This Is Your Grandmother's Dance Party

The Atlantic
This Is Your Grandmother's Dance Party
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This Is Your Grandmother's Dance Party

On the lighter side of news today is a lovely, life-affirming story in The Wall Street Journal by E.S. Browning about how retirees are partying it up in Florida. Though they're decades older, they're partying way harder than this writer would ever have the energy for. They're partying like, well, this writer's own parents, who stay up later and exercise more and always seem to be having more fun than she is, even though they're, yes, Florida retirees. Say what you will of Florida. If there is a fountain of youth, it is somewhere in that state.

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Nobody does lifestyles of the older and awesome like the Journal, and this piece does not disappoint. Did you hear how people in their 60s are still getting carded? Recall the paper's recent item about how retirees are living large, living in awesome pads that are better than hotels, having fresh sushi made on site and doing Zumba all day, if they feel like it? Well, they're doing that, and in Florida, they're dancing the nights away, too. "It is Friday night at Sneaky Pete's restaurant and bar in Bonita Springs, Fla., and the dance floor is jammed," writes Browning. "A band called The Hype is blasting 'Mustang Sally' and 'Louie Louie,' and the dancers are singing along, hands in the air, booties shaking, bodies sweating."

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These dance parties, they are mobbed, and those rocking out are in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and even beyond. One of them, Beryl Mento, who's 66, tells Browning that she has a dancing nickname, "Skyy." All her friends had cute nicknames, she says, so she picked one for herself, presumably doubling the adorable with that extra y. Nicknames and sustained dance floor sessions aren't the only return to fanciful teen-esque behaviors for the hip old crowd. The new Florida retiree rocks out with friends when her husband gets tired. She might "show up in slinky black dresses, sequins and plunging necklines"; he might wear a T-shirt or a Hawaiian shirt, and possibly a "hair hat" or visor his hair sticks out of the top of, because maybe his hair is thinning but his spirits aren't. They flirt and mingle and specialize in bop. Tired of feeling old, they don't. Everybody's dancing.

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It's any great party on a Friday night—"everybody is in the same boat; everybody is looking for somebody," says one dance aficionado—except for the median age. Browning writes, "Steve Vigorito, 61, says older dancers are known locally as 'snowcaps' for their white and gray hair. Some overdo it and lose their balance while dancing, he says, 'but the dance floor out there is so crowded that you start to go and everyone grabs hold of you.'"

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Sounds rather like the mosh pits of my angst-ridden teen years, but ... peppier. Journal, if your intention is to spark dreams of early retirement, keep 'em coming. 

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Image via Shutterstock by Tyler Olson.

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