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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another night at the Mezzo, The Old Dude's Dancing Rules, and DANCE LIKE NOBODY'S WATCHING!

There was a cult classic film called "A Night at the Roxbury," starring Will Ferrell from Saturday Night Live.  It was about two guys who hung out in discos and made some pretty funny dance moves.

A very good friend of mine, who happens also to be a lawyer, though somewhat younger than I, suggested I get some video of me dancing at the patio and the disco at the Mezzo Grille, put it on YouTube, title it "A Night At the Mezzo," inspired by "A Night at the Roxbury," and maybe, just maybe, a video clip of an older guy, moi, dancin' up a storm with nobody else in the Mezzo patio, because I'm the only person who dances there, and dancin' up a storm with lots of young people, of all ages, races, and sexes, but mostly young women, and maybe if I'm lucky the YouTube video would go "viral."  If so, maybe Bob's blog would go viral and maybe, just maybe, then, I'd be able to not only monotinize you with my writing but monetize the blog if enough readers caught the Bob's blog big wave.

In the meantime, I just keep on goin' to the Mezzo on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, to dance the night away, mostly all to my lonesome in the patio, where hundreds of seemingly repressed or heavily sedated mostly young people seem very happy to watch me dancing, but seem not to want to be caught dead dancing outside, under the stars, in the Mezzo patio.

Last night was a beautiful evening in the outdoor patio.  I arrived at 10 p.m., picked up a text message from Jeff and Lucia that they were too tired from moving into their new apartment to join me for dancing.  Jeff's a Wesleyan graduate, just like me, and his girlfriend, Lucia, is from Mexico City, has a PhD in South American literature, and speaks fluent Spanish, English, and French.  Of course, she and I love practicing our French on each other, although Lucia's clearly more fluent than I.

Just like last week in the Mezzo patio, as I detailed in my blog about it on August 15, 2011, there were several hundred young, and some older, people in the patio.  They were mostly either sitting at the metal tables in the large, ground-level patio area, or packed like sardines in the Carribean-style, thatched roof bar in the northwest corner of the patio, up a little set of 10 stairs, or on the raised deck on the south end of the patio, right next to the inside bar area.

At 10:10 p.m., three guitarists, two of whom took turns singing, played until 11 p.m.  It must have been there second or third set of the evening.  Right away, I got up and started dancing.  I got the usual very positive vibe in return from the crowd.  Being from a family of an exhibitionist mother, and maternal grandmother, I have no problem being the center of all that attention.  Eventually, the lead guitarist started telling the crow through his microphone that he wanted me to get up on the corner of the raised stage, to dance in a more prominent location.  After some feigned attempts to indicate I wasn't interested in showing off like that, the crowd began clapping and yelling that they, too, wanted the Ole' Dude to mount the platform, which, willingly, I did.

At the end of two more songs, I lay down on the platform, pretended to be asleep or dead, and rolled myself gently off the edge of the platform, onto the patio below.  This obviously pleased a lot of the crowd.
After that, the lead singer asked me who I was and why I came to the Mezzo to dance.  I told him I'm a retired trial lawyer, happily married to the same woman after 42 years, we have four kids and a grandson, and I got sick of practicing law and now I'm FREE.  So he repeated that announcement to the crowd, at least the part about my name is Bob and I'm a retired trial lawyer.

At 11 p.m., the singers ended their set.  I then headed upstairs to the New York-style disco.  I danced in the disco from 11 p.m. until 1:45 a.m., when the lights came on and everyone started filtering out of the disco and the Mezzo.  From 10 a.m. in the patio, through 1:45 a.m. in the disco, I had no alcohol, nothing to smoke, took no bathroom breaks, no rest breaks, had nothing to eat, and only had two glasses of water.  I guess the 15,000 miles I put on my road bicycle in the past five years, before Susie had her horrible bicycle crash, kept my old legs in really good shape for dancing.  And I mean DANCING.

The Mezzo disco is entered by walking from the back patio area on the north, or rear, end of the main restaurant and bar, through the restaurant and the bar packed solid with young people, and then walking up a very steep set of narrow stairs in the southwest corner of the restaurant.  As you get closer and closer to the door leading to the stairs, you can hear the driving disco beat from the DJ's computer and "scratching" machine.

