So, for the first, and hopefully last, time I was solicited for prostitution the other night. Never a dull moment in the life of the tall penguin.
My friend D and I went to a nightclub. I got dressed up in usual nightclub wear: crop top with corset lace-up back, short black skirt and knee-high, high-heeled boots (see photo below). D dressed more conservatively as she was nursing a bad sinus infection. In the context of the club, all was well. My clothing, or lack thereof, was appropriate. But, around 1:00 a.m., things changed.
While we were out on the patio taking some fresh air, D decided that she desperately needed some throat lozenges to get through the rest of the night. Not really thinking, we left the club without claiming our jackets first and headed out onto the main street of our large city. Now, it's 1:00 a.m., about 10 degrees Celsius and it's only the beginning of May, so the street is pretty empty. Everyone is still in the clubs except for D and I wandering in search of a convenience store and Hall's Mentho-Lyptus.
It was this aimless wandering, combined with my Pretty Woman-like ensemble, that began to get the attention of drivers passing by us. The second time a car started to slow down near us, I began to clue in. Uh oh.
And then, it happened. A guy pulls up beside us, rolls down his window, looks me up and down and asks if I want some company for the evening. I sneer at him and continue walking. I turn to D, "Did I really just get solicited for prostitution?"
"Yes, I believe you did," she laughs.
A few minutes later, it happened again. At that point, I just had to laugh too. Just one more example of my ridiculous life. Now, it would've been less ridiculous if, true to the Pretty Woman story, a Richard Gere-type pulled up in a Lotus and asked for directions to the Royal York Hotel, but no such luck. It seems my knight in shining sportscar has yet to materialize. Until then, it's sleezy guys in Buicks trying to get their rocks off on a Friday night. But I digress. D and I eventually found a convenience store, acquired the throat lozenges and made it back to the club unscathed.
Now, I have to tell you a bit about what took place inside the club. The first Friday of the month, a local gay nightclub hosts an open South Asian extravaganza called Besharam which, in Hindi, means "shameless". The intent of the event is to shift the view of the word from meaning indecent or shameless behavior to the happenings in our world that are offensive and shameless, such as poverty, homophobia, war, etc. Each event has a particular charity focus. The night we were there, representatives from the ASAAP (The Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention) were giving out condoms and raising awareness of the issues related to their cause. Free condoms are always a good thing.
I grew up with a large community of South Asians, particularly those from India, and have blogged about my love for their culture, music, food and cinema. But this was my first time at a large South Asian dance event. And wow, these people love to party. Now, I've been doing the club thing for a few years now and typical "white people" behavior is to get very drunk before entering the dance floor. It's usually midnight or 1:00 a.m. before the party really gets started. But not so at Besharam. Them "brownies", as I've been directed over the years to affectionately call my South Asian friends, are on the dance floor almost immediately. By 11:00 p.m. the floor was packed, and by midnight, we were crammed like sardines, bobble-heading en masse.
The other difference I noticed is how the men attempt to get the ladies attention. Since the music is predominantly from Bollywood movies, and since most Bollywood films are about love and relationship, the lyrics are often directed to an object of affection. So, if a guy is interested in you, he starts singing and dancing in your direction. It's a ritualistic serenade, like a peacock flaunting its feathers. There was very little grinding-up-to-me behavior; in fact, despite the crampedness of the dance floor, there was a large amount of personal space maintained between dancers; quite different than my usual club experience.
But, by night's end, every man with enough alcohol in his bloodstream begins to behave the same way. As D and I were leaving the club, there were groups of men lining the halls, grabbing my arm, asking me to stay a little longer.
We finished the night at McDonald's, where every night of drinking and partying must inevitably end. And then we took the long bus ride home on what is affectionately known here as the "Vomit Comet". A good time was had by all.