Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Dance Party: I Danced With Somebody

You won't find an obit for Whitney Huston in these pages, you can certainly go elsewhere for that.  But her death this week caused some strong memories to surface for me, of a time in the 80s when her music received top play in the dance clubs, a time when I was still trying to figure out my life as a gay man. 
Those halcyon days of youth.

I spent more time than I should admit, carousing in those clubs, with Whitney and her contemporaries blaring in the background.  I lived in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles at the time, and there were several gay bars with dance floors in the area.  I usually spent my time there, but on occasion, I would drive "over the hill," as we called it (I imagine they still do), into Hollywood.  Or more accurately, West Hollywood, which hosted the really big nightclub scene.
Studio One was the big dance club at the time.

For the life of me, I don't recall in which of those clubs I met Rudy, but without a doubt, Whitney Huston was playing overhead.  Rudy was (ahem) several years younger than I, and was only recently transplanted to the U.S.  He had a pretty good grasp of English, considering he was from someplace in South America, but he was in dire need of someone to take care of him.  I took him home the night we met, and not in the way you think, you deviants. 
According to Facebook,
this is Rudy today.

His friends had left him behind, and I drove him back to the apartment he shared with another Latin friend. 

He was sleeping on the couch of the apartment, while his buddy and another roommate took the two bedrooms. 
Rudy's bedroom: the couch.
 I have no idea what is perched on my head.
I was just too precious to live.
This other roomie, the only American in the group, was a certifiable nutcase, and, I came to realize, had a huge infatuation with Rudy. 
Rudy became a bear.
I became a hermit.

Believe me, there were some pretty dramatic moments during the brief time Rudy and I had our fling.  One particularly scary night right out of Stephen King, this roommate got drunk and brandished a kitchen knife.  All this drama was unsettling to me, to say the least, but Rudy and I would never have lasted anyway.  The differences in our backgrounds were just too great, and I was still struggling with being completely open about my sexuality, so we didn't really stand a chance.

It's been many years since I thought about that torrid time of my life;  the various tributes to Whitney Huston which have been running all week brought it all back to me. 

Those tributes usually included snippets of her big hits, two of which provided the soundtrack to my fling with Rudy.  "I Want To Dance With Somebody" was probably her biggest dance hit, but it's the other song which takes me back to my clubbing days, and to my days with Rudy; it provides this week's Dance Party. 
Sharing white zin in Santa Barbara.
Yeah, I was that guy.
I am absolutely sure this was the song playing when we met, and is also the song to which we first danced.  When I hear it now, I realize how prescient the lyrics were;  I am taken back to Rudy, and to those young, sexually charged days of the 80s.