The disco itself is a room about 50 by 50 feet.  At the top of the stairs, if you walk straight to the back of the disco room, along the west wall of the Mezzo, you'd get to a bar on your right, about halfway to the north wall, and then you'd get to a bathroom on the right side of the hallway, ending in a door which leads to a roof-ed wooden deck which overlooks the outdoor patio to the north.  Back in the disco, the bar is an L-shaped bar, the long part of which runs west to east, and the short end of which makes a  left turn at the east end of the bar, and the left arm of the bar then ends in the north wall of the disco.  To the immediate east of the bar is a pool table, the length of which runs north and south.  On the east side of the disco are situated two large, black couches, the length of both of which runs west to east, with the fronts of the couches facing each other. There is a third couch, between the other two, against the west wall of the disco.  The three couches form a "U" shape.  If the music weren't so loud, the people who sit on the couches would be able to engage in conversation.  Without headphones and microphones, and a sound system, like the equipment on a standard Cigarette hyper-speed power boat, the couch potatoes can't possibly hear each other talk, so they just sit and watch the dancers dance, and probably wish they were uninhibited enough cut the inaudible small talk and just cut loose and DANCE.

On the east wall of the disco is the DJ's raised platform, the loudspeakers (and I mean LOUD), and an area behind the DJ and his retinue, where the very thin, borderline anorexic dancing girls in very short shorts and very tight tops and bare midriffs and lots of dirty dancing with the DJ's boys and with each other, including some occasional making-out, just girl-to-girl don't 'cha know.  The DJ's platform is a rectangular-shaped piece of wood, on a 45 degree angle, with its south end touching the south wall of the disco, overlooking Court Street and the entrance to the Mezzo below, approximately 15 feet from the southeast corner of the disco.  Its north end rests against the east wall of the disco, about 25 feet from the same southeast corner of the disco.

The main dance area is about 25 by 35 feet, more or less, and by the end of the evening, is packed as tight as a Scottish tightwad with dancers of every race and hue, though everyone on the disco dance floor is decades younger than your 61-year-old correspondent, namely, me.

When I arrived on the disco dance floor at 11:05 p.m. (it took me five minutes to work my way through the bar below the disco, inside the restaurant proper, which was packed chock full of 21 to 30 year old young people, all having a great time), only a few girls were dancing in the disco.  I immediately took the floor and danced, continuously, until the lights in the disco flashed off and on at 1:45 a.m., to signal that the party was over for another Friday night dance extravaganza.  During that time, I danced alone, with groups of women, with women who came up to me, exhibiting the uncommon courage necessary to put aside your young pride and dance with The Old Dude, whom I also call, The Old Curiosity Dude (a la Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop).

I've told many of you this, but I'll repeat this mantra here, in the blog, for the first time.  Here are The Rules for a 61-year-old, happily-married, husband, father, and grandfather, who just wants to have fun, and get an amazing aerobic workout, dancing, and allowing the young women, if they choose, which some choose, to dirty dance with me.

Okay, The Rules:

     1.   No flirting (some would argue, "Bob, isn't the act of dancing there, and making yourself available for the young women to dance with you, if they choose, a form of flirting?"  "No, but you're certainly welcome to tell the story any way you want."

     2.   No small talk (even if the decibel level permitted small talk, although, the young guys still seem to try to small talk with the ladies).

     3.   No asking for e-mail addresses.

     4.   No asking for physical addresses.

     5.   No trying to pick anybody up and take them home.  (Apart from the fact that Susie probably, no certainly, would object to any violation of this rule, I'm happily married and don't want to pick anybody up or take anybody home.)

     6.  No touching with my hands and no initiating of dirty dancing.  (The reasons for this may seem obvious. It's just not appropriate for an Old Dude to be groping and grabbing and initiating dirty dancing with young women.  Leave that to the young men.  The violation of this rule could have mortal, or a least morbid, consequences for the Old Dude, as one can imagine the anger which might be generated in the on-looking young men who ARE too inhibited, or committed to "looking good, and not like a fool?)

     7.  If a young woman, or women, initiate(s) dirty dancing, it's okay for me to let her put her body against mine, as long as she keeps it there, and as long as I don't touch her body with my hands.  It is NOT, however, a violation of The Rules for me to move my hands over her body, either by moving my hands over her shoulders and down in front of her upper chest (no contact, of course, although it may seem like contact to an onlooker who's not at a good viewing angle), or through her legs (without so much as an "accidental" bump, of course).

     8.  Of course, it goes without saying, that there can be no exchange, none whatsoever, of bodily fluids, with any of the female dance partners.

     9.  Don't drink alcohol, just water, take no bathroom breaks unless the bladder is truly ready to explode, take no breaks at all, if possible, continue dancing once the lights go on at 1:45 p.m., dance frequently on one leg, and then the other, to show off how good shape your 61-year-old legs are, just to show off, and when a young woman is tired of dancing with the Old Dude, back off immediately.

    10.  And the final Rule is, of course, HAVE A BLAST, and then go home to Susie, even though she's asleep by the time I make the five-minute drive home.

