-enough beat; show me a move or two and I can mimic it just fine, especially when it comes to the Caucasian beats of 80s music; just remember the prom scene in any of those flicks and you’ll be fine, right? Sure, but sadly I’m also a clumsy fat guy and like an engorged fan-fiction crossover of Shrek and Saturday Night Fever, my rotund oafishness didn’t translate very well to a comically small dance-floor, wherein every move is like that of one of those inflatable bop-bags; move it to the left, bounce into a chick illegally sipping a vodka and cranberry, move it to the right, step on a dude’s brand new Pumas.
Regardless, looking over at her face, she seemed happy that I was at least trying to have fun, stepping outside my comfort zone and…that’s when I tripped over my own feet during an extended remix of “99 Luftballons,” falling over and taking a small klatch of probable secretaries out for a night on the town, as sad as it is, down with me like a set of big-haired and short-skirted bowling pins, legs twisted and bodies tousled together for what seemed like an eternity.
Some people were laughing, some were asking “Are you okay?” but all were visibly embarrassed, the most obvious of which being my date, who could only stare at me with a glare of freak-show disgust as there I lay, on my back like a turtle in need of being flipped over. Silver lining, however, if you want to know that there is a God up in Heaven that truly loves us, look no further than the major miracle that, in the middle of this dancefloor debacle, my pants didn’t split comically up the rear while I was clinging to the handrails, pulling myself up like a fat kid at the roller-skating rink.
Tailbone slowly bruising, I went upstairs to order a drink and sat at a table facing the dancefloor and, for the next hour or so, watched one fella after another grind up on my former date to hits from Irene Cara, Falco and Laura Branigan. I nursed on about three Diet Cokes before she said she was bored and wanted to hit up Beverley’s, where upon receipt of the bill, she gently broke up with me, ending our one-month affair.
To be honest, I was fully expecting that and emotionally prepared for it so it didn’t sting all that bad, but, still, let a brother finish his Chicken in the Rough first, will ya?
C’est la vie. Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler.