The Quest Club

First, there's las matemáticas. When the Quest's dance instructors show you the steps every Monday night at 8:30 p.m., women outnumber men by a factor of two. (Lessons are complimentary with the $10 cover.) Those "odds" improve still further when the Caribbean and Mexican rhythms of the Latin Sounds Orchestra or Orquesta Sabor Tropical saturate the palatial dance club's 24,000 square feet with other people's pheromones. Then there's the safety of ritual: Per Latin-dance tradition, men are encouraged as a matter of course to invite women onto the dance floor. On salsa night you are allowed--required, even--to converse with potential dance partners you may never talk to or touch again. As a male, you are expected to prove yourself physically, but to do it as a gentleman: Perfecting a move counts more in this arena than making a move. Looking around this room, you may almost forget that America has mostly annihilated, with one twist of the Twist, that perfectly useful rite of human courtship: the couple dance. (Chubby Checker did not act alone, folks.) Salsa has everything to do with expressing safe sexuality in an unsafe world. Which brings us to the final advantage that single and straight men enjoy here: The atmosphere of cattiness among their target gender. Even if you stall before asking some fashion goddess for a spin, she is likely to talk to your sorry ass for the simple reason that her own sex has frozen her out! Egged on by the queen cat of them all, Sabor Tropical singer Maya López-Santamaría (who never looks less scintillating than her envious female admirers), the women here preen and bat eyes like Mexican cable stars. They compete, in other words, for your sorry ass. And for that you should thank the lucky deity of your choice.


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