Where Everybody Knows Your Name

     Husband and I have been ballroom dancing for about seven years now. We took three years’ worth of hardcore lessons at a studio, did a couple of amateur competitions, and now we teach a beginner’s class at a neighborhood association. We’re not Dancing with the Stars here, but we very much enjoy it and it’s something we learned to do together.

     Most dance studios feature a party night where for a small admission fee, you can come and dance for a few hours with their students and instructors. They normally play all the music for all the major dances the studio teaches which means you’ll get a swing followed by a paso doble followed by a polka and then a tango. Great, if you like polka and paso. We haven’t been part of a studio for a while but we do go out dancing as much as we can.

     After having checked out most of the clubs in town, we have settled on Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium as our dancing home, for the most part. People from Louisville will know Jim Porter’s because it’s been there on the corner of Lexington Road and Grinstead Drive since God was a child. Growing up, I thought it looked like a sketchy version of a grown-up Chuck E. Cheese because it’s all wooden on the outside with no obvious windows. Turns out, I wasn’t far off in my guess.

     Jim Porter’s is one of those bars that has a bunch of rooms – there’s the Melody Bar where they have karaoke and then some other room that I’ve only been in once, and I think there are pool tables upstairs. We spend our time in the ballroom where they have a nice big dance floor and the live music is always good. The entire place looks like a cross between a wild west saloon and that scene in Alice in Wonderland where she falls down the rabbit hole and all the random stuff is floating by. 

     The live music in the ballroom is not actual ballroom music. They all play pretty much what you might hear at a standard wedding reception – everybody has a version of Mustang Sally and Brown Eyed Girl.   Husband and I are the youngest people there any weekend we go. Once we went and the featured band in the ballroom that night played a lot of stuff from the 90s, so Husband and I ended up being the only ones dancing. After one song we were leaving the floor and the lead singer goes, “Thanks, kids.”

     We go to Jim Porter’s primarily for the dancing, but we love the People Watching, too. Jim Porter’s caters to an older, more divorced crowd than Husband and I fall into, and we end up doing field research for our own sociological study every time we visit.

     We’re The Kids at Jim Porter’s. And we have names for them, too. 

     Well-Dressed Lady, named because she is probably in her late fifties and rocks some short platinum hair and very stylish clothes.  Also, she is a pretty good dancer.

     Navajo Joe who always looks exactly the same, khaki pants, navy blazer, and a headband holding his long Native American hair back. He doesn’t dance, he just sits at a table with some friends.

      Slimy Guy, also known as the Sultan of Sleaze, who dances the same way with every woman to every song and his signature moves include the Leg Hump whereby he manipulates his lady partner into drawing her pelvis repeatedly up and down his leg. This was more gag-inducing when he was sporting his molestasche. I danced with him once and it mostly consisted of me fighting to stay away from his Danger Zone.

     Poodle Lady – you can probably figure this out, but she has fluffy curly white hair, and seriously amazing skin for someone of her apparent age.

      Acrylica, friend of Well-Dressed Lady, who is stylishly dressed but usually wears these acrylic platform shoes that do not allow her to dance so much as shake her fanny a lot.

     Woman On Top – Only spotted a few times at JP’s, dancing alone. Arms to her sides, the “dancing” happens all below the belt, and she wears a continual expression of aggression. 

     Lady Mullet (pronounced Lady moo-lay) appears in different iterations, but always sporting her perfectly sprayed lady mullet.

    Aunt Sally is a woman so named for her close resemblance to Husband’s actual Aunt Sally.

     The Little Asian People – So named due to their diminutive size and apparent ethnic background. They attempt all these lifts and spins, looking completely bored, and are dancing to the music nobody else can hear. Curiously, they do not drink anything – even water – and their table is always littered with hard plastic wrapped candies. We are curious to know who their instructor is.

     All these people come to Jim Porter’s to have a good time, to see their friends, and relax. Except, I think, the Asian People who look really bored and grumpy the whole time they are dancing. Every once in a while, someone will ask me to dance. This one guy kept referring to it like I was a very nice used car. He asked Scot if he could take me out for a test drive, to see how I handle. I think he made a reference to a Mustang at some point. It was funny, if a little old-fashioned.


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