23 September 2007


Last night I went to a party with undergraduates, in a absolutely dilapidated house in Little Italy. Not everyone at the party was an undergraduate—I had been taken to the party by my wonderful graduate student neighbor. But here's what the party looked like: foosball in the kitchen. Good beer, vodka, and clam dip. A very cute eighteen-year-old knocked on the bathroom door, realized it was occupied, and so went outside to vomit in the trash can. When he returned, smiling, I had to point out that he had a little schmutz on his tee shirt.

Meanwhile, in the living room, everyone was sitting on futons and watching a cable channel that I was heretofore unfamiliar with: Nick GaS. More specifically, they were watching seven-year-old reruns of Family Double Dare. You could tell the reruns were that old principally because of the prizes offered (a huge DVD player! A Nintendo 64!), and secondarily by the moms' hairstyles (the "Princess Di 1988"!). No one, to my knowledge, was stoned—they were just really enjoying watching small children climb through vats of ice cream. I will admit: their enthusiasm was contagious.

My wonderful neighbor and I stayed a little less than two hours. While I had been getting sucked into a succession of slime-based "physical challenges," the drunk teenagers in the kitchen were getting increasing rowdy, leading to a pile of gropey making-out on the kitchen floor. At this point, my neighbor fetched me from the living room and told me in no uncertain terms, "we're leaving." As we walked away from the dilapidated house, she furrowed her brow and said, "I think if they were all models and had been doing lines off the kitchen counters, that might have been acceptable behavior. But they weren't."

However, for the purposes of this blog, I did learn one piece of crucial Cleveland-related information: one of the sloppy drunk girls made me aware of the existence of the Cleveland Shuffle:

I honestly did not know that there were hip-hop line dances. Two of the sloppy drunk girls demonstrated the entire routine for me. I'm reminded of when I learned, during my very brief contact with the world of gay country-and-western bars, that there are particular line dance routines, which to the untrained eye are completely indistinguishable from any other country-and-western line dance, but which are only performed in gay country-and-western bars. Who knew? But back to Cleveland: I enjoy the knees-up-mother-brown quarter-turn, but most of all the there's-no-place-like-home heel-clicking. What could it all mean?!