One journalist's musings about the beautiful, bizarre world in which we live
Oaxaqueñans dressed as Playboy Bunnies danced circles around (and on) the room’s only male gringo.
I’d had one beer too many, and wandered around barefoot. People speaking quick Spanish took a peak at police talking to the man (woman?) in bondage gear at the front door below.
No, it’s not exactly an abnormal night in my life. But the fact that it took place here – in Oaxaca, Mexico – that’s what made it exciting.
* * *
For the last month, I’ve been taking belly dance classes here.
I never thought I would be taking belly dance lessons from a man, far less in Mexico.
Adal is a very open, flamboyant, almost genderless creature. He has a black ponytail and a big smile. I adore him, and he’s a fantastic dancer.
Yesterday, he held his birthday party in the dance studio, telling me to bring as many friends as I wanted.
Well, only two were interested in the “Playboy” themed event – and I was the only one of us three to dress to the theme.
We drank a few margaritas at my friend’s place, and then cabbed over to the industrial/residential section of town where the studio is located. We could hear the music a block away, thudding the neighbourhood with a mix of salsa, top 40 and the occasional Shania Twain.
I waltzed in with my two companions and a bouquet of flowers for the birthday-person. The flowers went in the back room, however, as Adal handed us all beers. I didn’t recognize him at first, with his long hair flowing down his back, his skin scantily clad by black leather bondage gear and a half-ton of makeup.
He told me I should have been more “temprano!” and tipped my beer up, pouring it down my throat within 20 seconds.
And so, we danced and we drank.
One of four men in the room of fifty people was placed in the centre of the belly dancers circle. The poor, awkward gringo got some lap dances from well-trained women. (I should also note that the studio is also used to teach exotic dancing.)
We danced more, and we drank more.
The strobe lights and pounding rhythms pulled the police to our shindig, too. They stopped, told us to shut up and keep the party inside. After a long warning, we learned our lesson. Every time their cars barreled down the street, our DJ turned down the music. When the red-and-blue lights faded, the beats returned.
By the time I left, one last couple was salsa-ing in front of the dance mirrors. My instructor was doubled over outside of the bathroom. And I was ready for some sleep.