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.