To the residents of Arlington's Adams House apartments, Tom Davidson, a 27-year-old maintenance man with green work clothes and a grease smudge on his face, is the one to call when the sink's stopped up. But they see him only by day.When the sun sets, Davidson springs forth, transformed, in a two-piece form-fitting vest suit, silk shirt and black platform shoes. By night he is "T.T.," the self-proclaimed king of the disco dance floor. Twirling his way through the mirrored strobe-lit world of Washington's pulsing night life, he lives out a glittering fantasy far removed from the reality of radiators and wrenches. "A disco has a totally different atmosphere," Davidson explains. "You go there and do what you feel . . . you can have style . . . you can be a star." Davidson is one of the new breed of area disco patrons, suburbanizing what was once a culture for the urban elite. According to Mike O'Harro, owner of Tramps in Georgetown, disco is no longer "just a fad for the beautiful people. It's big business that appeals to everyone." O'Hara says there are 60 discos in the metropolitan area, grossing more than one-half million dollars a week. And the biggest growth in the last two years, he says, has been seen in suburbs. On a recent weekday night, Studio 50, a disco on Rte. 50 in Falls Church, shines with upbeat sparkle of the new disco chick -- scretaries and construction workers, salesmen and government employees -- there, in the words of unemployed auto salesman Jim Scott, "to get away from the humdrum of everyday life." They have escaped to a converted banquet room in the basement of the Best Western Motel one mile west of Seven Corners. Out on the dance floor, Davidson and his girlfriend, Laura Luby, are doing the freak. "FREAK OUT," the song screams, and the strobe lights flash, freezing his moves as he bobs and shakes from point to point to point. The crowd parts, giving him room. He's hot now, and he spins and floats down, landing, legs split, on the floor. Then he's up. "John Travolta couldn't touch me," he says. Davidson is sitting in the living room of his one-bedroom apartment in the Adams House, having a pre-disco drink. He goes to discos two or three nights a week, he says, and estimates that he has been to 90 percent of the discos in the metropolitan area. "I've always been a show-off," he says. "I love to entertain and to be around a lot of people. Dancing makes me high, even without booze, but booze makes it even better. It makes me feel alive." It is Selectrocution night at Studio 50. Discoites who wish to participate in this disco computer dating game are given name tags with their initials on them when they come into the club. They can then send computer messages to each other. At the end of the night, each participant gets a printout with the number of messages they got. If they get none the printout tells them they have been "selectrocuted." On the wall a sign flashes the messages. SN, i love you, DV . . . RC, Let me buy you a drink, MS . . .AD, come home with me. . . . Jerri is sitting at the bar. She has no name tag. A secretary from Fairfax City, she is wearing powder blue stretch pants and stilet-to hells. She goes to discos three or four times a week.Life, she says, "is kind of dull." "I work all day, five days a week, typing and filing and answering the phone. It's not bad -- I means, you have to work to eat -- but it's boring. But when I come to a disco, I can be exciting . . . mysterious. When I'm here I'm one of the beautiful people." Alan Davies, a carpenter who lives in Arlington, has just bought Jerri a rum and Coke. He is wearing a name tag. He goes to discos "as often as I ca drag myself out. "Why do I go to discos? Well, for one, to meet women . . . . You can be anyone you want. It's a good change from the real world. There are no hassles. If you meet someone you don't like . . . . You never have to see them CAPTION: Picture 1, Tom Davidson by day, in his work clothes in boiler room of apartment. . . By Larry Morris -- The Washington Post; Picture 2, . . . and by night, in his disco outfit, with his girlfriend at Studio 50. By Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post again. But you also meet some nice people once in a while" Davidson says he doesn't go to discos to find women. He goes there just to dance. "One weekend this past winter, Laura and I decided to try out the New York disco scene. You hear so much about Studio 54 and all that, but I was ready to show them how we boogie down here in D.c. "We made reservations at [a Times Square hotel] and took the bus up there. iI couldn't believe it when we got there. The place was a damn whorehouse. There were prostitutes all over the place, even red lights in the hallways. The roaches were three inches long," he says. "Well, we were determined to go dancing any, and that day we went to Saks Fifth Avenue and I bought one of those disco scarves -- you have to look the part up there, you know. I even left the Saks tag on to let them know I knew what was going on. "We took a cab to Studio 54. There were all these limos pulling up and people going in, and we were waiting outside. Finally this little jerk sticks his head out the door and says they wouldn't open for another hour. It was raining and cold as hell, so we got in a cab and went to another disco, New York, New York. "When we got there they told us they were having a private party and we couldn't come in. At that point it had started to snow, and I said the hell with it. We went back to the whorehouse, had some stiff drinks, and took the three o'clock bus back home." But Davidson remains undaunted. "We're going back to New York," he says, "and we're going to get into Studio 54 if I have to drive a truck through the wall." "Disco has become a mass form of escape," says James Mosel, a professor of psychology at George Washington University. "It's available, cheap and a beautiful fantasy that's very different. It allows one to take on a whole new existence and . . . pursue an identity one can't pursue in their work-a-day world." "Disco fits in politically," says Richard Peterson, a professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and author of a recent study of disco that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education. "It fits the escapism, me-ism, narcissistic tone of the times. Its political expression is simple in a time when people are tired of being constantly bombarded with bad news. . . . It doesn't go left or right. It just ignores things. It's a very joyous world." When asked if his passion for disco is an escape, Davidson says: "Well, I look at it this way. My first love is music, but i've got to eat. This maintainance job gives me security. It's a free apartment and $175 a week. "Laura and I have formed what we call Total Entertainment Agency, and we're trying to get it going. We'd be sort of a general contractor for music, booking bands, disc jockeys, single acts, everything. . . . "I once had a chance to be a disc jockey," he continues, "and travel the club circuit in Texas. But I would have had to pull up stakes and just go. And . . . contracts sometimes fall through. There's no security." So for now, Davidson says he's going to stick with disco dancing. "When I'm dancing, I feel like I'm entertaining. Everyone looks when you do the dances right, and I do them right. . . . They might not know me now, but someday they will."