Back in grade school, our class sections were named after Christian values. I guess none of those virtues – (I) Friendliness, (II) Generosity, (III) Graciousness, (IV) Confidence, (V) Industry, and (VI) Responsibility – ever rubbed off on me the way it was meant to. At least it wasn’t III-Obedience.
I’m not the most obedient son in the world; I managed to disobey every earnest warning of my parents against drinking and smoking. “Bawas-bawasan mo yang inom mo,” and off I go drinking. “Tama na yang sigarilyo mo,” and I light up another stick. Yet one admonition I happened to obey was, “Anak, iwas ka sa disco.”
Thank heavens I heeded that advice.
Then again, my parents have seen – and experienced – the worst of disco. Real disco; the kind of dancing that accompanied bell-bottom white pants, giant afros, knee-high striped socks, and platform shoes. The kind of dancing that comes with Barry Gibb falsettos and Tony Manero poses. The kind of dancing that makes me thank whatever gods may be that I can’t go back in time to the 1970s and watch my parents dance on lighted floors.
“Iwas ka sa disco…” It’s not like I was born with two left feet, but I’m not a natural born dancer. Whenever I’m forced to have a drink with friends at dance clubs, I just sit somewhere dark and distant, where I don’t have to deal with so much noise. The sight of exaggerated dance movements – like women thrusting their chests to compensate for lack of boobage or men thrusting their hips to compensate for the lack of a penis – is usually enough for me to have a reason to get drunk.
I guess it has much to do with the kind of dances I was born into, and had the privilege to burninate in my very consciousness. This was the 1990s, where M.C. Hammer and Sir Mix-a-Lot was all the rage. Back then, there was no shame in having those eight-track cassettes of the Universal Motion Dancers, where the A-Side had the original recording of Erasure’s “Always” and the B-side had “Merry Christmas… From the UMD.” When compact discs and mini-component systems became very popular, everything from Richard Miles to Simply Red, from OMC to Jimmy Ray, became available through those “Millennium Disco Hits 2000” CDs sold on sidewalks.
Heck, it wasn’t even disco. I think it was the guilty pleasure of my generation. Hey, the kids after us had Willie Revillame and The Masculados. No shame in that.
My friends who are into the dancing thing remind me that it’s not “disco,” but “raving” or “clubbing.” Since I’m too dorky to understand it in terms other than conversations of crochety old people with wooden implements, I guess I’m condemned to do my drinking near gasoline stations…
But that’s for another day.