So I’m standing at the bar with Tent Guy surveying the dance floor. Beautiful old building, high ceilings, wooden floorboards, big open windows with heavy curtains drawn aside. The floor space is the perfect ratio: 80% dancing and 20% people at the bar. The music is loud enough to sing along to and not be heard up the front, but soft enough to have a conversation up the back. People are jumping, swaying, air guitaring, singing, flailing, booty shaking, pointing, twisting.
‘This is the most unpretentious dance in Melbourne,’ Tent Guy says. ‘Do you just come here, like, ALL the time?’ I ask. ‘Yeah.’ He says. ‘Is it totally amazing living here?’ I asked. ‘It’s pretty fun,’ he said, his grin fades as realises that I’ve sighed a sigh of realisation that I’m be going back to the desert soon, where dancing was infrequent if not non-existant. ‘Oh no! I mean, it sucks, I hate it, it’s no fun, you shouldn’t move here!’
As much as I liked Tent Guy (who I’d previously met in Alice and again at a hipster party), I didn’t actually expect anything to happen. I didn’t have time to daydream and create expectations, I was too busy dancing and having a totally sweet time.
If conditions are perfect (I’m looking good, feeling good, the music is right, the ambience is perfect, the vibe is right) I can really carve up a dance floor. I dance all over the room with all the good dancers. Not people with good moves, but people who are really getting into it, with their entire bodies and faces. They’re totally present in whatever song they’re dancing to, they don’t care what people think. I join their circles. Improvise. Copy something they’re doing and add to it a bit. I made friends all over the dance floor. I’m shit at small talk, so I’m not a fan of pubs, but give me a D-Floor and I’m a social butterfly.
After a particularly vigorous booty-shake-off Tent Guy laughed and said ‘You’re totally crazy!’ ‘Yeah,’ I thought to myself, ‘and you totally love it!’ I had a few drinks interspersed with water whenever my dancing ability was impeded by alcohol. Even though I was dancing all over the D-Floor I never spent more than one song away from Tent Guy. Between the hours of 11pm and 3am we talked, laughed, drank and danced.
A few memorable dance floor moments included Weezer’s ‘El Scorcho,’ where I tried not to make it too obvious that I was singing the words totally to him.
Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ was when I decided it should go from dancing like ‘The Boss’ to dancing Like A Boss.
Without stopping my swaying, clicking, pointing and lip synching, I moved closer in, trying to get my forehead as close to his, my knees in between his, too shy to put my arms around his neck or anything. During ‘Don’t Stop,’ I tried to dance with my back against his chest. He held my shoulders, then my hips. I told him my favourite artist Darren Hanlon did a cover of this song, and was thrilled to learn Tent Guy loved his music too. It was all just too good.
At 3AM the dance finished and Tent Guy’s friend suggested we go to another bar. I looked at Tent Guy, he looked at me. We weren’t ready to go home yet. On the walk over he had his hands in his pockets. I slipped my hand in between his arm and his body and kind of rested my hand inside his elbow, old school style. Somehow it came up in conversation that great dancers were always good in bed. ‘That must work well for you then,’ he told me. He was thinking about me in bed. It was too good.
At the next bar we sat in a corner. He looked at me, said my name and sighed. ‘I’d really like to kiss you now. But I kissed another girl three weeks ago, it was a new year’s eve thing and it’s still undefined. You’re amazing and really very awesome, but I’d feel wrong if I did anything with you, as much as I want to.’ He hugged me. I stayed there for a while, just staring blankly ahead. Melbourne men broke my heart twice in 24 hours last week. Well, the second time it was already broken, so it more just slumped and sighed.
Then I sat up and said ‘That’s a shame. We could have had fun. You could have showed me around Melbourne. You’re a writer, I’m a writer. You’re funny, I’m funny, you’re a good dancer, I’m a good dancer. Oh, and it’s true, I am pretty good in bed*.’
*actually a totally unsubstantiated claim.