The Dance

The music from the clubhouse dance easily reaches the Ghetto trailers. It is not distinct, and the higher notes have dissipated themselves, and the words we hear are recognizable only because of familiarity, but we know the dance has started.

Few of us will go this early. We aren't ready, the fire still holds some of us in it's circle. Too early. Another hour or so. Maybe a final dip in the pool, or some time in the hot tub. No rush.

Linda and I are enjoying a late supper on our deck. A few other people are similarly engaged. A small group is gathered around the fire, and the rumble of conversation and laughter mixes with the music flowing down from the clubhouse. A few trailers away, Paul is doing body painting for his wife and a few other friends. Not an artist by trade, he is nonetheless very good, and some of his more inspired creations are simply breathtaking. Great color sense, excellent eye for proportion and detail all combine in fanciful swirls and feathers. Undoubtedly he could charge for this, but he does it for simple enjoyment.

The sun has already set tonight, gone behind the mountain with a glorious display of reddened clouds. The air is cool and sweet, and it moves by us, tickling our feet as it goes. We inhale it, hold it in our lungs, reluctant to let it go.

A fast song is playing in the clubhouse. We can't quite make it out, but the bass notes set our fingers drumming. We look at each other, and silently agree that it is near time to go.

First, of course, we have to get dressed. Sometimes we have theme dances that call for particular outfits, but tonight is just an ordinary dance. Nudists dress for dances, a fact that sometimes mystifies those who have never tried dancing nude. Male or female, most of us have *something* that is not particularly comfortable bouncing around a dance floor. Or maybe it's just because we like to dress up for a party. Whatever the reason, few people come nude to the dance. If it is hot, there will likely be more and more nudity as the night goes un, but it doesn't start that way.

I choose my usual uninspired cut-off jeans. Dull and boring, I'm ready in a few seconds. Linda is more selective, and has more to put on. Sometimes she'll do shorts, sometimes a dress, and always some sort of top. It takes her a bit longer to decide and actually get ready. I amuse myself by reading while she does these things.

When we are both ready, we walk up the hill to the clubhouse. There is always the stop at the ladies room for final attention to hair and makeup. I stand outside talking to other abandoned men who also wait for their dates.

Toiletries attended to, we are ready to climb the clubhouse stairs. These lead to a large deck that is outside the recreation and bar rooms. On a hot night there will be as many people or more out here as are in the dance. There are large windows where you can look inside and make faces at your friends, and there are tables and benches where you can escape the ever present smoke and sit to catch your breath.

Smoking is a problem at this club. The majority of people would prefer that there was no smoking allowed at the dance, and even voted that way some time back. However, bar business apparently suffered too much, so the owners changed the policy back to allow smoking in one section of the dance floor area only. It is a poor compromise, but if the doors and windows are open, it is at least not suffocating.

When we enter, we greet friends and may sit and chat with some of them for a moment or two. But we didn't come to sit and drink. We came to dance.

I'm a bad dancer. I have no feeling for music. That's not entirely true: some classical works will move me to tears, but my *body* doesn't feel the beat. I'm not coordinated, not smooth, not graceful. Everything I am not, however, Linda is, and I dance because I love to dance with her.

We will usually pass on the slow dances, and take that opportunity to talk with other folks or get some fresh air on the deck. The owners unfortunately seldom make any income from us at the bar, but I'm sure that other folks more than make up for us.

The fast dances almost always draw us onto the floor. I do whatever goofy movements seem to somewhat match what Linda is doing, and we get by. We dance, and we dance, and we dance.

As the night gets darker, more people drift in. Many of the women wear lingerie. Some have been painted, probably by Paul. Some wear dresses, skirts, whatever. The men are usually less imaginative.

The floor can get very crowded at times. I've had my feet stepped on by some very large people in the crush, but it's all part of the excitement.

There are certain songs that seem to be required at nudist dances. Some of the favorites at our club are a bit on the raunchy side, or become so after the crowd gets creative with the lyrics. Unfortunately, we had some person or persons object and try to ban certain songs from being played. I think that issue has been dealt with and I hope we won't have to have a problem. We have all agreed that these songs should not be played until after the children have left the dance (children are required to leave at 9:00 PM), and most of us hope that's the end of it. We'll see.

Once in a while we get some exceptional dancers. There are several women who are unusually good, but now and then we've seen some men who can really dance. There is a young man who only started coming a year or so ago who is amazingly talented. Sometimes even I will just watch him in slack jawed admiration.

But mostly we just dance. We dance long and we dance hard, and as we get older, it's rare for us to be able to keep up the pace all the way to the end at 2:00 PM. We usually give up and crawl into our bed much earlier. Part of that is tiredness, but I guess more of it is the damn smoke. It gets worse as the evening goes on, and of course fast dancing means we breathe more of it. Both of us are ex-smokers, so we certainly understand the compulsions that smokers live with, but we wish more of them would have simple consideration and move outside to smoke. A very few do conscientiously do that, but the great majority don't seem to care.

When we do give up and head toward our camper, the music follows us down the hill. We toss our smoke drenched clothes in the corner, clean up, and roll into bed. Berkshire Sunday morning will be knocking at our door soon enough. The dancing has worn us out, and we'll drift off quickly.

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