Menu Close

Month: November 2023

First Dance at the Discotheque for Deviants

The Croatian Center was far from central Lethbridge, but that was where they held them – these monthly gay dances. There were no gay bars, of course, not there in mid-90s southern Alberta where fundamentalist Christianity butted heads against Mormonism and neither wanted anything to do with gays. I was terrified, hopeful, so many things. But it needed to happen.

Was it really only a couple weeks since hot Troy from Psych class had been going off so publicly about how anyone that thinks homosexuals are freaks can kiss his ass? Just that had changed everything. Was he gay? Was he out? It seemed that way, and the only way to know for sure was to re-exit my closet.

Had I thought about what a gay bar would look or feel like? Maybe, maybe not. But there was no way I would have pictured this room, just a big square, tables along each side, open in the middle for dancing, streamers and balloons hung like it was a dance in junior high. And just like in junior high, I sat there, a part apart.

But there were women dancing with women, and men dancing with men, and I’d never seen any of that in junior high gymnasium dances, that’s for sure. Mostly the music was fast, and people were dancing, one big gay crowd, but occasionally, they’d drop something slower, and people would couple off, slowly spinning around, again like in junior high, but without some teacher chaperone making sure they were a balloon width apart.

WANT. That must have been the feeling I felt the most. But I wouldn’t act, couldn’t act. Oh no, there people, that world, they were foreign to me, and even just being there was a big enough deal. Besides, Troy wasn’t there, and he’d been the goal.

The night was winding down, and I was probably starting to feel the vodka slimes I’m sure I was drinking, likely ready to figure out how to get a cab way out there in the country and just call it a night when he came up to me. I can practically still see him, silhouetted against the dance floor lights, as he asked if I wanted to dance.

There I was, slow dancing with a boy, and I’m sure I was nervous AF. There’d been slow dances before, with girls, in junior high gymnasiums, but this, this was different. Hands felt different. Intent felt different. This was heavier, harder, more meaningful, more real.

I left that Croatian Hall with that boy that night, to a house party, where we found our way into a dark downstairs bedroom, but that’s a story for another time. This story is just that dance. Only you and me, we were young and wild and free.