Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How I Spent My Saturday Night This Time

... working a dance in the dorm cafeteria again. This time it was the spring dance, timed close to Valentine's Day but not officially on that theme. I'm not sure where this year's Japanese motif came from.
The Viennese Ball theme goes back to the early 1980s, if I recall correctly, when a violinist who lived in the dorm organized an orchestra of other music majors to play waltzes for the dancers. It caught on, though for the past several years the orchestra has been made up of players from a local high school.

As always, there was an ice sculpture, made by a firm in Indianapolis, of the dorm's mascot, a gnome.

Things started off slow, as dances tend to do...

I wasn't careful enough, so most of the pictures I took of the dancers were blurred. This is the best of a bad lot, but it gives you some idea of the intended ambience: formal dress, and masks. There were several female couples, some of whom were couple couples if you take my meaning. Several (though not all) of the male-female couples consisted of that classic team, the gay man and the straight woman, while the jockiest looking boys watched from the sidelines guarding their masculinity jealously.

There were no male couples. This bothers me, and if I were forty years younger I'd have tried to find a male date to learn to waltz with me. I like watching men dance together. In the mid-Eighties, a few years after I began working in this dining hall, I went to a party there that exhibited the same pattern: jocks sitting at tables and refusing to dance with anyone, gay men dancing with straight women, women of various sexualities dancing with each other, most straight men dancing with women. Several straight (but non-macho) men invited me to dance; the other gay men wouldn't dance with me, or with each other. Things haven't changed much, even in a notoriously gay-friendly dorm. I wonder why.

The orchestra played for an hour, and then a DJ took over.

At midnight the dance ended, and we cleaned up. We carried what was left of the gnome after five hours of slow melting outside to the cold night, and put everything back into place for the next morning's meal.