Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Dinner & Dance...

I needed a little light relief this evening: I've been immersed in exercise books and red pen for several days (apart from weekends: I'm trying not to bring home books, just lots of lesson planning... still, every little helps!)

Anyway, I could have phoned out for a take-away, but I felt I needed a change of scene. Added to which, I fancied a glass of wine with dinner, and didn't have anything suitable in the flat. I hate to open a bottle of wine when I know that I'm just going to have a single glass and then nothing for several days... So I ventured out into my local neighbourhood, as there are a few eateries along my local High Street.

The nearest one to me was closed for refurbishment, so I was forced to go a little further afield.

The restaurant in which I finally fetched up was one I hadn't visited before, and it was a bit of a shock. There was a doorman, dressed completely in white (including a turban) looking remarkably like one of the Indian servants from "It Ain't Half Hot Mum." I was fascinated: he spent the entire duration of my stay by the door, almost like a nightclub bouncer. Come to think of it, given the fact that there are some very roudy teenagers who go round in gangs near where I live, that could be his actual role...!

There were a few other diners in evidence, but the place was mostly empty: not surprising for the middle of the working week. I had brought a book, and settled down to enjoy my lamb pasanda with a glass of very good house white.

To my surprise, even though it was mid-week, there was live entertainment. Apparently it is different each night. Tonight we had a belly dancer. Not a real one - the young lady concerned had the sort of figure favoured by Western culture, and there wasn't much "belly" although her abdominal region was very much on display. A friend of mine from a few years back trained as a belly dancer, and watching her abdominal muscles gyrate was quite an eye-opener... this evening's dancer didn't attempt anything of the sort, but there was much waving of arms, legs and chest.

I noticed that she ventured round to a couple of tables when there were male diners in evidence, but she sort of lost interest and stuck firmly to the dance floor once they'd left. It occurred to me that dancing round the tables could actually be quite intrusive. I'd be interested to hear what my male readers thought about this sort of thing...

14 comments:

gemoftheocean said...

No idea what the men think, bur for a second there I thought you'd found a dinner theatre playing GYPSY.

Karen

Histor the Wise said...

I certainly wouldn't bring a date there...;)

But if I were by myself, I would appreciate it if the dancers (and any other live performers) only performed on the stage or in whatever area was designated for their performance.

Histor

Anonymous said...

I costumes which we see belly dancers wearing are a Hollywood invention. Middle Eastern belly dancers were fully clothed and tied a sash around their hips. Respectable women, in the past, were not belly dancers.

In some venues in the West men place money in the bras and other places - this is only one of the reasons I don't like belly dancing.

Nick said...

Wouldn't venture any further the entrance. Half naked women and food don't mix!

Anonymous said...

Sounds almost as intrusive as the minstrel at our Cathedral who gets up in front of everyone in the 'assembly' and waves his arms about to 'animate' the music...
Oh, and wishes everyone "Have a good Mass!" ater he has rehearsed them...

deb said...

I didn't know that there was a difference between the feminine form that is perfered in western countries compared to Middle Eastern. That was interesting. I've always seen belly dancing as beautiful but it sounds as though this restaurant's entertainment was more eye candy then art.

George said...

Hi Mac. For me this would frankly be very off-putting as I go to restaurants to enjoy a good meal, some wine, maybe a little light (not noisy) live music with family and friends. To have a belly-dancer is really a cheap shot at trying to attract custom - but it's so cheap that other than perhaps drawing in a few pimply single male 'yoofs' and other oafish, lager swilling yobs the restaurant will I feel remain empty. Sad.

The funniest live restaurant entertainment I have ever experienced was many years ago in Central London. Dining for the first time in a Thai restaurant, my wife and I were sat on cushions at a traditional low table close to a stage. The food was served - YIKES!!!! I like Chinese/Indian/Spicy food but this was HOT HOT HOT and HOTTER!!! Where's the iced water!!! ARGGHHHH!

Halfway through the meal and after several pints of iced-water were downed to reduce my temperature we were treated to a show of Thai Boxing. Now as a Martial Arts enthusiast I thought this would be great. Unfortunately the fighting skills of the boxers were somewhat clumsy in that within about five minutes of violent action two large sweaty, hairy and somewhat bloody male bodies ended up sprawled over our table with all the Thai food and drinks flying in every direction. Thank God I thought, I won't have to eat any more of this molten-lava stuff at which point the owner of the restaurant amidst much bowing, sheepish grinning and apologizing brought on a full replacement meal, compliments of the house!!!!!

Never eaten Thai food since!

Mac McLernon said...

Deb... the middle east traditionally favoured women of generous build - or so I was led to believe!

Ttony said...

I saw belly dancing in Istanbul once (not, I hasten to say, at a restaurant) with a crowd of Turkish Army officers and their wives. I don't usually enjoy dance as a spectacle, but this was transcendent: movement of the body and music producing something greater than the sum of the parts.

I was in a Turkish restaurant here with colleagues a couple of years ago when we were subjected to something very similar to what you experienced. A raddled (admittedly Turkish) woman of mature years whose behaviour was - well, unladylike.

It's an insult to belly dancers to compare the two experiences.

BTW "generous build" would make a real belly dancer unable to dance. This is a strenuous physical activity.

Mac McLernon said...

Sorry Ttony - by "generous build" I meant not the skinny types favoured in films... you can be large and fit (as my friend proved)
;-)

Brendan Allen said...

Mac, I would love to know the name of the establishment - so that I can avoid it any time I'm in that part of the country!

Anonymous said...

George, if you eat spicy food go for dairy e.g. yoghurt to cut the heat rather than water.

deb said...

Perhaps the word you were trying to come up with is voluptous and not generous build?(Spelled wrong)

ignorant redneck said...

I used to drum for Middle eastern dancers. The costumery that is most associated with them is termed "caberet style". there are several other styles.

Very thin women don't seem to be able to produce some of the movements of the dance well.

I have seen Lebanese men stick bills to the dancers. The ability to "stick" the bill is evedence of how hard she dances.

the traditional costume was all covered but very sheer. a sort of adhere-to-the-letter type thing.

Egypt often banishes the Dancers to the upper nile region. They are not entirely respectable in their homeland.

Good dancing is beautiful and amazing, but not particularly arousing. When the Dancers try to be arousing they don't do so well at dancing.

Although, in private the dance can be something else. (I was married ot a middle eastern dancer).

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