A Guide For the Naïve Homosexual
page 9


Dancing?? Wa?? Yes, Virginia, boys dance with boys. It is not quite the cultural shock you expect it will be — it just seems a bit ludicrous at first — not really perverted. Most of the dancing is done to extremely fast music. The partners dance as if the other did not exist. The dancing is exceedingly free-form. I can give no instructions here on how-to dance, but watch people and pick up a few ideas. How you dance expresses a lot about your personality so I must refrain from telling you how to do it lest you should exude mine. I am known for extremely animated dancing — watchit kid! you are headed for a cardiac arrest! — so much so it quite often embarrasses my partner.

Slow dancing (eg. To the theme from Romeo and Juliet) is something else again. As you learned in physical education 7 in high school, the difference between boys and girls is that girls dance backwards. It would prove an embarrassment to the gay world if dancing implied that one partner had to be the girl. Thus an extremely egalitarian dancing position evolved — the bear hug. You bear-hug your partner — all beautifully symmetrical. You dance neither forwards not backwards — but in slow, waddling-from-one-foot-to-the other clockwise circles. This extremely intricate dance can be mastered in about 2 minutes after about 2 minutes spent diligently studying a grand master’s technique.

Some people get carried away with liquor (as they do at a straight bar) and get drunk, but never violent. Some people get carried away with each other and (as they do at a straight party) start necking.

I will discuss other forms of behaviour peculiar to the gay world later but by now you must be itching to meet someone. If you are a particularly handsome brute, someone will already have asked you to dance. Whatever you do, say yes! even if he has leprosy Hansen’s disease is not all that contagious) accept. The reason is twofold. (with all this use of numbers, the mentioning of a probability approaching zero and the carefully matched parentheses of unearthly depths, you may have guessed I am either a mathematician or a computer scientist — actually I am both and also a 23-year-old (born February 4, 1948 in Victoria, B.C.) graduate mathematics student and computer science teacher at the University of British Columbia.)

  1. It is extremely bad manners to refuse to dance with someone and if you do refuse, you will get a bad reputation even before you start. You are in no way committing yourself to this person just by accepting to dance. If you must refuse, use the polite form, I am waiting for a friend. rather than the bald-faced No thanks. if you want to extricate yourself from him at the end of the dance, thank him profusely, turn, run and lose yourself in the crowd. Think how you would feel if you finally whipped up the courage to ask some delicious sweet-young-thing to dance and were crushed with a with you?
  2. When the dance is over, tell him you are new. I am new are the magic words that command royal treatment. He will introduce you to his friends. Be prepared to learn 10 names in ¼ as many minutes. Surely one of his friends does not have leprosy.

When you are introduced you will shake hands and exchange first names only — use your real first name. People are a bit funny about telling their last name until they get to know you better.

From this point on you are allowed to treat the people whom you have just met as though they were old friends. This is markedly different from the straight world. Feel completely free to walk up to any of them to start a conversation. If you can use his suite within the first few sentences, then you will make a good impression. Dale Carnegie once said, the sweetest sound to a man is the sound of his own name.

If you are not a particularly handsome brute (ie. If no one has asked you to dance) then ask somebody! when my former steady boy friend John came out (discovered the gay world) in August 1968, he went to a club and stood around for 5 whole evenings before he got a single dance.

It was only when he got up enough nerve to start asking other people that he had any fun. Just as in the straight world, you cannot meet people half way; you have to meet them three quarters of the way.

You will get your first few dances because I told people to ask you. After that you are on your own. If you just sit there the probability of ever getting another dance is about .000000001. You have to screw up your courage and ask someone!

If you are not a particularly handsome brute and you are particularly cowardly, then try this: Wait until you see a group of people talking (preferably more than two people). Sidle up and listen in on the conversation.

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