Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Went Out

(Way back when.)

Forty minutes to five! Which means it's too late to start any new projects but too early to think about leaving work, which in turn means you get to read my rambling prose. Today I'm going to talk about nightlife.

I used to go out. A lot. The summer before sophomore year was probably the most fun I've ever had in a three-month period. I got wasted almost every night, spent enough money to single-handedly rejuvenate the economy, and met a whole bunch of people who did things like upload party fliers to Facebook and invite me to their house for photo shoots/excuses to hook up. Yes, a lot of it was dumb, but it was also a crazy good time, and I ended up meeting some really great kids with whom I'm friends to this day.

But then I kind of stopped going out, at least to the kinds of places that would show up on photoblogs the next day. I still enjoy a proper drinking session at Ye Olde Cheap Watering Hole That Doesn't Carde, but most of my partying time is now spent in people's apartments, or by myself with Chinese takeout and CSI marathons. What happened to nightlife?

As I've said before, it stopped being exciting. Back in the day, Ruff Club truly was fun. There'd be great music, ridiculously hilarious people, and the perfect mix of youthful carelessness and clubland extravagance that blended appropriately with the zooming neon lights upstairs. And the fun wasn't contained to just one venue; all over the Lower East Side, SoHo, and the West Village, people eschewed bottle service and drab techno for a strangely familial camaraderie played out to timeless pop music.

But then Misshapes ended and the Ruff Kids broke up and suddenly, Happy Ending wasn't quite so happy. Sure, I still went out, but by the end of sophomore year, things were different and sadder, Sparks-infused fumes filling increasingly empty dance floors. Exclusivity became the new irony, and imitations of Beatrice popped up everywhere, their only connecting threads being their boringness and their desire to keep you--me, us, everyone without a thousand connections and Jeremy Scott clothing--out. Bronques spends as much time away from New York as he does in it, and in their Facebook pictures that show up on my News Feed like hazy dreams, today's freshmen look just a little more desperate and a little too put-together, like they've memorized the lines of a play that just closed. Maybe it's just a sign of aging, but I can't help but feel self-conscious when I head out to a club now, like I shouldn't really be doing this anymore.

I know this sounds pretty ridiculous. And if you hate going out, you'll think I wasted many nights downing vodka tonics on underground dance floors. But the sliver of New York nightlife I enjoyed was fun. Even Jess went out freshman year. And I wish things were still like that; I wish my favorite DJs hadn't gotten big and started traveling the world, that I didn't have to feel too old when I'm not even legal to drink for another month, that there were still a place you know you could go to if all else fails, some tiny bar on Orchard Street where the bouncer knows your name and the doors are open to everyone.

House parties are great. You know a lot of people, there's no dress code (a fact for which I remain grateful), the liquor is plenty and the pretentiousness is lacking. But sometimes you want to go to a party where you don't know too many people, where everything is new and weird and funny, where a man in a bow tie behind the bar makes the perfect martini, and where you always feel like you're on the cusp of something, that around the corner and down the hallway some beautiful guy with perfect hair and an agonizingly perfect wardrobe will see you and whisper, his voice tinged with a lisp, that you are the person he's been waiting for, and you will go home with him and look at the pictures on his refrigerator and sit on his mattress--too firm for sleeping, really--and throw your arms around his chest and fumble through his nightstand for a condom and dig your fingertips into the small of his back, and you will wake up with his arm draped over your stomach, the afternoon sun reeling you in like a riptide, and you won't even mind your hangover because you know that the things you've forgotten, those hasty text messages littered with typos, the number written on your wrist in faded Sharpie ink, the aftertaste of stale beer--that for once in your life you forgot yourself and still came out alive, with the pictures to remind you of the trifles to which you devoted yourself so recklessly. I don't want this all the time anymore, but God do I miss it on Saturday nights.



Brit said...

That last paragraph was beautiful, very visceral.

Shawn said...

i really don't see you having a problem getting paid to write.

the last paragraph was my favorite also.