elf-indulgent radio: dosado and promenade homo

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From Arlington, Virginia, this is Thom. And you’re listening to elf-indulgent radio.

As a kid, my family had squaredanced together, and I loved it.

Years later, when Hal and I moved down to DC from Boston in 1987, we went to an open house at the local gay squaredance club, but we broke up between then and the first night of classes, and didn’t go back.

So, in 1994 when our housemates moved to Belgium, I convinced Jay to give squaredancing a try. I dragged him to an open house, and since we didn’t end up breaking up until a year and a half later, we managed to make it back.

My first gay squaredance convention was in Chicago… and it just happened to be at the same hotel as the International Mister Leather Competition. Now that was an eye-opening experience. Just watching the demos in the vendor room alone probably lowered my purity score a few percentage points.

In squaredancing, the term “tip” refers to a set of dances. At convention, there also are “specialty” tips. Specialty tips might include a leather tip, where all the dancers wear leather, or a munchkin tip, where all the dancers are 5’6″ or shorter, or a bear tip, that’s B E A R. I’m getting to the other kind of bare.

That would be what’s often called a “moonshine” tip. It’s rather a tradition at convention, and sort of a rite of passage, and it entails getting naked and dancing. It’s not actually very sexual… frankly, I don’t find it at all sexual. Gay squaredancers are a cross-section of the community: but skewing older and more, um, “comfortable” than fit. You’ll find squaredancers with bodies you’d see at a circuit party, but most of us have bodies you’d more likely see at a Tupperware party. And once the music starts, and the caller begins, and there are breasts and butts all over the place, you’re mostly just trying to keep from laughing… and hoping that you don’t accidentally snag someone’s body jewelry in your body hair as you dosado and promenade them home.

3 thoughts on “elf-indulgent radio: dosado and promenade homo

  1. Great story. [And BTW, nice use of the extended entry function for a transcript. Now that I’m in the wonderful world of Movable Type (take that, Blogger!), I may follow suit.]

  2. Yes; there’s actually been some controversy about this, due to the arrogance of some national modern western square dance associations. There are many other American folk dances (contra dancing, round dancing, clogging, line dancing, just to name a few), and square dancing–especially in its modern form–has no more valid claim to the title of “national folk dance” than the others. I love squaredancing, but I sometimes have issues with the institutionalization of it.
    For example, many straight square dance clubs mandate costume (layers and layers of expensive crinolines for women, long-sleeve shirts for men, a no-jeans policy), suggesting incorrectly that these costumes have a long history (though they actually only go back to about the 1950s). Most clubs require that couples who wish to participate must be opposite-sex, and many require that these couples be married. In some of the higher-level clubs these rules have been relaxed, but one can still encounter a fair amount of rigidity–and homophobia.
    Gay square dance clubs, however, like the highest-level (Challenge-level squaredancing has such a relatively small number of participants, who therefore tend to be more relaxed about dancing with anyone who is capable of the complicated and numerous calls and concepts one must master before reaching those levels) straight clubs, tend to take a much more relaxed approach. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts all are perfectly acceptable to dance in; singles are encouraged to dance, and members of couples need not dance only with one another; and there tends to be a wider range of music (I’ve squaredanced to Broadway, Disney, Madonna, and Buffet, for example, rather than only just the country-western one might expect).
    [And thanks for the comment about the audio posting; I’m glad you enjoyed it.]

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