I can turn down the best of parties, but I always think twice when asked out with the boys who love boys. One of the last times I danced from Saturday night until time to go to work on Monday morning was at a gay club in Atlanta, years ago.
So when Mister Stevens asked me and The Bubba to join him and his friends for boys' night at a historic place called The Victory Grill while we were in Austin, I said yes. I figured I'd at least get an earful of cheeky comments and that maybe there'd be good house music and I'd get in the mood to dance.
What I got was even better: good running commentary, some cutting of the rug, and the coup de grace -- the chance to preside over a competition between troupes of young, muscle-y, sweaty boys who lacked much in the way of either inhibition or clothing. Mercy mercy me.
Check out those tight little asses. Er, I mean, isn't yellow a nice color?
Turns out the night in question was host to a J-Setting contest. If you've never experienced this phenom, you simply must get yourself down South (I hear that's where it mostly takes place) and check it out. (If you do it before Madonna gets wind of it, you can beat her and claim you started it.)
A little history: Black colleges have drill teams that consist of sassy colored girls who come out with the band and show-out during half-time (or whenever duty calls) by dancing and strutting their stuff. The pre-eminent troupe is out of Mississippi, Jackson State University's Prancing J-Settes. They were the first, and they're widely accepted as the best. (Here's a clip of them in action and some background info.) Black gay men have taken the drill/dance squad from the football field to the dance club. They form groups and compete against each other in a series of dance moves they call "J-Setting," after the creme de la creme, the Jackson State team.
Now, don't get the impression that I knew about any of this before my night at the Victory Grill. I didn't, having only been to one Black college football game some donkey years ago and not having found it particularly appealing because no one actually watches the game but instead everyone mostly watches everyone else. Anyhow, you learn something new every day if you're lucky. And if you're really lucky that something new involves young supple nubile males dancing so close to you that you can reach out and pinch their sweet perky bottoms. And if you're blessed with the mother of all luck you're asked to serve as one of the judges of their dance contest.
I take my work very seriously.
I guess J-Setting became part of the gay community because the brothers couldn't let the sisters have all the fun and, seeing as the choreographer who helped bring the Prancing J-Settes to prominence, the late Hollis Pippins, was himself a member of the boys' club (this according to my mother-in-law, who would know, because she used to live in Jackson where word is said to really get around), it seems they have a right. Over the last five years or so, J-Setting has become the new vogueing among the Black gay male and flexible set.
Having said all this, the truth of the matter is, I don't care where it came from as long as the boys keep doing it.
I clearly want the boys in blue and yellow to c'mon to my house so I can give them candy, but the opposing team, seen in the top photo wearing black pants, white tank tops, and white Sateen gloves (which The Bubba liked so much that he nicknamed them Black Elegance), won the contest. I didn't vote for them, though I now agree they should have won as they did give a great performance -- okay, the guy below kissed me after Mister Stevens pointed me out as one of the judges and now I wish I had voted for them. But my vote went straight to those hotpants. Oh yes. You cannot have a body like these young 'uns, sheath it in sunshine nuthuggers, and not expect me to vote for you. And dancewise, my boys weren't too shabby either.
Because I'm now officially obsessed with all things J-Setting (and almost no things concerning my bread and butter, the study and teaching of grammar), me and Mister Stevens (see, I told you) would like to gift you with this footage. All but the guy in pink were members of the winning team, forever known as Black Elegance.