Melina visits the Roller Disco
Clearly, you are all wondering where I went with my tiara the other night.
The answer is that I went to the Roller Disco. Every Wednesday night, the Roxy, which is a famous nightclub in New York City with a famous gay history, hosts a rollerskating party, "Roller Disco Attire Appreciated."
Now it just so happens that I own a pair of roller blades. So after work, I came home, took off my Business Casual Garb (full of stress hormones from a day of work), and put on:
1.) Short shorts.
2.) Knee socks.
3.) Roller blades (well, I put them in my backpack)
4.) tank top
Let me just give credit where credit is due here. The tiara came from my dear friend Breeze and her boyfriend John, who tolerate my obsession with all things Miss America/Miss World/Miss Universe, and brought me the tiara as a present for my most recent Miss America party (when I nearly burnt down my apartment trying to make toasted bruschetta). It is one of my most cherished possessions.
Then I went down to the roller disco.
The Roxy is way out past Tenth Avenue, on the far west side of Manhattan. As you walk west across Manhattan, first you see office buildings and chain stores (5th, 6th avenues), then ghastly commercial zones (7th avenues) and Broadway (Broadway), then townhouses and embassies and nicer restaurants (8th and 9th avenues), then empty lots, housing projects, parking lots, and highways (10th, 11th, avenues, West Side Highway). So in the midst of the empty lots and highways, there stands the Roxy.
There is a long pathway set up outside, with several bouncers and velvet cordons like at the airport. You make your way through there, and show your ID to the bouncers, and since it is NOrth Carolina, they stare at it suspiciously and twiddle it back and forth looking for the hologram. Then they mumble "Okay" and you say, "What?" and they say "GO!!!!" and you say "OKAY!" and then you go inside and up a long carpeted series of stairs and a couple switchbacks.
Then you go to the ticket window for the roller derby, pay them a lot of money, and go inside.
And then you are in a fantastic place. It is a big room with a bar on one side, a DJ on the other, and in between, a small-ish roller rink, crammed with ALL different kinds of people. (It also has big signs that say "SKATE CAREFULLY - WE HAVE NO LIABILITY INSURANCE.") I saw:
--scared 18 year old girls wobbling around on roller blades in short shorts
--Blond babes in their 50s with the full-on Farrah Fawcett hairdo demonstrating that they knew how to disco dance the *first* time it was cool
--20s-ish couples trying to do the whimsical date thing (the men looking extremely uncomfortable)
--30s-ish hipsters wearing sparkly sequined pants and body suits
--screaming bachelorettes and birthday girls (Several in tiaras)
--Serious pair dancers who looked like they had ice-skating backgrounds
--Middle-aged gay couples, and gay singles sporting colored handkerchiefs in various symbolic places on their bodies
--Extraordinarily muscular hip-hop dancers, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, male and female
--Women in the throes of disco-ecstasy (the more common variant of this is hippie-dancing ecstasy) where they go up onto a high place where everyone can see them and totally groove out
--One six-foot Rastafarian in full regalia, skating backwards slowly with a beatific smile on his face (all the regulars were high-fiving him)
Lots of these people - unusually for New York - were just grinning from ear to ear. There was a lot of ostentation but little competition. If someone whizzed past you and you started to fall, another person coming up from behind you would catch you around your waist and make sure you didn't fall before skating on. (There was a fair amount of "accidentally-on-purpose" catching from behind going on, if you get my drift, but not enough to be creepy).
The only analagous environment I have experienced was when I used to go to triathlons with my dad. The triathlon crowd is mainly middle-aged, successful professionals (since nobody else can afford the gear) who you'd expect to see in business casual. At triathlons, you will find them almost entirely nude, casually writing numbers on each others bodies with sharpie, admiring each others' quadriceps and leg-shaving jobs, lubing their way into tight wetsuits, and casually wandering around and mingling in tiny Speedo swimsuits. And it's all entirely innocent.
I was in heaven at the Roller Disco. I can barely skate, let alone skate and disco dance, but I skated around and around for hours and hours in the flashing lights, completely blissed out.
I highly, highly recommend.
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