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On all nuances

Modifié le : 2019/08/04

Yes­ter­day was the day of all the nuances. A man­u­al work dur­ing the day, at night, a big sym­pho­ny con­cert at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty. Then a few cho­ris­ters gath­ered for a beer. From there, I fol­lowed a cho­ris­ter friend to a dance bar. A first for me.

I went there, let’s say anthro­po­log­i­cal­ly curi­ous. I had more desire to accom­pa­ny this friend than to believe that I could get excit­ed for a nude dancer, how­ev­er hand­some and hard he may be. And I was not mis­tak­en. The Cam­pus offers the promised mer­chan­dise on stage, with­out a drum or trum­pet. The music is not even loud, a pre­sen­ter gib­ber­ish­es the names of the dancers, but we don’t under­stand any­thing. When we arrived, a tall black man, all dressed up in mus­cle, was pin­ing for cus­tomers who were bare­ly inter­est­ed. We sat in the back, as the front rows were occu­pied. The “num­ber” of each done is done in two steps, last­ing three or four min­utes, inter­spersed between the num­bers of the oth­ers. The first time, the dancer arrives dressed, wad­dles to the extent of his tal­ent (which is gen­er­al­ly mediocre). When he returns, he is in his under­wear, his penis clear­ly vis­i­ble. How the erec­tion is obtained, I don’t know. As many dancers are het­ero­sex­u­al (that would have to be checked…), they cer­tain­ly don’t have girl­friends in the back to “start” them. I’m naive, I know that. I already pho­tographed a porn actor (very nice!). As he want­ed explic­it pic­tures, he went to the bath­room to inject him­self with some­thing (“faster than the pills,” he told me, and no need to be excited).

– The goal, my friend told me, is to spot the tables that are free­ing up. The show is bet­ter when you’re closer.

My com­pan­ion, as we will have under­stood, is a reg­u­lar (I now call him B.). He had also served me this warn­ing : “when a dancer, in the room, approach­es you and greets you, it is fash­ion­able to tell him that you are only here to talk with your boyfriend, thank­ing him and telling him that, per­haps, next time… »

I asked B a lot of ques­tions while dancers were try­ing to catch our atten­tion. In twen­ty min­utes, we were sit­ting in the first row. It must be said that we arrived late, and the clien­tele was begin­ning to fade.

– The first row of clients must always applaud at the end of an issue,” instructs me B, who did not avoid any of the ques­tions I asked him.

I would have liked to tell his sto­ry here, but I will respect his privacy.

A dancer did come to offer his ser­vices (there are cab­ins in the back). I kind­ly declined the offer. He stayed a few moments to talk to me. Dur­ing the day, he wrote chil­dren’s sto­ries (!!!), took cours­es in neu­rolin­guis­tic pro­gram­ming, seemed very moti­vat­ed by his projects, had a very soft tone.

At 8 p.m., I was stand­ing with 100 oth­er cho­ris­ters to per­form one of the sig­nif­i­cant works of the 20th cen­tu­ry. Three hours lat­er, I chat­ted with a dancer while anoth­er pre­sent­ed his ani­mal pelvis to a client who, a twen­ty dol­lars in his mouth (a sign of mutu­al accep­tance), plunged his head into the bel­liger­ents’ groin.

B laughed at the show, ordered anoth­er beer. He described to me what was hap­pen­ing in oth­er clubs like this. As he trav­els a lot, he told me that Mon­tre­al remains a safe, almost warm place, com­pared to what is hap­pen­ing in oth­er cities.

It would be easy to glo­ri­fy or bring this real­i­ty down to a very low lev­el. I could­n’t do either. I found these dancers coura­geous to do what they did, espe­cial­ly if they were het­ero­sex­u­al as B claimed. Most of them cer­tain­ly had the “assets” for the exer­cise, and their bod­ies only served as a mir­ror reflect­ing the clients’ fan­tasies. The clien­tele was very var­ied, and the most excit­ed men were not the old­est. Three or four guys, bare­ly in their twen­ties, tourists, no doubt dis­cov­er­ing Mon­tre­al, prob­a­bly also appro­pri­at­ing their sex­u­al­i­ty, were hap­py to play the hun­gry as they real­ly were. These, in fact, were more excit­ing than the ones on stage.

Of course, I felt like an old intel­lec­tu­al mop that did­n’t fit in. I still fixed my beers and talked intense­ly with B while mak­ing com­ments from false con­nois­seurs about the tech­nique of this or that dancer. There’s no doubt about it, youth still is beautiful…

I came home late. I had to take a taxi. I had the dri­ver, a Hait­ian (sur­prise!), talk about send­ing his chil­dren to pri­vate school. Dri­ving a cab is his sec­ond job, which he does main­ly on weekends.

Every exis­tence is a bub­ble. The city is boil­ing. The bub­bles burst and re-form. The shades are diverse. Some­times we lis­ten to the vio­lin, some­times we open our eyes wide with our butts torn apart by half a god, some­times we are moved by a taxi dri­ver who says he wants to go back to his retire­ment in ten years’ time in Haiti, to final­ly be able to do noth­ing more, because the chil­dren will all have become adults.

What I expe­ri­enced on that one evening could be rethought, rewrit­ten, dilut­ed in doc­u­men­tary poet­ry. It nour­ish­es my imag­i­na­tion, makes me love the human race as much as ever. If love leads the world, and if it has done so for thou­sands of years, the sub­ject remains as inex­haustible as ever. We are play­ing an end­less, reg­u­lat­ed act with cod­i­fied vio­lence. Else­where, the laws are more bru­tal. I can’t stop my head from spin­ning in all direc­tions the show that was offered to me.

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