This Is How We Do It
I was at the worst club I have ever been to, the kind of club I was not aware still existed. Brad and I were there because we knew the DJ, which is, y'know, smack one on the jukebox of cool, but even so we were keenly aware from the moment we arrived that this was not our kind of place. From the shirtless, hairless, oily bartenders who slipped you your drink like a wet bar of soap to the extra-rhythmic clapping emanating from the dancefloor during particularly thrilling house-y interludes, it was all a poor fit for a girl who likes to get down to Journey and a boy whose own music is being spun and danced to by the most angular fashionistas in this fine city.
But the place to be in a bad club is feeling superior, even if it makes you an asshole. It's better to lean and snub than it is to feel weird that you stick out like tits on a boar hog, to use one of my favorite old boss's hillbillyisms. Feeling aloof is self-preservation in this particular kind of club. One whiff of insecurity and the idiot sharks will descend on you in a frenzy of eye-rolls and pursed lips.
The thing to do in a terrible club is to be comped at the door, kiss cheeks with the VIPs, and schmooze like your day job doesn't revolve around cataloguing illustrations of anal surgery and you don't have a tiny stuffed koala hanging off the protective screen covering your computer monitor.
You laugh it up like the koala isn't wearing a vest advertising a medical computer systems conference.
When our friend was tapped to take over for the particularly lame DJ spinning when we arrived, Brad and I found ourselves with a lot of time to kill and very little interest in killing it with the present company. The DJ we know got the crowd shaking some booty within two songs (though people were nearly killed in a Madonna-related dancefloorward stampede) because he's good like that, and Brad and I commenced leaning against a pole like a couple of lacrosse players during the Macarena.
But that's the thing about terrible clubs, or at least the clubs that strike me as acutely painful. They're like high school dances. They're decorated like a prom with a Studio 54 theme and the crowd still grinds Montell Jordan-style, alternately shrieking with fake delight at shirtless guys, good songs, flashing lights, their own reflection, whatever, or pouting in fake angst at being shot down, not dancing with their crush, not being able to receive text messages inside the club, "ultra hold" turning out to be merely "mega hold," and so on. I can't handle the fake emotional rollercoaster. Within fifteen minutes last night I watched fully grown people sprint down a hallway wallpapered with reflective hearts screaming their heads off because they'd heard the first syllable of Madonna's new single, as well as similarly aged people giving the finger to the club's Dawn Wiener--that omnipresent, sad, lone dancing girl who's obviously dreaming she's on TV.
I'm just surprised that, anywhere in the world, sparkly shirt + house music + mesh still equals a kickass night out. This is why I felt like I was on the cutting edge of culture when, really, I'm on the ass end of whatever's in style at H&M because I won't buy anything not on the clearance rack. When even the DJ remarks that being at the club is like falling head first into a k-hole in 1995, it's time to update your schtick.
But, on the other hand, if it weren't for places I hate to be I would never get to feel cooler than anyone. Everyone needs a booster shot of absolute arrogance every few months to counteract the constant infection of inferiority New York hacks up. I'm never the coolest person at MisShapes (and I am consistently surprised by how nice the people are there, which makes it even worse) and my face is never plastered all over Last Night's Party, but in the crappiest club in this city it's possible to feel decidedly A-Listy.
(Well, maybe like D, E-listy, but trust me--in this club that's, like, rip-your-clothes-off, paparazzi-in-yer-compost-pile cool.)