Every once in a while, just in case I grow too stodgy, friends drag me out by my hair and submerge me in mainstream culture. This is a good thing, I think, because it reminds me that I’m not a complete hermit. Or perhaps I can keep telling myself it’s a good thing long enough to start believing it. Especially when faced with fellow patrons who’re possibly half my age, who don’t worry about bond repayments on their homes.
It’s always the morning after the night before that I have to sit down to ask myself why people have this tendency of engaging in certain modes of behaviour in clubs that, in the garish light of day, seems pretty pointless.
But it is fascinating to watch. Clubbing for me now is pretty much like visiting a zoo, where the DJ occasionally spins a tune I enjoy dancing to. That’s if there’s space on the packed dance floor and that big oaf that hovers constantly around me isn’t busy ogling my arse.
My friend B pretty much summed it up: “It’s a meat parade. Just one big meat parade.”
I guess one can meet a life partner when you least expect it. While it’s not something I readily like admitting, I did meet my husband in a club. We’ve been married for more than a decade and I haven’t killed him yet.
But back to a recently past weekend: my friends and I were seated off to one side in the subterranean recesses of a popular Capetonian nightspot, kind of hoping for a gap on the dance floor, something which only materialised way after the witching hour.
But boy oh boy did I have plenty of people-watching to do between waiting for old favourites such as The Cure’s Lovecats or vintage Siouxsie Sioux. That’s when I wasn’t having a good chuckle at folks bopping and jiving to Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby.
One bright spark decided to show his friends how to juggle beer bottles. And no, I’m not making this stuff up.
Needless to say, said beer bottles shattered on the pretty black-and-white chequered dance floor. Or should I mention the girls dressed in little more than a handkerchief and garters with little gold stiletto-heeled sandals tweeting on their cellphones while they teetered about to the tune of Metallica’s Enter Sandman?
Granted, I’m a fine one to talk. Whenever I felt the need to catch my breath I absconded to what I thought was my safe corner so I could whip out my BlackBerry and offer my friends a running commentary of the sights and sounds courtesy of two of my favourite social networking sites. Times have changed. In the old days I’d probably have drunk more beer and stared glumly into the middle distance, because having a proper conversation in this sort of environment is near impossible.
At least I thought my corner was safe. While the dear husband had at last won a precious spot on the dance floor, the beer bottle-juggling rocket scientist saw his gap and decided to approach me. Only one small problem there – he didn’t see the all but invisible step leading up to the tables.
Said inebriated desperado landed face first in my lap. Too horrified to react, I merely gaped at him while he, unfazed, looked up and asked whether I would dance with him. Fortunately he backed off quickly when I showed him my wedding ring.
Either that or his friends had dared him to chat up the scary-looking Goth chick in the corner and he could now slink away, the ordeal over, the bet won. Go figure.
And I have to add, there’s nothing like the addition of a few poles to bring out males’ inner exhibitionist. I saw more male pole-dancing than I’d ever considered possible.
Later, when I said my goodbyes to a friend who’s a manager at the club, I asked her what the weirdest thing was that had ever been left behind by patrons.
“Oh,” she answered. “Someone left a shoe here a while back.”
“Really?” I asked. “Surely that’s hardly a surprise.”
She laughed and shook her head. “It was a Jimmy Choo.”
This had me raise a brow while I did the maths. Ouch. “What did you do with it?”
“Oh, I threw it out in the trash. It was lying around for ages.”
Righty. Good thing no one’s making me part with my New Rocks in a hurry, no matter how clunky or unfashionable they are. And thus ends my annual clubbing adventures, it can be hoped for another 365 days when I’ve conveniently forgotten the ringing in my ears, the drunk-stumbling weirdoes and the almost indelible stench of smoke in my hair.
Oh, and the pole-dancing men with beer-guts.
David Attenborough never had it quite this good.
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This column was initially published in the Sunday Independent Life section on August 21, 2011