Experience: I went to the same nightclub for 1,000 nights | life and style

OWhen I was seven years old, there was something on TV about a gay politician. My mother, with a lot of vitriol, said, “That’s disgusting.” I thought I better not tell her my views on the matter because she might reject me. I was too scared.

I knew I was gay then, but I didn’t come out until I was 30. Even though I kept my sexuality a secret, the music meant a lot to me: it had an allure that I felt some men had too – but in both cases I couldn’t quite express it.

I made a New Year’s resolution in early 1992 to come out to my mother that year. But I didn’t have the courage to do it until New Year’s Eve just before 1993. It was a very exciting time in my life – making new friends, going to gay clubs.

Then in 2002, I fell into a deep depression. I had worked hard all my life and tried to make smart investments, but the company I had invested in went bankrupt. Overnight, I went from well off to relatively penniless.

After about four years, in a state of misery and spending a lot of time alone, I started helping elderly people with their technological problems for a little pocket money. It was nicer than I had imagined. It unlocked something in me. I remember thinking, I always want to get something out of life.

After an afternoon spent helping someone with their computer, I decided to go to Soho in London. This is how I discovered the GAY nightclub. It was fantastic. I was very shy at the time, so I waited until there were a lot of people on the dance floor and then worriedly started dancing too. It was an incredible feeling. So I went back the next day and danced again. Then the day after.

I kept a diary and realized I had been to GAY 31 nights in a row. The club is open every day, so I thought, why not see how long I could keep doing this? I thought 100 nights would be quite an achievement.

My dance style is unique. My favorite move is spinning in place, like a pirouette. It’s a nice feeling. They used to call me Wonder Woman because I toured so much.

I like dancing to Abba, Kylie Minogue and Madonna. A really good song gives me an adrenaline rush and I can feel the endorphins kicking in. I only drink tap water – I get high from the music and the dancing alone.

I’m happy now to be the only person on the dance floor. Underneath, I’m still quite a shy and reserved person, but when I dance, I become a character. He’s an alter ego and I put everything into it.

I spent 200 nights at the club – I even went there on my mother’s birthday. Happened to 300 nights, 400, 500. The only time I didn’t go was Christmas Day when GAY is closed. Then on what would have been my 998th night the club closed due to Covid. I was devastated. I tried to dance at home, but it meant nothing without the others; the connection to others is what gave it meaning. So I found the first days of confinement quite difficult.

GAY reopened on July 4, 2020, with table service. I went and tried to dance but was reprimanded by security. I still consider it my 999th possible consecutive dance to GAY, but I desperately wanted more.

Last month the clubs finally reopened and I was able to attend my 1000th night at GAY. As I approached the entrance, the security guard gave me a beaming smile and then one of the managers almost gave me a hug. As soon as I walked in, I was back in the swing – jumping and spinning like nothing had changed.

I realized that if there’s something you want to do, it’s very important to not just think about it or talk about it, but go out there and do it. Otherwise, you might be thinking about what you’ve loved for years, without actually trying it.

I still tend to go out six nights out of seven now – dancing is something I will never give up. He transformed my life. I want to encourage people who are too shy or scared or scared to consider spinning on the dance floor. You never know, you might like it.

As said to Amelia Ellis

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Jerry C. Greiner