Time Travellers from the 1960's : Ted and Louise : Ch.4 : Night Club (Part 1)
Chapter 4 : Night Club
Belinda led them to a well lit alleyway, to which other pleasure seekers were also moving. Young women showing the flesh of their legs and their shoulders jostled and laughed in the cool of the evening, while the less gaily attired men followed or accompanied them in straight looking monocolored shirts and tidy evening trousers. For the men it was as if they were caught in an early sixties timewarp and the sixties and seventies had never even happened, but the women impressed Ted very much. He licked his lips in anticipation. The impact of seeing the great number of these ladies dressed in this way was better than anything the TV had prepared him for. All his pleasant TV impressions of modern women seemed confirmed. Many of his expectations of what the end of the century women would look and dress like seemed to be exceeded. Soon the press of people became too great and they were forced to slow their pace, and then to stop behind others who went before.
"We will have to queue," announced Belinda. "We will have to wait for a while as people pay to go in the entrance."
“That hasn’t changed, I see,” commented Louise.
"We should have been a bit earlier perhaps," suggested Belinda, apologetically. "The queues build up quickly at this time. A few minutes can make a big difference. It could take quite a long time before we get in, but you can't always be sure."
"This will give us a chance to observe real modern life," said Ted, turning this small misfortune into a benefit. If this was what the people of the future had to put up with in order to enjoy the pleasures of the club, then he was very willing to experience it. “There were plenty of queues in our day too.”
They talked inconsequentially for the next few minutes as the wait became longer. Soon they began to feel frustrated. "Why are we not proceeding in?" Louise asked. She could see the small doors of the entrance, not so far away, but none of them seemed to be moving any closer towards it.
"We should be moving by now," said Belinda.
Ted sensed and shared their gathering frustration, although it was interesting to see the other people in the queue and to hear some of their conversations. They were not really having what he would have called conversations. They were more often hushed words between people who did not wish to be heard by the people around them. However some people, particularly some young women down the line were talking quite loudly, in short phrases of crude humour, punctuated by laughter. He sensed that they were ridiculing some young men who were with them or next to them in the queue. The men were responding in similar fashion. Their banter was familiar and yet strangely unfamiliar. Much of these young people's communication was unspoken, but what Ted did understand seemed childish and frivolous. Most people just waited quietly until they would reach the doorway and be allowed in. The queue did indeed move gradually forwards, although there were times when it stayed in one place for some time.
Once or twice some young people, men and women, came alongside the queue, further ahead, and blended into it. Two young women flitted up the queue from somewhere well behind, pretending to merge with the queue for a while before deciding to move further up. Up ahead they engaged with some people before them in order to merge illicitly with the queue. They were beautiful to Ted’s eyes, and obviously the young men who were nearby recognised their attractiveness also, because they would not intervene. If the women had been less enjoyable in appearance Ted wondered whether they would have then resisted. The males whom they attached themselves to were quite happy, it seemed, to let them come in, charmed by their appearance, and possibly, afraid to question. There were jokes made by the women. They carried their selfish crime off perfectly. The young men joked back, but there was no serious suggestion that the women should get to the back of the queue. This kind of unfair behaviour would have been unlikely back in their time. Most people were better behaved than that.
"Why don't the people in the queue tell those people to wait their turn and go to the back?" Louise asked.
"I wish they would," agreed Belinda.
"The bouncers don't seem to be doing a very good job," commented Ted, impatiently. "If that happened right next to us I would have definitely said something. Look they aren't even bothered what's happening up the queue. That's bad bouncing in my judgement."
"Don't do anything Ted. We're new here. Let’s just observe," suggested Louise. She sensed Ted’s anger and knew well his tendency to be outspoken when he saw injustice. Sometimes she might stand up with him, but this was their future. They should learn about the people and practices of this time before attempting to right wrongs.
"I would speak out if someone pushed in here," said Ted, "Of course I would. If no one tells these youngsters they can't do it then they will all start to do it. Somebody's got to do something.”
“We'd better not get involved,” advised Belinda. “It's not our problem. We can’t do anything about it. Leave it to the security men. We'll be in soon. I hope," she added.
"But why don't the people near them prevent them?" Ted asked, still not understanding why it was that no one in the rest of the queue was saying or doing anything. In the sixties and the seventies the crowd would never have let anything of this sort happen. I do not think that it would ever enter our heads to 'push in' before people who had been waiting for longer than ourselves.
