So, despite being all Serious Cat Is Serious in the eyes of most people everywhere, I actually love going out to dance at clubs.
Yet I almost never do.
Why is this? I keep trying to explain to my friends that if they can find me an 80s night, I’ll go. But it’s not because I’m a Gen Xer who is all ONLY 80s MUSIC ALL THE TIME. I like plenty of eras of music (there are lamentably few 50s nights, though). Yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on why an 80s night sounds ok to me, but "going out dancing" makes my chest tighten and an inexplicable sadness fall over me.
And then I was watching this youtube thing about pop music and this guy Todd said in defense of Katy Perry’s Hot Or Cold of all things: "Especially in an era when most pop music is so grim and deadening, if you can’t enjoy a big, dumb, happy pop song, then what can you enjoy?"
And I can finally explain it.
Because generally when my friends want to go dancing, they mean "we are going to a goth and/or techno club." Which to me means "we are going to a club which will play exclusively arrhythmic depressing music or thuddingly rhythmic but aggressive, angry, and atonal music." And that doesn’t sound fun to me at all. (And sadly in Maine we have not so many choices.)
If I’m going to get my sluttysparkle outfits out and make up my face and drink blue and purple drinks and dance with my friends, I do not want to do it to music that is sad as shit or that wants to hurt me (or make me hurt myself). What I may or may not listen to at home is totally irrelevant to what I want to dance to–often I want things to fade into the background while I’m working, which makes some techno ok, and honestly I just never did like goth music, I’m sorry, I have tried so hard, but I just can’t, even though it’s basically required listening for my demographic. But for dancing I want something that takes me over and makes me want to move. It is the opposite, see?
And frankly, I just want to be happy and bounce around and sing along to the lyrics and laugh and drink and then do it some more. I LOVE that shit. It’s why weddings have become the best place to dance lately–people my age don’t make us do the chicken dance anymore, and no one saddles Grandma with their latest shrieking industrial technobark favorites. So we dance to upbeat, dorky, fun songs and lift up our satin skirts and it’s awesome. It’s why, to this day, I can make a party start dancing and not stop until it’s 4 am by putting on my wedding playlist (it is magical, tried and tested and unfailing).
I want clubbing to be like that. And sometimes it is–I went dancing all the time when I lived in the UK, and the gay clubs played fabulous bubbly pop music and the straight clubs always had a "cheese night" where you could dance to something you’d ever heard before. I don’t go out to show how indie and cool I am because I like something that sounds like it was duck taped together from Macloops, a Casio demo, and an old toothbrush, I just want to shake my ass, you know? It’s not about 80s music, but about the fact that 80s night means fun, danceable music without any posturing or aggressorscream sucker-punching. Also I like themes. I don’t know of another code for that. I’m happy to dance to contemporary big, dumb, happy songs–I like Ke$ha and I’m not even ashamed. (Again, not to listen to at home, but I’ll dance the hell out of it.) But most DJs feel it’s beneath them to play stuff like that, because they are Deep and Artists and Will Make You Weep With the Power of Mixing Things. So in general, one gets their Depth and very little happy. Happy is not Deep. It is not Cool. It is not Scene.
So every bar’s calendar is filled up with DJ Whatthefuckever’s Technovibrodubkrush Earblast and it’s just no fun for me. My enjoyment of dancing is directly linked to how much I like the song, and I want something big, dumb, and happy so I can be big dumb and happy for a night, because let’s face it, I wouldn’t have had all that blue drank if I wanted to assume a safety position in the corner while the music WHARRGARBLs all over me. I go out to lighten up, not to confront Dementors.
Which is to say, it’s not like I would choose Katy Perry for my bosom companion, but I’d damn sure rather dance to her than the latest hardcore scenestylings. You know?