I was so drawn into recounting last night’s conversations in the lineup, I totally forgot to say something about an amusing moment in the club itself.
By the beginning of Reinhard Voigt’s live set, around 3h30, I had claimed a spot with my friends at the front of the room, against the metal stanchions that had been put up around the table where Voigt’s gear was setup. There was a guy standing next to me who was clearly out of it (whether high or drunk wasn’t entirely clear) who leaned against the stanchion with his back to Voigt, facing toward the dancefloor. He had a blissful grin on his face permanently (which suggests the use of MDMA), but he also moved sluggishly and seemed to have trouble staying upright without the stanchion (which suggests alcohol or maybe GHB).
Regardless of his particular flavor of intoxication, he was driving me nuts because he was taking up a lot of real-estate right at the front of the club, and his attempts at “dancing” while leaning on the stanchion meant that he was frequently slamming into me. I’m pretty touch when it comes to the blood sport of claiming space on a dancefloor, so I adjusted my dance moves accordingly.
First, I timed my movements so that we would have as much body contact as possible, in the hopes that he would be creeped out by the physical intimacy and move away from me. I should’ve known better; there’s something about nightclub contexts that makes the touch-phobic men of France suddenly boundary-less. It’s not like he was looking to rub up against me, but he was completely unperturbed that our dancing was turning into frottage.
So I gave up and timed my dancing so that we would just narrowly miss each other. This was a peaceable compromise for a while, until a girl inserted herself between us and started trying to claim some of our space. The other guy was too impaired to put up a fight, so he shifted over once she started elbowing him. I wasn’t going anywhere, so I clamped my hands on the rail of the stanchion stuck my elbows out and grooved in place. She got a few good elbows into my ribs, but I didn’t move. She tried to make eye contact with me a couple of times, presumably to try to stare me down, but I just kept dancing as enjoying Voigt’s set as if she wasn’t there. Finally, after the other guy woke up to the fact that there was a girl next to him and started clumsily hitting on her, she made herself scarce.
Still concerned about marauding girls with sharp elbows, didn’t release my grip on the stanchion when that other guy slid back along the railing to where I was. He wasn’t really dancing anymore, just leaning back on the rail of the stanchion, with his hands wide on the rail to either side of him. My hands were in the way on one side of him, so he had the bright idea to place his hand between mine.
As far as spatial organization is concerned it made sense: my right hand on the railing close to his hip, his right arm crossing mine with his right hand on the railing directly in front of me. However, this economy of space also meant that we were entwined in a sort of staggered embrace. Our shoulders were pressed against each other, with our right arms crossing directly into the other’s personal space. It didn’t help things that his hand on the railing was directly in front of my crotch. From a distance, it probably looked as if he was grabbing my crotch and I was having a go at his ass.
So when I looked in his direction and saw that he was looking right at me, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Our faces were about 10cm away from each other. He leaned in, still looking at me, and then gave me a peck on the cheek. Following that rule that, when in doubt, mirroring is the best behavior, I leaned in and planted a wet one on his cheek.
I’m not sure what was going on in his head, but he found this hilarious. He slapped his knee with the sort of slow-mo hilarity that only the very drunk can muster, and then went back to gazing emptily into the crowd and leaning his elbows on the stanchion.
I think (I’m just guessing here) that he thought I was angry at him for invading my personal space, and the peck on the cheek was some sort of half-joking conciliatory maneuver. I was having a pretty good time (despite being constantly elbowed), so I can only imagine that my expression was pretty friendly. Nonetheless, maybe the fact that I was from (apparently) glowering to kissing him on the cheek was the height of absurdity.
Either way, nothing else came of it. He spent the rest of the night splayed on that stanchion, and I spent the rest of the night dancing, my hands still gripping the stanchion possessively.