Another popular, although less common, option for the evening activity is a dance offered by one of the Harbor View clubs. Usually around the holidays, such as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, many of the clubs will sponsor an evening of dinner and dancing in the ballroom of the clubhouse. Mom and Dad enjoy these dances not only because they get to socialize with their friends, but also because it gives them an opportunity to dress up – something they don’t get a chance to do often in casual Florida.
From what Mom tells me about these dances, though, it sounds as if the residents attending them haven’t matured much since junior high school. Not that the men stand on one side of the room and the women on the other; rather, the juvenile mentality has to do with saving seats. Mom says that in the first few years after the ‘Young in Spirit’ club was formed, everyone would save seats for their friends at the dining tables. As new people joined, however, many of them complained that there were too many cliques in the club. This led to a new ‘no saving seats’ club rule. The leaders said it would encourage people to get to know the new members.
One of the incidents that may have led to this new rule was at the Valentine’s Day dance one season. Mom and Dad were sitting with Flo, Irv, Susan, and Stan. Susan was saving the remaining two seats at their table for Hymie and Minnie. Apparently another couple came over and sat down in the vacant seats, and Susan asked them to move. Susan tried to get her way as she does returning food at restaurants, but the man wouldn’t budge. He said he wanted to sit at this particular table, and she wasn’t going to stop him. They got into a yelling match, which ended with the man mouthing off a few obscenities.
At that point, Mom said she herself wanted to move, not desiring to sit with a man with a ‘filthy mouth’ as she put it. But by then the man’s wife was already chatting with the others at the table, and Susan just gave in and told them to stay there if they wanted. By the end of the evening, the man apologized to Susan for his language and even asked her for a dance. Mom couldn’t believe that Susan actually danced with him after the way they were arguing. But Mom said that’s the way it is with the old people in Florida. She said they behave like children sometimes – fighting with each other one minute and acting like best friends the next. In spite of this junior high mentality, Mom says the dances are usually a pleasant way to spend a holiday evening.