I have a confession to make: I don’t dance. I don’t know how — that whole “just move your body, feel the music” thing always infuriated me because I just don’t get it — and I don’t like it. I feel so self-conscious. Dance parties literally terrify me. The worst part is that the dance parties are often such a central part of the queer party scene — in a more organized sense (Chicago has Chances Dances weekly, Queerer Park and FKA monthly, and Berlin all the time, just to name a few) and in the “and then it devolves into a dance party” sense. And that’s not who I am.
That isn’t to say that I don’t go to queer and trans events that are, or will have, dance parties. I certainly have in the past, and I sometimes even enjoy myself (with liberal application of time, good company, and/or strong drinks). I even occasionally go to non-trans/queer events that involve dancing. But that beforehand part — getting myself out the door and to the dance party (club / event with music at which people may dance) — is awful, and I hate it. It’s something I dread, each and every time.
I’m not saying that there’s anything intrinsically connecting queerness and dancing; they just seem to go hand-in-hand frequently. I wish there were more opportunities to spend time with queer people that didn’t involve dancing. I suppose that I actually wish I enjoyed dancing — that would make things so much easier — but failing that, it would be nice it if didn’t seem like such a near-necessity.
It makes me feel so weird, so other, and not in a good way. Who doesn’t like to dance? That’s what people do when there’s music, right? Everyone else seems so excited about chances to dance. I feel like I’m missing out — I know I’m missing out. I see photos of friends dancing in Chicago (A/S/L, anyone?); I hear about people dancing in Minneapolis . . . and I wish that I were part of that, on a more removed level, at the same time that the mere idea makes me hugely anxious.
It’s not as though there is actual, deliberate peer pressure regarding dancing. No one’s intentionally trying to push me to do anything I don’t want to do. People won’t stop being my friends if I don’t want to go out to dance parties. It just seems like something I should do.
I first thought about it as a matter of (unintentional) peer pressure at a Genderqueer Chicago meeting, one about the ways in which we compromise in which to have community. Or, perhaps, the ways in which we lose out on opportunities because we do not compromise. I just wish I were a dance party sort of person, and I wish I didn’t feel the need to be that kind of person — and I don’t know which I want more.