(Pixilated out of compassion for my poor friend stuck dancing with me)

“I never thought I would…”

How many sentences begin that way? In this case, I never thought I would ever go to a disco party again. But I did. And it felt just like it was 1977 again.

Because I hated disco then too.

I have no disco genes in my body. When “Get Down Tonight” used to come on, nothing happened. I just stood there. The Bee Gees had no effect on me. I never saw “Saturday Night Fever.”

Back in those days, when socially forced to get out on the dance floor, what happened there can only be described as convulsive writhing. Imagine a guy trying to get out of a straight jacket, only with no jacket. Or maybe someone getting hit over and over with a cattle prod, strategically aimed at various parts of his body.

That was me.

So this weekend, I went to a disco party with my wife and daughter. We were supposed to dress up in “disco clothes.” All I could come up with was a poor man’s “Miami Vice” look, with a tee shirt (color not found in nature) and jacket. My daughter was decked out in mid-70s gear (she is four, so she didn’t care), and my wife dressed normally.

I felt betrayed.

When we got there, we stepped into a time warp. The DJ was wearing a leisure suit. Dancers in 70s clothes danced in cages. There was a disco ball. And the steady beat-beat-beat of disco music filled the room. The dancers were different, though. They were either (a) old or (b) kids. When I say kids I mean from three years old to about eight. When I say old, I mean guys like me.

The only thing worse than watching a man dance to disco music is watching an OLD man dance to disco music.

Instinctively, I fell back into my normal routine at disco dances, which was to find the nearest wall and stay there. The only thing missing were four or five other losers to man the wall with me. My wife danced and had a good time (of course she did – she was one of the cool girls in high school), and a lot of people seemed to be enjoying themselves – especially the kids.

My daughter, however, clung to me like an orange peel on an orange (which, coincidentally, was the dominant color in her attire). She had no desire to dance to the scary disco music. She was obviously intimidated by the (old) people gestulating out on the floor, and preferred to watch. When they did the “Hustle” she stared as if she were watching the Hindenburg disaster in real time – horrified but unable to look away.

I looked at her, and felt compassion. This was all so familiar to us who lived through the disco era, but so completely new to her. She had never experienced the lights, the sounds, the writhing. And as she clung to my neck, a new understanding began to dawn on me.

She had no disco genes either.

I was so proud I could have danced.


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