I’d never been to a surprise party until recently, but that’s two in the last few weeks. My dance teachers set one up for their son’s 21st birthday and invited all of their students. This seemed a little odd – we’ve never actually met the guy – but we were happy to go along and on Thursday evening arrived at our usual dance hall to find it packed with people and a mobile disco1. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so large an event.
I always used to hate that kind of party. I’d no idea how to deal with drunk people, I certainly didn’t have enough confidence to dance, and there would always be a couple of loud, deeply unpleasant guys that (it seemed like) all the girls nevertheless fawned over. I’d end up sitting in a corner feeling inferior. I hadn’t been to such a party for years, and I admit that for about ten minutes on Thursday the old associations came back and I wanted to do was leave. Happily, that faded – yay for being older. I can’t claim to have relaxed completely, but the feeling of being out of place decreased to a gentle simmer.
The birthday boy arrived to cheers and seemed rather bemused by it all. After a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ the disco started up again, playing medleys from the ’70s and, oddly, ’80s. Most guests were in their early 20’s or parents in their late 40’s, and you’d think few were listening to music in the ’80s. Lynsey tells me that the ’80s nights at her university were the most popular, though, so apparently my theory has a flaw somewhere. Small slips of paper were provided for requests, and after a few not-so-subtle hints I handed in one for the Macarena. It turns out I’m one of the few people in the world who doesn’t know the Macarena moves off by heart. I should remedy that.
For a group who’ve been learning to dance for two years, there was a lot of two-step shuffling going on 🙂 It was interesting that our group had far fewer inhibitions over stepping onto the dancefloor than the birthday boy and his friends, although it didn’t take them long. I was dragged up at one point but only lasted a song. I like dancing when I’ve actually something to do, but shuffling about just makes me feel silly – I’ll have to work at getting over that one. I spent a while sitting at the edge of the dancefloor feeling like a bit of a tit, but eventually got up for a cha-cha and a jive when the appropriate rhythms were played, and had a good time.
There’s a horrible, horrible line in ‘Children of Men’ when Julianne Moore says something like: “The ringing in your ears is the sound of cells dying. You’ll never hear that frequency again.” It’s impossible not to think of this when leaving a loud party, especially when by the end I was noticing my ears distorting the sound slightly at the higher volume levels. Sorry to sound terribly old! It was an interesting evening, and as far as I could tell most people enjoyed themselves. I probably didn’t do as well as I’d have liked, but didn’t have a bad time overall. I think the birthday boy had fun, which is the important thing.
- do people still say ‘disco’? [↩]