Last night I went to see my friend’s brother DJ at Zanzibar in Santa Monica. I used to go to Zanzibar religiously for salsa dancing until I realized Life Lesson #158: Never get to know the people you dance with. It will ruin the dance experience as an escape outlet.
The music was Indian Electronic Reggae Hip Hop Night, or something like that. I drank two amaretto sours and danced with my friend in a very lazy untrained way. Salsa made me so uptight about dancing correctly, now all I want to do is be a big Burning Man hippy, wave my arms around, and jump like rap star. Everyone looks goofy, but it’s really fun.
While ordering drinks, a guy started talking to me at the bar. I chatted with him a little, but basically told him, No, I don’t feel like getting to know you. If salsa (and life) has taught me anything it’s that blunt honesty far surpasses tact when it comes to anything having to do with guys at clubs. I used to be so codependent that I’d have to write a dissertation that amounted to the word, “No.” Then I became a Salsa Bitch, and now I have “boundaries.”
So, I’m a little intoxicated, dancing like a hippy, and watching this lovely Indian Reggae couple sing when the Same Guy starts dancing his way into my space, and trying to grab my hand and waist. In Salsa, it’s usually only the most clueless white guys who Dance Towards You like Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd in SNL’s “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” as a way of asking you to dance. Usually, the Latino men in salsa hover before asking. But the ones who try to make a dance connection in Salsa without asking in a semi-formal way commit a great offense to partner dancing. I usually find the whole thing so creepy I turn and walk away. But this wasn’t Salsa. It was freestyle and he, apparently, felt that gave him license to do anything he wanted.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to dance with you,” I said, at which point he stopped dancing and walked away in a huff.
I felt like a very not-fun girl. But I also felt really awesome.
Just for today, I have boundaries.