“Come on Ted,” whispered Louise. “We’re newcomers here remember.” He calmed himself down with a shrug. He was here to observe. If this was common practice at the end of the twentieth century why should he get upset. Still he couldn’t see any rational reason why this behaviour should be tolerated.
Soon they were in the club. The bad behaviour of some of the young, witnessed in the queue, faded in their minds once inside. Sensible and polite attendants took their money and jackets as they went in.
Inside all the people seemed to gain in stature and bearing as the music assailed Ted’s ears. He was a little prepared for this by his observation of TV channels, and had already come to appreciate much of the modern forms of music. The rock music was if anything louder and more heavy than most of what he was used to, although much of it was copied from sounds he knew well, The Beach boys, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Psychedelic and heavy sounds. There was plenty of soul and new funky sounds which were becoming more popular by 1973.
Ted was pleased that he could no longer hear some of the people in the queue talking now, because some of the young men and women had seemed quite childish to him. Relieved of having to listen to what passed as conversation, he was free to think of them all as serene and beautiful adults, as they relaxed and played in the opulent surroundings. He felt a great sense of excitement.
Ted was fascinated by the dancing. As the people were still arriving in the club, some of them began to dance, mainly the women to begin with. It seemed that they wished to show off their beauty to the men, and beautiful they were too. He watched and observed, charmed by their beauty and by the way they moved. This was freer, more open than the partner dancing of earlier times, with the exception of rock’n’roll, which in Ted’s perception was the ultimate form of music anyway, and therefore of dance. In their day dancing had moved from formal and informal partnership styles to new and far less precise individualistic dancing, as befitted the changing times. It seemed the trend had continued. Most of the dancers seemed to be alone, or in small clusters of friends, often of women or of men, sometimes mixed. He noted there was a lack of closeness in these groups. There was a social bond between the dancers, but it was not tight enough, in the mixed groups, for the men to touch the women, which judging by their eyes, they clearly wanted to. There were some couples who had come to the club together and were keen for familiar contact. Ted imagined, as in any dance of his time, as the night wore on new links would emerge between the revellers, contacts would be made, the barriers would come down and people would mix.
The music in the club was strange, for sure, nothing like what they had been used to in the sixties and seventies, and not the progressed and altered rock and blues styles Ted had been hearing on the television and radio in this future. This was ‘dance music’, according to Belinda, who seemed to love it and disappeared off onto the dancefloor quite quickly after they arrived, although she did return soon enough to make sure they were alright. This was trance like music, not envisioned by the predictors of style and culture of their time. There was an emphasis on rhythm, but sadly to the detriment of melody. Nonetheless it was powerful stuff. Louise felt moved by excitement.
Louise had watched Belinda dancing. She moved confidently and looked good. As she danced on her own more than one man moved into Belinda’s orbit and eyed her. Louise had no doubt of their interest. She waited to see how Belinda would respond, expecting the young modern woman would appreciate the flattery. One of the men who betrayed some interest was a real hunk in Louise’s eyes. Louise knew she would certainly have danced with the man if she was out there. To her surprise Belinda passed up the opportunity, smiling at first, enticing a show of interest, and then ignoring him. The man retired from her rather quickly after that. Other men looked but none dared to make any move without some encouragement from the smart young woman.
“Tell me, what was wrong with that hunky guy out there?” Louise quizzed Belinda excitedly. “Didn’t you think he was truly gorgeous, to look at, at the least,” she added. “Why didn’t you dance with him?”
“Oh that guy who tried to come on to me?” said Belinda, “Well I have a boyfriend anyway so I’m not really looking. He was cute to look at I suppose, but he was too forward. Perhaps if he made some small talk at the bar and offered to buy me a drink I might have danced with him, or maybe later in the evening , if the mood takes me. But it’s a bit early to get involved with anyone. He was too forward anyway. Those types are no good, even if they do look good. Hey Louise if you fancy him that much yourself why don’t you just get yourself out there on the dancefloor yourself.”
“I just might do that when I’m ready. I hope he’s still out there when I do, and I hope he finds me as attractive as he evidently found you,” said Louise. Belinda was obviously closely tied to her boyfriend, and she did not appear to be out here for adventure. Being appreciated on the dancefloor was the reason for her evening out in the club, and Louise could understand that.
“I am sure the men in here will be perfectly attracted to you,” said Belinda. “Most of them will go for anything in a skirt. But you are an attractive woman. You’ll get plenty of attention if that’s what you want. Although you’ve got Ted. I can’t see why you’d want to get involved with anyone else. He’s a good looking guy and a nice guy too. I suppose it’s nice to have a dance with some other guys too. I will later myself.”
