We were situated right at the centre of the dance floor, in between the 'cubes'. The cubes seemed like the kind of place go-go dancers would normally be on, but it was the club's patrons who were doing the job instead. It was the place to show off your moves, to be seen and to live your moment in the spotlight. Anyone could go up and dance for a bit, but if you overstayed your welcome, the pesky bouncers were always there to tap your shoes as a warning that your time is up. I saw one girl dancing on one of the cubes by herself, no one was allowed to join her while she danced. She was incredible. Her body moved energetically and sensually, all with a huge smile on her face. Sahar told me she was a professional dancer, and a regular at Acid.
At some point, we decided to go out for a cigarette break. The outside area was crowded with people smoking, chatting, and flirting. As I sat and observed everyone around me, I started to get the feeling of this new universe that I had stepped into. I could not unsee what was in front of me, and I felt grateful for it. I was dying to strike up a conversation with some of the boys who were around me, but I had to keep my cover up (lol). A few meters away, a drag queen was berating her friend who must've said something that upset her. I squirmed in my place. I had never been so close to a drag queen. Their outlandish mannerism made me uncomfortable. She was loud, but really funny at the same time. I didn't know what to make of it.
A few moments later, around 1am, I could hear the music change. A guy standing nearby turned to his friends and said: "Ballash el 3arabe" ("The Arabic music just started"). In that instance, a mass migration occurred from outdoors to indoors, and vice versa. We followed suit a few moments later. In a matter of minutes, the energy on the dancefloor had transformed into a belly dancing frenzy. Hips were gyrating to the sound of Nancy Ajram. The drag queens came out to lip sync.
Usually, when dancing to Arabic music, there's the 'boy dance' and the 'girl dance'. The boy dance would consist of spreading both arms away from the body, with the index finger pointing out, followed by moving the arms back and forth, side to side in a static way. On the other hand, the girl dance was more energetic, and involved moving the hips, shoulders, legs, and even face. When I was much younger, I only knew one type of dance, the girl dance. My family members would applaud me as I danced at birthdays and special occasions. As I got older, it was 'brought to my attention' that it was not appropriate for me to do the girl dance anymore, and I had to learn to do what boys do. At that moment in Acid, with Nancy Ajram's voice blowing from every corner, all the boys were doing the girl dance. Without hesitation, I joined in.
We danced until 5am. The longest I had ever been out. As we drove back home, I asked Sahar: "What should I tell my parents?". I made her give me names of straight clubs that I could claim I went to instead.
I felt filthy, but I loved the filth that was on me. I went up to my parent's apartment and snuck into my room. Thankfully, they were both asleep. I sneaked into the shower to wash away traces of the crime that I had just committed. I could actually see dirty water being washed off my body. It was probably the colour of the shame and confusion that was going down the drain.