By Shelby Cain
I was a victim of ageism. At least, I thought I was. Let me explain. My girlfriend recently turned thirty-something, and on a night when everyone could break free from their ample domestic responsibilities, we got together for a drink. Between the eight of us, there are a lot of offspring, so getting out for a night with the girls is very rare. We were going to make the most of it. Everyone looked great. Make-up was applied. Hair was shiny. Giddy from the high of freedom, one drink turned into a couple. There were shots. Eventually we exited the building, gulping in the fresh air and preparing to return home for night feedings and laundry folding. That is, until the birthday girl made an announcement. “I want to go dancing!” Dancing. The word felt foreign as I kicked it around in my brain. We could go dancing. Yes. Emboldened by our new mission, we strode down the street, perfume and confidence lingering in our wake.
As we entered the bar, heads turned to see what all the commotion was. It was eerily quiet. We made a request to the bartender. Play us a song. We want to dance. She plugged her phone into a speaker. The eight of us huddled up and shuffled around a bit. This just wouldn’t do. Eventually we admitted defeat and moved on, feeling a little like we had somehow transported to that town in Footloose, where dancing is outlawed.
We had to give it one more shot. When we arrived at our next destination, we paused to look at each other, knowing that if this final attempt failed, it would be over. The door swung open and we were met with a thumping bass and an empty dance floor. Yes. Smiles broke out as we placed coats and purses on a chair, just like the old days. As we were arranging the chair in a good line of sight, the top-40 song that was playing faded out and a 90s classic began booming though the speaker. I love 90s music. And yes, it brought me right back to the summer of Grade 11. But why did the DJ switch the music as soon as we walked in? Did he think we were too old to listen to new music? Just because we were a pack of moms in our thirties, did we have to be stereotyped as only liking music from our youth? As 90s song after 90s song was played, I decided I was going to confront this little DJ, who looked like he was up past his bedtime, and let him know that just because we were a little older than his average customer doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy new music. So I did. Turns out it was 90s night.