Monday, September 5, 2011

I went to a gay tea dance

Never Done: I went to a gay tea dance

Earlier this summer I was invited to volunteer at a Hampton Tea Dance, which was a gala fundraiser for the Empire State Pride Agenda. I really wanted to make a fascinator for it, wear long white gloves, and serve drinks to well-dressed gay men. I pictured it sort of like to royal wedding, but for gay people in the Hamptons. Fancy. Stately. Mint juleps on the lawn.

In the end, I couldn't go, and I thought that was the end of my hopes to go to a tea dance this summer. But no! There is a tea dance every day from 4-7 in Provincetown, and it's free from 6:45 to 7, so Mich likes to go and dance like crazy for fifteen minutes. Wait, dance like crazy? At the royal wedding? Well, it turns out that the Provincetown tea dance is far from formal. It's a techno-blaring, chest baring sweat-it-out-on-the-dance-floor mob scene. (Plus one slow-dancing lesbian couple.) We pushed in to the center as far as we could, which wasn't very far at all, and danced as much as we could, which wasn't very much at all, and I remembered that just because I've never done something before, or just because I'm with a category of people I tend to like, doesn't mean I'll suddenly enjoy something I've never enjoyed before -- like being trapped in the middle of a rowdy crowd of intoxicated people -- and so we pushed our way back out of the crowd and went to dinner.

Ethical lesson: be open to trying new things but stay true to yourself.

And then after dinner, if you are lucky, you will get to hang out with Urvashi Vaid and Kate Clinton, and you get to realize that you got to do that because you were at the tea dance when you were, and you left when you left, and you ate where you ate, and you finished when you finished, and it's not exactly that everything happens for a reason, but that if you practice Equanimity, and go with the flow, sometimes the flow ushers you somewhere wonderful and unexpected.

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