My age group’s fascination with night clubs has always baffled me. Perhaps it’s just my primitive reptilian brain, but I can’t understand the appeal. Standing in line for an hour, paying a certain amount just to be let in, only to buy ludacrisly marked-up alcohol. Which, incidentally, you’ll need to tolerate the thumping, sirens and wob-wobs that make up club music. That is, if you can even make it to the bar through the enormous crowd of sweaty, obnoxious people you don’t know. It’s like going to the world’s shittiest amusement park, only there are no roller coasters to ride, or mascots to crane kick.
I’ve been tricked into going to a few night clubs over the course of my life, usually by drunk female friends who are suddenly struck by the uncontrollable urge to dance. I’ve usually polished off a few drinks myself by that point in the evening, so I tend to agree to go along. “What the hell,” my brain thinks. “Maybe this time I’ll actually have fun.” If you’re like me, this is officially the high point of the evening. Things are only going to get worse from this point on.
When you do get to the night club, there is a line. Fine, whatever, you knew there would be. It’s a Friday night, after all. And it seems to be moving at a steady pace. You won’t be outside for too long. It is always a mistake in thinking this, as in between you and the door, there are approximately fifty people, and forty-five of them have an issue. After the fourth or fifth obviously seventeen year-old girl with a fake ID gets turned away and drunkenly sobs on the curb, you start to realize that this is going to take much longer than you had originally anticipated.
When you do get to the door, after what feels like about a week, your feet are sore from standing for so long. You no longer feel like dancing at all. Why would you? Your feet hurt. It’s like asking someone who just broke their wrist to give you a handjob. At the door, you have your first interaction with the people of the club: the bouncers. This is always a treat for me personally, because bouncers at night clubs crack me up. With their tight black t-shirts and ear pieces, they carry themselves with the attitude of a man who got a lot of C’s in high school and, thusly, couldn’t become a skull-busting cop like they wanted. So now, they must make the world a better place by harassing patrons and hurling drunks into piles of garbage bags.
After paying to get in (again, not unlike an amusement park), the first thing you notice is the bass. It is relentless, consistant and approximately a jillion times louder than it needs to be. The second thing you notice is the heat. The mass of gyrating bodies in the middle of the room has generated enough body heat to melt nickel, and you are now expected to hop around in there. “Jesus,” you think. “I was wrong. This place is the worst. I need a drink.” So you immediately make your way to the bar… only to find yourself standing in yet another line with a thousand other thirsty assholes who had the same idea as you. You crane your neck to see just how far away the sweet embrace of intoxication is, and notice that there is only one bartender. Serving a hundred thousand pushy, horny, drunken twenty-somethings. And you’re at the back.
After another week or so, you finally make it to the bar and order a drink. It’s nineteen dollars. Fuck every last ounce of that. It is at this point that you can finally make your way on to the dance floor, but after one look you begin to question whether or not you want to, or even whether you can call that a dance floor. Ballrooms have dance floors. What you are looking at more closely resembles some kind of horrifying Roman orgy. What these people are doing is not dancing. Women are tossing their hair around like there’s a bat in it and pressing their asses against the crotches of men, who are no doubt either bouncing up and down in place or pumping their fist in the air, like they’re desperately trying to punch the ceiling. The heavy concentration of sweat, hair product, cologne and liquour in the atmosphere, combined with the heat of the room, has somehow managed to make every surface in the club just sticky enough for it to be noticable and creepy.
There’s no escape at this point, and you begin to realize it. Your mind begins to break down. “Oh, god, what have I done? What the hell did I just step in? Why is the booze so expensive, and so far away? My god, I just saw far more of her than I had ever hoped to. I didn’t even know you could get that pierced. I’m pretty sure that DJ Whoever-The-Fuck already played this song. Oh, wait. No, he didn’t. They just all sound the goddamn same. Get me out of this place. I can taste the air in here, and it tastes like a homeless guy’s pocket.” Then, everything becomes a blur. Your female friend has abandoned you, and you are now alone in the most evil place you’ve ever been. You begin looking for your friend, hoping she’ll come to her senses and the two of you can leave this den of sin. You brave the Fuck Sea, searching, hoping, praying. Then you feel the bodies of people you don’t know against yours. You are now one with the night club. You have been absorbed into the mass of writhing, shapeless figures. You are lost.
The next morning, with any luck, you wake up alone in your own bed, with all your own clothes and minimal vomit stains. Your head is pounding, but you only had two drinks because you’d have to take out a bank loan to afford any more than that. The bass will continue hammering through your skull for the next few days, and your wallet will be completely empty. You reach for your phone and see that there is a text from your female friend. “OMG last night was sooooooo much fun that guy i danced with was SO HOT 😛 did you have fun too?”
No, you think. No, I did not. Last night was an exercise in hedonistic debauchery not seen since the days of the Marquis de Sade. I feel like Gary Busey looks. I’m broke and broken. My soul needs a shower. You will never drag me to one of those places again, you miserable harpy.
But as you lay your head down and close your eyes to begin the recovery process, in the back of your mind, you know this is untrue. And you silently dread the next time you find yourself in the scariest, loudest, stickiest place on the planet.