There's something you can do in Toronto that they won't let you do in New York City: dance.
A New York court recently ruled that an old law banning dancing in all but those clubs that hold a valid "cabaret licence' will remain in effect. Apparently, it's still one quickstep from the foxtrot to moral rot.
If the original intent of the law was puritanical, i.e., to discourage the hanky-panky to which dancing reputedly leads, it's a bit of a failure. It just eliminates the public prelude to the horizontal polka. Can't say dancing has ever led to sex for me, but then again, neither has anything else.
It's surprising that a town as preoccupied with social control as Toronto hasn't enacted its own legislation against the twist. But now that I've mentioned it....
I'm still recovering from a dance bender that began in the afternoon and went on until kicking-out time. All my partners were strangers.
I dance like I talk - fast, idiosyncratically, always striving for perfect timing. It is a great pleasure to encounter another pair of feet with which mine can converse. After two numbers with a good stepper, we popped outside for a breath of smoke. He addressed me in Portuguese, and talk was next to impossible.
At Jet Fuel Café's 15-keg anniversary, I had one of the best dances of my life with a gent I've never seen before and likely never will again.
I often dance alone. I was once approached by a swing dance snob who asked the name of the step I was doing. "I dunno... 'dancing like a Newf. '' People from the Rock have told me I do. Mr. Swing asked me to dance with him, but he took up so much space that I relinquished the floor to his formal display.
Many are the curious I have initiated into the intricacies of the "tile dance' that results from crowded Jamaican dance halls where there is no more than one tile for every set of moving feet.
Music has to make me dance. So-called "dance music' played by monotonous machines just makes me run away to hire three plays for $1 on an agreeable jukebox. The best is when other patrons honour me by offering the coin to play songs of my choice.
I take DJing seriously and pick things that aren't my favourites but perhaps someone else's. I have a weakness for mystery tunes that I choose according to their enticing titles.
A while back, I was commuting to the bar that is my distant local when I ran into a musician I know swaying on the sidewalk. He agreed to accompany me down the road. Elvis Presley says all the world's a stage, and a new play began when I walked in not by myself.
A chorus of grizzled men surrounded me with annoying solicitations, oblivious to the presence of my escort. When he keyed something into what must have been a Palm Pilot or the like, the leader of the chorus shouted, " She keeps her computer in her head!'
I played the jukebox and stood to dance, asking my friend if he cared to. When he didn't, the men began to harangue him. "Why not? Why won't you dance?'
It was a question I unwisely pursued - for weeks, even listening to him and one of his bandmates claim that for musicians dancing is redundant. I say hooey! He asked me to give him a reason why he should dance. I phoned him to say "because dancing is good for your body and your soul.'
He'll be relieved to know I tore up his phone number
They've closed down most of the places where we could forget our troubles with a friendly dance. We were considered trouble, or at least unprofitable. And the very thing we had right here is currently being marketed in a TV ad campaign aimed at tourists who can afford to go all the way to Newfoundland for a jig.
Last time I danced, a cologne-scented man of Polish ancestry twirled me and I twirled him. A big guy who grew up in Regent Park found his feet. And that Acadian trucker and I broke everyone's hearts. I really believed he'd take me on a six-day run to Texas, and so did they when they saw us dancing together. Needless to say, the dance was the only thing that was true.