Dancing As Instructed
September 25, 2022
I love to dance, but I’m a bit picky about music. If Motown is playing, I’m guaranteed to have a transcendent in-my-body experience, whereas electronic dance music is hit and miss. I was, however, determined to shake and sweat and twitch, and so I did. My new friend danced beside me, trying to talk to me through the foam plugs in my ears—I nodded along with a smile, hearing nothing.
I do have one or two questions – not least regarding the use of foam earplugs – but let us hasten on. The gyrator in question is a seemingly ungendered being named Kier Adrian Gray, who “went to a queer dance party with someone I’d met online.”
We’d had a nice time chatting over sodas at the city’s catholic themed bar before we headed to a warehouse full of slippery, glittering gays, adorned in fishnet and sequin, leather and lace.
Sequins and glitter, and a companion of indeterminate sex, another ungendered being. So far, so flaming. But for a night out to be progressive and fully intersectional, it does need some more improbable complications. And so,
After a while, they [our narrator’s companion] wanted to move closer to the stage and I followed. Before we could make it to the front, though, they explained how the dance floor closest to the DJ was for black and indigenous femmes only.
There we go.
Everyone else was to dance behind them in the following order: black and indigenous then other people of colour then mixed-race people, then whites, and femmes then androgynous people then mascs. Since my new friend was mixed and I was white, I would have to dance behind them, but they pointed to a stranger and told me I could dance in front of him.
Now we’re cooking. Fun times must surely follow.
At first, I thought they were joking—how could such an elaborate and specific system work on the chaos of a dance floor? But as the explanation went on, I realised how serious they were. I found myself speechless, and they interpreted my silence as confusion. “Don’t worry,” they said, putting their hand on my arm, “you’ll figure it out.”
Yes, dear reader, welcome to the world of ideological dancing, all neatly categorised by niche identities at a near-fractal level. And no mingling, of course. Surely the stuff of everyone’s erotic and hedonistic fantasies.
I had just been told that I needed to determine the racial and gendered identities of each stranger dancing near me, compare those imagined identities to my own, and then calculate my proximity to the stage, as well as to everyone around me, using the racial and gendered hierarchies invented by social justice culture, and to do that over and over again, all night long, as I danced behind—but not beside—the person I had come with.
Thus, a decision loomed:
My desire to dance, to smile at strangers, to lose myself in the beat, to close my eyes and feel my body move without caring what it looked like, evaporated. I had a choice to make: I could strike up a conversation about the problems with ordering people to self-segregate by guessing at one another’s identities with a person I’d just met. Or, I could say goodnight as soon as was polite and make my way home. I chose the latter.
This unhappy, rather bonkers tale is followed by much intersectional fretting, during which we are reminded of the evils of “right-wing” people, and pale men in particular. “White men,” we’re informed, “have dominated cultural spaces for centuries.” We’re also told of the woes of those who wish to be progressive and submit to dancefloor sorting, but who have serious personality disorders, or companions of a rival tribe. And then there are those who are just insufficiently familiar with the “unspoken social customs” of “North American leftist spaces.” It turns out that woke etiquette is not for the faint-hearted, or the unfashionable, and even innocent first-time transgressions can apparently result in punishment and elaborate and well-practised rituals of shunning, with those who fail to divine the Made-Up Rules Of The Current Month being “treated in cruel and inhumane ways.”
Ah, progressives. Those cats know how to party.
After several paragraphs of neurotic rumination – and much airing of leftist credentials - a realisation occurs, albeit belatedly:
Here’s what I propose instead. In regards to personal gatherings, I’d like to invite people to consider whether choosing guests based on their warmth, kindness, intelligence, sense of humour, and love of a good time (or whatever qualities matter most to them) may lead to richer events.
Do feel free to gasp at this outrageous innovation, one that has apparently never been thought of before – say, by other, less pretentious, less dogmatic, human beings.
For larger gatherings, I suggest that we ditch identity-based segregation and choose behaviour-based standards instead.
It’s the bleeding edge of party planning. High on innovation, our narrator ventures further into the unknown, suggesting that any shunning and expulsion could be “based on… behaviour, not randomly distributed bodily characteristics.” A terrifyingly new idea. If only someone had thought of that before.
Sadly, however, there is a catch.
In order for this to work, we will need to treat one another as adults,
Oh well. I guess that’s that. Still, while it lasted, it was a beautiful dream.
Via Mr Muldoon.
Previously in the world of competitively leftist party-planning.
Lordy, a button. I wonder what it does.