Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Year, New Life

Around the first week of January I had had enough of my illness, sadness and overthinking. My 32nd birthday was days away and I refused to start a new year of life in such an inauspicious manner. I called, emailed, texted everyone I knew and arranged a party for myself. I went with the usual casual dinner/drinks at a cheap and cheerful pub to ease people into the night. But I tacked on an invitation to go salsa dancing at the end.

People knew I'd been to Cuba, they'd seen the facebook photos, they knew I'd had a great time, they knew about 'the fling'. But still the salsa dancing threw them for a loop. I've always been a bit of a malcontent and surround myself with like-minded folks. We pride ourselves on our uniqueness and individuality but one look at us, with our heavy bangs and skinny jeans, and you can pinpont what we're into - indie rock with a touch of conscious hip-hop, dive bars. themed dance nights, subtitled film, art openings, local cuisine, charity events. To cut straight to it, we're hipsters.

Don't get me wrong, the 'creative class' loves to dance. We flock to Yacht Rock nights dressed like sailors and Fake Prom events looking like the cast of an 80s flick, we get excited about experimental DJs who over one night play a song from every year from the 50s through to the present in chronological order, we still go crazy for Brit pop and rock out to hair metal and sometimes even switch it up with a little top-40 irony. Occasionally we stretch our cultural boundaries to include tropical beats...if and only if it's underground or rare vinyl from the past. But there's on thing we never do and that's dance salsa.

I don't know if it's the earnest 'get fit, have fun, make friends' vibe of the salsa community, the fact that there are rules governing your steps, too many white pants and sparkly dresses or just generally too happy of a scene but it's an unspoken understanding amongst hipsters that the word salsa does not come into play when talking about entertainment options.

This is not an ironic t-shirt 
But here I was, the all-powerful birthday girl, going against the code of my people and attempting to drag 15-20 of my skinniest-jeaned friends out to a salsa club. I knew it was a bold move but I was excited. Had I discovered the newest ironic pasttime? Would I be singlehandely responsible for the creation of a salsipster sub-culture?!!

My grandiose hopes proved false. It didn't work. People were happy to hear funny stories about a great vacation but that was the limit. After the pre-drinks at a trendy Queen West bar one by one my friends excused themselves until it was just me and my Cuba-trip colleague heading out to salsa the night away. Following close behind us was also a realization, it was a stranger then but would eventually become full-time company 'You CAN have an experience that will alter your path and dramatically change your life...but your friends won't change with you. Some of these gains will result in losses. Change is good but change is lonely. '

Quite surprisingly, this is not an ironic shirt either!

6 comments:

  1. I totally relate to this! I too went the salsa route with my friends. Luckily for them not too much salsa in the hamilton area :) I also played the resort CD over & over aqain much to the dismay of anyone who had to drive with me in my car for the next year and a half (when I got my 2nd resort CD).

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    1. Ha, I have also had people threaten to destroy my resort cds. Why don't they understand?!!! Admittedly the fling with salsa ended pretty quick but my love for reggaeton grows daily. It is equally misunderstood by my non-Cubanified friends.

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  2. Coming back to read this for the 3rd of 4th time, because I love it so much! I can relate to everything mentioned!

    ...and the sequined shirt! It never fails to make me laugh!

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    1. One look at your bangs and polka-dot dresses and I knew you'd be feeling this one. Sequined shirts for everyone I say, the more sequins the better!!!

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  3. I too love everything Cuban: their music, their culture, their dance, their language ... everything!! Thank you for sharing your storing. Does everyone feel like this after returning from Cuba? Jajaja

    http://soundcloud.com/sidharder/harder-casa-de-la-musica

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    1. I think it is pretty normal to come home feeling this way. It casts a spell in the beginning. I still feel affection for Cuba, seeing as it is where my husband is from and our children will be half-Cuban, but I no longer love it. There's too much injustice and stress and sadness hidden under all that 'carefree fun'. I now feel more 'cognitive dissonance' than 'love' towards Cuba.

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