Emptying your pockets is the first ritual. Make sure you're not carrying any deadly devices. Or smuggling in cheaper booze. Guys at the door ahead of me, 30's probably so why do you feel so out of place? several-beers-a-day voices, low and gravelly and laced with subliminal menace.
Don't be too judgmental. That might become a problem later when the two guys in head-to-toe white latex costumes (complete/replete with breasts) show up. Or Doberman Mask guy. True story. Whole S&M getup and everything, but with a mask that looks like the head of a Doberman Pincer. He's this close to fighting Batman.
And now I think I should come to one of these things dressed as Batman. I might fit right in. I tried to be inconspicuous, totally aimed for it, but landed at Hipster Douche, a sartorial continent I visit not infrequently these days.
Between the vintage bookshop and the the Kinko's lies the Necto.
I can't help feeling this is significant. Between rows of old stories and the germs of new ones (I printed the first copy of my manuscript at Kinkos, not realizing place is fucking OUTRAGEOUS in terms of $$) lies a place where God knows how many stories have occured. It's the circle of fucking life, man.
The room is dark, split-level. Dance floor below, ringed with posters of obscure movies. Occasionally the smoke machine expectorates and we become brief silhouettes. The more earnest dancers are at the center, ringed around by less enthusiastic parties. This is not a hard-and-fast rule. And hey! Co-ed stripper poles!
I'm not the oldest one here, thank God, or the most male-pattern-bald.
This is Industrial Night and the predominant color is black. Woman with creative shreds across her black top, fishnet bobby-socks. Guy in light-up gas mask, another guy in a paper SARS mask and a bunch of tie-up glow sticks. He defies my attempt to find a single nickname for each of these folk. Unlike Top Hat. Girl in short gingham dress that stops just below the apex of her long, long legs. She smokes a cigarette indifferently. The dance floor is ringed by tables and chairs and booths. There are stairs below to more music and the bathrooms. Somebody brought kamikazes to the ladies'.
The place is distinctly cold, which is no mean feat considering the ecstatic tangle of dancers. More smoke and I'm shrouded again. Girls with bikini tops, or sometimes a forthright bikini, or some kind of lingerie/dominatrix ensemble. More fishnets. A couple toward the edge of the storm is dancing slowly and necking. Closer to the center another couple is considerably more fervent.
The crescent-shaped, red-velvet-backed booth I'm sitting in now is like a fort for wallflowers.
Anne says some people go to be noticed, some for the comfort of anonymity. Here the weird can be weird without worry. Those latex twins, she points out, could be on the city council. DoberMan could be the Mayor. And some come to dance, to be swept away, their eyes closed, taken up in the beat like leaves on the wind. Is this what I'm missing? To let slip the anchor of self-consciousness, at least for a few hours on a Monday night in danger of making good on the threats the weatherman has been making all day. Out here we're all one in the dark.