Club Cadets

Last Saturday, I went to the club with my friend Jennifer. Well, it wasn’t so much a club as it was a sub-par bar with a 12’x12′ dance floor and a DJ. Okay, that sounds pretty club-y, but if you saw it, you’d understand. And I think by the end of this, you’ll see it my way.

The club is very fun, but it involves a little bit of planning. For starters, gearing up for the club is always a process. It’s probably not a process for a lot of people, but I’m one of those “What-do-I-wear?” kinds of people who are concerned about convenience and practicality, so I’ve narrowed this club thing down to a pretty adequate formula that I’m going to share with you. As far as shirts go, wear a tank top, or a crop top, or some sort of sleeveless top. If you’re having fun, you’re going to be sweating, and even if you’re not having fun, it’s generally warm in crowded night hang-outs. You’ll also want to wear some sort of pants (leggings, jeans, shorts) but the specifics on that are pretty flexible (depending on how flexible you want to be in your pants), and I don’t recommend dresses unless you just bought a really cute dress that you want to wear, dammit. But most important: wear Converse. Or Vans, or some sort of snug but light-weight shoe. High heels are not a good idea (they usually aren’t), especially if you’re going to be dancing.

Anyway, so after trying on multiple combinations of pants and tank tops, I finally wound up looking like I was going to a screamo concert because I was wearing black leggings, a black cut-off, and my chucks. I put on some make-up, not really concerned whether or not it was “on point” because the club is dark and everyone is drunk.

So Jennifer and I drove there, not because it’s far away but because it was highly favorable to walking in the chilly night. Also, that way we could leave our light hoodies in the car and not on the designated table everyone throws their jackets on.

When we walked up, there was a slight line. The one lady at the entrance was quite tediously verifying ID’s– well, “over 21” ID’s, to make sure they weren’t fakes. She apparently didn’t care if we were faking being over 18, because she hardly even glanced at our ID’s. Just as well– mine was a fake. (I jest.) We also had to pay to get in because we were underage, because places like that enjoy taking advantage of 18-20-year olds who desperately want to be included in nightlife but aren’t really allowed to participate anywhere else, so it draws a lot of youngsters. Needless to say, if you’re over 21, it’s not really choice to spend your Saturday night at that bar.

Depending on the night (and some random force of fate), it may or may not be crowded right at 11:00. We rolled up around 11:30, and it was still pretty dry bones, but people were steadily streaming in. That means there were a small handful of people on the dance floor, and all the still-sober people were watching and judging. So Jennifer and I pulled up chairs and decided to join the judging.

The place is really dark and dingy; it’s a small room with two bars, a lot of column posts, and a section with a pool table and tables. The dance floor appears to have been an afterthought, as it’s just a small open area in the middle of the bar. To be fair, there were white Christmas lights strung around the edges of the ceiling to make it feel more homey.

Eventually more people joined the dancing and we got bored, so Jennifer and I took to the dance floor, which is also a process. (Isn’t everything?) We started out on the edges of the crowd, which is nice for breathing, but also feels very vulnerable and like we’re exiled from the group, so we slowly worked our way into the middle. However, the middle is where all the drunk people hang out, and the frat boys who like to push people around. An important tactic to exercise is elbowing everyone who infringes in your personal space, otherwise you will not survive the middle. There was this one guy who was wearing boat shoes, a button-up shirt, a vest, and a backwards baseball hat (obvious frat scum) who kept backing into Jennifer and me, and no matter how much we pushed him away, he kept falling back. I’m not sure if this was intentional or if he genuinely couldn’t stand in one spot, but we got annoyed and decided it was time to venture to the holy grail of the dance floor: the nook by the DJ.

So the dance floor buttresses against a wall, and on the right side of the dance floor against the wall is the DJ’s platform. All the regulars hang out in that area by the DJ, including the giant black guy who gives a very “SECURITY” vibe (probably because he is the security dude). This may or may not be true at other establishments, but the people who regularly make appearances on Saturday nights, who are friendly with the DJ and security guard, are very nice and very sober. And for some unspoken reason, the rest of the dance crowd doesn’t seem to infiltrate this nook ever.

Finally able to breathe after escaping from the humid thick of the crowd, Jennifer and I were afforded some space to dance! As neither Jennifer nor I listen to rap or hip-hop, we didn’t know many of the songs playing, which honestly doesn’t matter as long as you know how to move your body to a beat. My dancing is rather poor for someone untrained in the art, but I channel the bass through me and mentally transport myself to my bathroom, where all my most carefree dancing occurs. That is how true nirvana is achieved.

Anyway, sometimes creepy guys will start lurking, which is why it’s important to go with your girlfriend. We dance facing each other, so if there’s someone behind us, the other spots them and gives the heads-up. That’s when we make an obvious point to “claim” the other one by dancing closer to each other, hopefully discouraging the scrubby dude and giving him no opportunity to approach.

At one point, a guy was weaving through the crowd and ran into me a little bit, and so I threw my elbow into him and he turned around quickly with a scowl and his arm raised. I was pretty livid with his defensive reaction, considering he ran into me, so I glared at him and stood up straighter and he turned and kept going. I made sure to glare at him until he disappeared, so when he turned back around, he knew I meant business.

There are inevitably some people who like to grind to every song that plays, which is difficult and honestly I didn’t think it was possible. Grinding is when two people stand facing the same way and they sway their hips together, and usually the person in front is leaning back. There are variations on this technique, but I have not studied them. In any case, it’s awkward to watch, and it’s even more awkward to watch when it blatantly doesn’t match the beat of some oddly-paced song. Usually these people are the drunk people.

I like to dance with my arms and shoulders because I’m a white person and I don’t know how to operate my legs in a rhythmic fashion. Swaying of my hips will also occur, as I am human and like music.

So Jennifer and I danced a lot, and got really sweaty from the heat of the joint and the movement. (I would like to clarify: by “joint,” I mean “location,” not the drug.) I like the obviously drunk people who loosely throw their body around, and are usually quite nice, and usually quite promiscuous. Half of them have giant X’s on their hands and have either made older friends at the bar or showed up already smashed. I like being sober at the club because then I can keep a lookout for suspicious characters, and moreover, I can remember my awful dance moves the next morning.

After the songs we loved and danced to, the songs we hated but danced to, the songs we didn’t know and improvised dances for, and the songs we eventually grew too tired to move to, the DJ at last played “Closing Time,” our obvious indicator to get the hell out of there. When it’s 2 AM, there’s always this disjointed chaos of people trying to find their friends, to find someone to sleep with, or to just find the door, and Jennifer and I rushed out of there through the mess.

And then, slept. Because it was 2 AM and my usual bedtime is 11:30 PM.

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