The only reason I decided to go was because I couldn’t sleep from all the endorphins released by my stint at the gym. I’d finally agreed to meet my friends at around 11pm. It was the first time in the quarter of a century that is my life that I’d stepped into a legit club. It was supposedly the newest and most exclusive club in town. The lobby was unassuming and normal enough looking. I was under dressed for the occasion, as expected, and had been told to please wear something closed or with heels next time. I gave the receptionist a small smile and shrugged, stepping tentatively through the massive black doors, Union Flag top and black jeans in tow.
Music was blasting against a backdrop of geometric and/or flashing lights that, to be honest, made my head hurt slightly. It wasn’t too full when we got there, so we proceeded to our overpriced table that was much smaller than the ones at Starbucks. Deciding to make the most out of what we’d be paying, I ordered a Jack & Coke instead of the usual beer. Minutes passed and people started trickling in. I was quite surprised by the diversity – everyone from foreigners to yuppies to college students to socialites to people who looked as equally uncomfortable as me.
I had no idea what the dynamics inside a club were, so I proceeded to imitate my friends and dance, though my move consisted mostly of stepping from side to side. I wasn’t drunk enough to bust more ambitious moves. And then suddenly four guys approached our table and started introducing themselves.
I will admit that what happened next was quite a blur – and I do mean this in an intentional way because I would rather not remember in detail the awkwardness that ensued – but to summarize: I got hit on by a college student who thought my name was Julia, but decided on calling me Annie because I apparently reminded him of the said character in Community. I didn’t know whether to find it cute or insulting (he actually gestured that I had sizable boobs – what?), but I tried my best to roll with the punches. We had a decent enough conversation, with him managing to reveal how hard he was trying to make himself cool while exposing his naivete in the process. Thank god those places were naturally dark or else he would have caught me cringing more than once. He eventually had to leave and actually kissed me on the cheek before I’d even realized what he was doing.
That was not the first time our table got approached or handshakes were exchanged. Conversations were screamed, and half the time I didn’t even know what their names were or what the hell they were saying. So I just smiled and nodded and hoped they would eventually go away.
Since drinks were expensive, I never really got the chance to get drunk so I couldn’t let loose. To be fair, though, clubs are good venues for people watching. There were lots of attractive people that I could have spent hours staring at but which, due to propriety and whatnot, I couldn’t. Then there were the middle-aged people who were really going wild on the dance floor – and while it was slightly entertaining, I didn’t know whether to feel ashamed or sorry for them. But hey, it’s their life (and we later on found out they were on some sort of pub/club crawl and left for some other happening place). There also seemed to be an office gathering, a large group of people who were hooting and yelling at one another while bystanders watched bemusedly.
And then there was us. The singles. Were we there for the dancing? The music? The drinks? Or were we hoping to be swept away that night by some handsome man with decent moves and musty smelling cologne? Then again, what were the chances of meeting someone special in a club, when admittedly, the agenda of the majority was to simply have a good time? What were the chances of, at the risk of sounding cheesy, finding that one person for you inside a dark place with pulsating lights and music that wouldn’t even allow you to construct proper sentences? Perhaps we weren’t in the right place; or rather, I wasn’t in the right place. (I’m not saying it’s not possible, because I know some percentage out there might have met the love of their life at a club. I am merely speaking for my case.)
I’ve always been more of a pub/home drinking kind of person with great friends and even better music. I appreciate good conversations, and with house music blaring like we were all hearing impaired, the club was certainly not an ideal place for that. I had, however, always been interested in what goes on inside these exclusive clubs, and managed to get an idea that night. I know I shouldn’t generalize as it was only my first time, but it has cemented the fact that the clubbing scene is really not for me. I’m not an acquaintance type of person. I loathe small talk, and awkward first meetings are right up there on my least favorite things (right next to flying cockroaches). I don’t invest my time or emotions just like that, which is probably why quick fixes don’t really work for me in terms of relationships (whether friendship or something else entirely).
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the night, mostly because of my friends. But I’ll tell you what, I had an even better time after, when my friend and I decided to leave early and stuff our faces instead with pancakes and hash browns at a nearby IHOP while we lamented existential matters and the state of our love lives – or in my case, lack thereof. Ah, yes, now THAT was a bloody good time.