“Oh Ted and I like to go our own ways sometimes, especially in a night club. It’s more fun that way.” Louise wasn’t quite sure Belinda appreciated what she was implying, but as Belinda did not seem to practice swinging she realized it was probably better not to spell it out. Of course it was their first night out since their arrival from the past so perhaps they should take more care to appreciate current culture and practices before they had any such adventures. It occurred to Louise that she didn’t yet understand the new sexual and social practices of this time. Maybe they had not advanced much from her own times. Certainly Belinda’s attitude seemed to suggest as much.
Ted was very excited by the appearance of the women he saw around him. Louise soon spotted the signs that his blood was running hot. He couldn’t take his eyes off some of the beauties around, and she noted that he was not concentrating on his brief conversations with her. She did not mind this because she was excited too by some of the men around. She knew she would be on the dancefloor soon. The music was pulsating and trancelike, certainly very sexual.
Louise went over to Belinda on the dancefloor. She was ready to dance and excitement pulsed through her body. She had seen how the modern people danced and saw it as no obstacle. She could do it too. She had always loved dancing. The night club was after all an excellent place where people could meet one another and make friends. She looked forward to doing so herself.
She launched herself with enthusiasm into the dance, weaving and jumping expressively in time with the insistent rhythms of the music. Belinda laughed and smiled expressively at her, and put renewed vigour into her own dancing, glad to have a fellow woman to share the floor with. Louise could see it was important to her to be seen, to have the males look at her, but Belinda was not here to actually find another sexual partner. She already had one of those. The separation of decades, which Louise had sensed at first with Belinda, who was after all the salaried servant of a commercial enterprise, was blurring as Louise became more familiar with modern times and appreciated that this was basically the same world as the one she knew. The gesture Belinda had made of offering to take them out made Louise feel more at home than the uniforms and the stuffy commercialism she had been sensing initially. Perhaps these modern people were more in tune with her ideals when off duty than their work organisations allowed them to be.
Ted had a few half hearted attempts on ladies present. He found they were not all charming and polite, some were and some were not. He danced in front of one woman who was dancing nearby. She was blonde haired and quite young looking, dancing with other friends nearby. She looked very hot to him, and he thought he discerned her awareness of his glances, which seemed like a sign of her interest in him. Ted was used to having interest from girls of this type in his past. They usually found him quite hunky because he was tall and strong looking. They liked his slightly rough hewn appearance, his casual curls.
Ted danced near the blonde for a while, to make sure she was aware of him. He looked at her from time to time, hoping that she would turn directly and dance with him. She did not respond, refusing to look directly at him. Ted decided he would have to say something to introduce himself to get noticed by this girl. He leaned towards her and said, near her ear, that she was a good dancer. He remembered to smile at the same time. She heard what he said, and smiled back. Ted was elated. He might just be able to get somewhere with this girl after all. She turned towards him and allowed him to dance near to her. He kept smiling, and after a short period reached for her arms, pulling her closer. She seemed to like this, must have been expecting it. Perhaps this dancer was genuinely looking for the kind of adventure Ted wished to give her. In being on the dancefloor the ladies were inviting men to dance with them. Ted gazed into her beautiful eyes again, and smiled again. He pulled her closer for what he had seen some others doing to this slower record, the ‘smooch’. She pulled away vigorously, but still smiling at him, coolly dancing at more than arms length. Ted felt confused, was this rejection? What was the next step? He could only wait and hope that she would return a better signal later. After all there were many woman who had given him the wrong signals in his past, and who had ended up in his arms at a later stage. It did not usually put him off if he still thought he was in with a chance. This woman was still smiling at him, although she was certainly keeping her distance. He smiled back, apologetically.
He glanced around the dancefloor briefly, looking inadvertently to see if Louise was nearby. Turning his head back to the blonde woman he saw that in that instant she had moved further away, towards a group of smart looking men. She was ignoring him now. Their dance was obviously very much at an end. Ted assumed that he must have gone too soon or too abruptly for the ‘smooch’, and yet he had thought there was some chemistry there. As in the sixties and seventies most women were schooled to respond to certain ‘correct’ approaches, which if not done correctly at every stage, the man fails. Or perhaps she just did not fancy him enough; there were plenty of other attractive males in the Night Club for her to be choosy.