The doorman has trouble finding your name—”Jim”—on the guest list for about 20 minutes…Once approved, you have to go through so much ID-showing, bag-inspecting, and metal-detecting that you’re sure you’re entering a place with seat belts and vomit bags.
You’ve gotten to know the DJ, so you can leave your coat in the booth for free, but that paves the way for a dry-cleaning bill larger than the national debt because of the spilled drinks that turn your garment into a bottom-shelf vodka rag…You grandly enter the action and notice that, once again, you’ve neurotically arrived about two hours too soon. You squintingly try to read your best friend’s new confessional novel on your iPhone in a corner, but your eyes hurt, you look silly, and the book really sucks.
You politely talk to a promoter for what seems like an eternity in order to score a drink ticket, but eventually he/she just walks away as if all you’d wanted was to gab and catch up…Once you break down and decide to pay for some liquids, the bartender waters down your drinks and double charges your credit card whereas you wish they’d double charge your drinks and water down your credit card…Having to scream inane comments over the music makes them sound even more idiotic…There’s always some oaf running around yelping: “This isn’t a scene at all—not what I’d call a scene! Nightlife used to be way better!”…They’re usually right…Drag queens will either suck out your tonsils with a hello kiss or openly read you with snapping fingers—no in-between.
If you impulsively start dancing, cops practically arrive to drag you to the station in handcuffs. Welcome to the real-life Footloose…No one notices your outfit, which you worked on for three and a half hours…Someone else is wearing the very same thing but with one less button, and everyone’s going nuts over how incredibly fabulous it is…Way too many people assume you work there for some reason. (“Which way’s the bathroom?” “What time’s the show?”)…You have to tip the loo attendant a dollar for a paper towel, as if this were the St. Regis, not some dive in a neighborhood with way too many vowels in its name…The “special performance by an incredible surprise guest at 1” turns out to be a lip-synched concert of unreleased dance songs from 1 to 3 by the owner’s spastic daughter.
Thanks to all the multi levels, you spend the whole night running up and down stairs, always hoping to find something better. By the time it’s all over, you’re on the verge of a heart collapse, but at least your thighs are finally starting to develop…People keep talking at you, interrupting all your valiant attempts at texting…You accidentally walk into a bar on Bingo night, so a potentially fun romp has turned into a hellish childhood nightmare come true…Even more heinously, it’s Karaoke Wednesday, so your eardrums brace for multiple hearings of “Suddenly Seymour” and the Rihanna songbook as delivered by tuneless drunks…There’s not an overabundance of sociopolitical consciousness in the air. If you mention Occupy Wall Street to someone, they think it’s a new band.
You’ve given out so many fake numbers all night, you’re starting to forget your real number (which you just might need if someone cute ever approaches)…You’re the arbiter of culture for the entire Eastern Seaboard, but you’re pushed out of your table to make way for some sweaty businessman with his collar up who wants to pay $400 for a bottle of booze and some cranberry juice.
People keep approaching you to say: “Hi! Do you remember me? Who am I? Come on, who am I?” You angrily respond, “Don’t you know?”…You finally hear your favorite song, but it’s in some infernal ADHD-style megamix where nothing is played for more than 15 seconds…Except for “Firework”…Your allergy to cheap cologne and Scrunchies is making you break out in hives that look extra horrible whenever the strobe hits your face…You can’t go in the indoor pool because it has been boarded up for the season, but the mad stench of chlorine is obviously lingering in the air for the whole year. More dry-cleaning bills.
You were surrounded by people all night and feeling incredibly popular, but all of a sudden, you find yourself awkwardly standing alone at the precise moment your ex and his new lover spot you from across the room…That crystal was actually PCP, or vice versa!…As you try to finally leave, a Facebook friend grabs you to ask your opinion on every single movie that opened this year…You pull yourself away, and as you head home, you hear someone telling a friend how incredible the VIP lounge was. (“There was a VIP lounge?” you scream to yourself. “How did I miss that with all that fucking running up and down stairs?”)
You try to go back in, but suddenly there’s a whole new doorman, and this one is even less sure of who you are than the last one. (Or, even worse, he does know, but couldn’t care less.)…You convince yourself it’s not worth it anyway, but the second you get home, you read about how many incredible celebrities were piled into that VIP lounge—and how most of them were wearing your outfit and looking amazing…You go back to finishing your friend’s novel while crying yourself to sleep.
But the main reason I hate nightlife is that I’m still drawn to it after all these years, and as a result, I drag my ass to clubs and bars on a regular basis, feeling like a diabetic in a candy store but always enjoying the cathartic freedom that nonconformity brings. Cheers. Vomit bag!