Sunday, 3 August 2014

One more reason why I need feminism

Let me state first and foremost for the record that I go to Club Abstract simply because I really like to dance. I like the atmosphere there, I like the music, I like a few of the regulars (the others I simply don’t know, but we casually nod to acknowledge each other’s existence). Abstract is my place for catharsis. It’s a place I like to exercise. Yes, I fully acknowledge that going out dancing is an excuse to get some cardio. I don’t just sway and bounce with my feet planted on the ground. I really move. 

So now that I’ve established that the only reason I go there is because I like to dance and because it makes me happy in my “soul”, it should be pointed out that I do not, under any circumstances EVER go there to meet men or to “pick up”. Yes, I recognise that a bar is common place for this activity. There might be a certain underlying expectation that if you are not there “with someone” then you are fair game. I know at least one of you will have a field day with this notion and I look forward to it.

So here we have a (cue self-esteem) fit woman who knows how to move to a rhythm attending an establishment where alcohol is served — and the general notion is that no one wants to leave said bar alone — who has the full intention of leaving this establishment alone. And sometimes I might dance with a small group of strangers because that’s just what the atmosphere creates and a good time is had by all, but I’m still going to leave that place on my own.

I’m no dummy, I know there is a possibility that someone will hit on me. And I won’t lie, sometimes I see a good looking man and acknowledge this fact, but then I go back to dancing because “OMG I love this song” (I say that in my head a lot), and dancing is what I came here to do. So when someone does make an attempt, say dancing up to me or with me I just turn away and keep doing my thing. I take up more space so they can’t get closer. Sometimes they follow me around for a bit until they get the hint. 

The guy I encountered last night and his friend did not get any hints. Thing 1 did the dancing trick, it did not work, and he was any thing but subtle about it. I simply ignored him. While I was sitting out a couple of tunes for a break his friend (Thing 2, I guess) decided to sit next to me and casually chat about the music then mentions his friend who “likes me”. I quite clearly curled my upper lip, made a face and said “yeah, I noticed that.” he laughed like he got it, patted my knee and went back to Thing 1. 

About five minutes later (long enough for a smoke, and then was “close-talking” to me: ew) Thing 2 is back wondering why I’m still not dancing. I said I was waiting for the right song to come up and that was the honest truth. Thing 2 mentions that Thing 1 would like to dance with me and maybe he should get him to come over. Again, clearer this time, I said “no, don’t. Just don’t.” he laughs again and goes back to Thing 1.

A song comes on and I don’t know it but the beat is inspiring and it gets me out of the plain view of Thing 1 and Thing 2. I go back to the dance floor, carefully avoiding where these two were lurking. I find my groove again and it’s even better, very fluid. I pick up a couple of glow sticks and it’s even better. Yes, I think to myself, THIS is what I came here for. Then Thing 2 is standing in front of me and shouts “I see you got your groove back”, and I just scowled and muttered “yes, now get out of it” and turned my back, shooing him away. Not 30 seconds later Thing 1 is back in front me with this big smile wanting to dance. I just stopped moving and stared at him and shook my head. He left. 

Yet another 30 seconds later (this is starting to ruin my groove, but I’ll channel my frustration to get it back, don’t you worry), so right after this Thing 2 is back he slowly circled me, clearly not dancing and looked me up and down with that look that I can’t quite explain to those who haven’t experienced it. Like I was prey. Like I was just a challenge. It’s a look that sort of said. “I like it when they fight back”, and not in a fun consensual kinky way. It was posturing, pure and simple. And I was not going to tolerate it.

Abstract is *my* place. It is my safe place. It is like a home away from home with a much better sound system. I stopped dancing again and gesticulated clearly with words loud enough to be heard over the music told him to simply “Go. Away.” Which of course was met with the expected hands in the air, “I’m just trying to have a little fun and this woman is being mean and irrational by not playing along” expression. More than a few people on the dance floor noticed this exchange.

They finally went away after that, and I was able to resume my groove and it was cathartic and wonderful, happy ending I guess. Maybe I could have been very clear and to the point about it from the start. I could have used my words, but in a place where you can hardly hear yourself think, words are not really an option until you have to shout and gesticulate at people. I think at one point I gave one of them the finger with a glow stick weaved between my fingers. In a place where you can’t be heard, you have to use something else. 

Try as they might, these Two Wild and Crazy Guys (because they were older and clearly out of place so that’s what they reminded me of) did not ruin my evening. In fact they offered me an excuse to be even more assertive and even a little aggressive. That’s not my preferred method of venting, but I’ll take it. 

This is why I need feminism. I’m certain that I don’t need to explain any further to my friends and regular readers exactly why this is a good example of why I need it. 

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