Yesterday was the day of all the nuances. A manual work during the day, at night, a big symphony concert at McGill University. Then a few choristers gathered for a beer. From there, I followed a chorister friend to a dance bar. A first for me.
I went there, let’s say anthropologically curious. I had more desire to accompany this friend than to believe that I could get excited for a nude dancer, however handsome and hard he may be. And I was not mistaken. The Campus offers the promised merchandise on stage, without a drum or trumpet. The music is not even loud, a presenter gibberishes the names of the dancers, but we don’t understand anything. When we arrived, a tall black man, all dressed up in muscle, was pining for customers who were barely interested. We sat in the back, as the front rows were occupied. The “number” of each done is done in two steps, lasting three or four minutes, interspersed between the numbers of the others. The first time, the dancer arrives dressed, waddles to the extent of his talent (which is generally mediocre). When he returns, he is in his underwear, his penis clearly visible. How the erection is obtained, I don’t know. As many dancers are heterosexual (that would have to be checked…), they certainly don’t have girlfriends in the back to “start” them. I’m naive, I know that. I already photographed a porn actor (very nice!). As he wanted explicit pictures, he went to the bathroom to inject himself with something (“faster than the pills,” he told me, and no need to be excited).
– The goal, my friend told me, is to spot the tables that are freeing up. The show is better when you’re closer.
My companion, as we will have understood, is a regular (I now call him B.). He had also served me this warning: “when a dancer, in the room, approaches you and greets you, it is fashionable to tell him that you are only here to talk with your boyfriend, thanking him and telling him that, perhaps, next time… »
I asked B a lot of questions while dancers were trying to catch our attention. In twenty minutes, we were sitting in the first row. It must be said that we arrived late, and the clientele was beginning to fade.
– The first row of clients must always applaud at the end of an issue,” instructs me B, who did not avoid any of the questions I asked him.
I would have liked to tell his story here, but I will respect his privacy.
A dancer did come to offer his services (there are cabins in the back). I kindly declined the offer. He stayed a few moments to talk to me. During the day, he wrote children’s stories (!!!), took courses in neurolinguistic programming, seemed very motivated by his projects, had a very soft tone.
At 8 p.m., I was standing with 100 other choristers to perform one of the significant works of the 20th century. Three hours later, I chatted with a dancer while another presented his animal pelvis to a client who, a twenty dollars in his mouth (a sign of mutual acceptance), plunged his head into the belligerents’ groin.
B laughed at the show, ordered another beer. He described to me what was happening in other clubs like this. As he travels a lot, he told me that Montreal remains a safe, almost warm place, compared to what is happening in other cities.
It would be easy to glorify or bring this reality down to a very low level. I couldn’t do either. I found these dancers courageous to do what they did, especially if they were heterosexual as B claimed. Most of them certainly had the “assets” for the exercise, and their bodies only served as a mirror reflecting the clients’ fantasies. The clientele was very varied, and the most excited men were not the oldest. Three or four guys, barely in their twenties, tourists, no doubt discovering Montreal, probably also appropriating their sexuality, were happy to play the hungry as they really were. These, in fact, were more exciting than the ones on stage.
Of course, I felt like an old intellectual mop that didn’t fit in. I still fixed my beers and talked intensely with B while making comments from false connoisseurs about the technique of this or that dancer. There’s no doubt about it, youth still is beautiful…
I came home late. I had to take a taxi. I had the driver, a Haitian (surprise!), talk about sending his children to private school. Driving a cab is his second job, which he does mainly on weekends.
Every existence is a bubble. The city is boiling. The bubbles burst and re-form. The shades are diverse. Sometimes we listen to the violin, sometimes we open our eyes wide with our butts torn apart by half a god, sometimes we are moved by a taxi driver who says he wants to go back to his retirement in ten years’ time in Haiti, to finally be able to do nothing more, because the children will all have become adults.
What I experienced on that one evening could be rethought, rewritten, diluted in documentary poetry. It nourishes my imagination, makes me love the human race as much as ever. If love leads the world, and if it has done so for thousands of years, the subject remains as inexhaustible as ever. We are playing an endless, regulated act with codified violence. Elsewhere, the laws are more brutal. I can’t stop my head from spinning in all directions the show that was offered to me.