On Friday afternoon, I had some business at City Hall in connection with my investigation of the circumstances of Susie's bicycle crash and who may be liable for causing the small depression in Pine Street which caused her to lose control, crash, and nearly die.  After wards, I stopped in to see Attorney Jon Shapiro and say hello.  Then I stopped by the Mezzo Grille to check out the patio in daylight.  In the sun, the patio looks like a Hollywood movie set, without the feeling of magic created by artificial lighting and all those young people who go there to drink and talk, but not dance, at least not in the patio.

I introduced myself to a young man named Cole, who works at the Mezzo as a bartender and all-around
trouble shooter.  I wanted to know what the Mezzo management thinks of my being the only dancer, mostly, in the patio, and the oldest dancer in the disco.  "Hey, dude, it's great to have somebody with your high energy get up and dance.  You're always welcome at the Mezzo."  "Thanks, Cole," I replied, "I'm a retired trial lawyer, happily married, and I just need to get out and dance after all those years in the repressive lawyer's suit, focusing on how to get my clients justice and my law firm, money."  "Cool, dude," replied Cole.  He then went on to volunteer that all the bartenders, all the bouncers, and all the young people who go to the Mezzo, love my dancing, except for the occasional drunken patron who probably resents the fact that I'm so old but I'm so free, and uninhibited, that I can dance in public in a way that some people just don't have it in their genes or the way their momma's raised 'em to do so.  Cole also said that liquor and beer sales at the Mezzo also increase when I'm there dancing, on the patio or inside the disco.

      That's a lot longer than I originally had planned to make today's Bob's blog entry.  C'est la vie.

      A final piece of advice, from my friend Chuck's former email signature:

                  Dance like  nobody's watching!



  2. Dear Anonymous,
    Thank you very much for reading "Bobs blog" and taking the time to post your interesting Comment.
    In fact, I am not "crying out for help," either psychiatric, financial, or any other sort of "help," but I hear the pain you feel about my unconventional behavior and lifestyle, which I have freely chosen. It would reveal a lot about you, Anonymous, if you explained in greater detail the reasons you feel or think I am "crying out for help." That's a story I'm not telling myself, but you're free to tell whatever stories about me you choose, and I'd love to hear more of them.
    If you read a lot more of my posts in "Bobs blog," you will learn quickly, because I do not keep it a secret, that I went through, and survived, a suicidal depression from September, 2010 until the end of December, 2010. I sought psychiatric and therapeutic help during that period and continued to see a psychiatrist until this past August, 2011, at which time Dr. Jacobs and I agreed there was no more reason for me to be monitored by him. I was on psychotropic medication from early September, 2010 until I weaned myself off all medication as of the beginning of July, 2011, again under Dr. Jacobs' supervision and care.
    I see my psychotherapist, Ray Oakes, a social worker and excellent psychotherapist, once a week and will continue to do so as long as I find it useful in my holding my own "feet to the fire." By that I mean by paying Ray Oakes a weekly fee to talk with him about my life and get his feedback, which I value, I motivate myself to continue to take risks in life which I might not take without that therapeutic relationship and, particularly, without the payment of money to the therapist. I believe it was in "Analysis Terminable and Interminable" that Sigmund Freud observed that psycho-analytic treatment was more likely to benefit the patient if the patient had to pay for it. The more dearly the patient paid, the more motivated he or she would be to get better and terminate the analysis. I agree with that insight.
    I am curious why it is you think a retired lawyer who loves to dance and party, in a free and liberated way, after 35 years of a very successful legal career, needs "help," which I infer in your mind means psychiatric or psychological help. If you carefully read the Comments to various stories I've written on "Bobs blog," with pictures, of my dancing in the clubs or at Giants Stadium in the DJ'ed black parties or at the wedding of my cousin's son in Philly, you'll note that some Commenters agree with you and some don't. The ones who don't agree I should keep on living the life I am moved or called to live, and disregard the naysayers, of which I am sure the supportive Commenters would think of you as. I happen to agree, Anonymous, that you are a naysayer, probably deeply unhappy about something in your own life you can't bring yourself to change, or even acknowledge you deeply wish to change, and instead you project your conflict onto me and also project onto me your fears of doing the hard work of the sort I have done, to change your own life. Obviously, this is speculation mostly, because I know nothing about you except your Comment. But think of this, Anonymous, you THINK you know me, but you know little more about me than I do about you. You know the surface of my life, but not "the dark side of the moon" of Bob Dutcher.
    If you'd like to talk confidentially about your own struggles, I am still a licensed lawyer and would be happy to hear your story at any time. Call me. My cell phone number is easy to find on "Bobs blog" in my Profile or by checking out my public Facebook profile.
    All best wishes, and Happy Thanksgiving,

    Bob Dutcher