Why I Can No Longer Stand Clubbing

I was in New York City this past weekend to celebrate one of my best friend’s birthday. She just moved to the city to start her MFA in acting at Columbia and my other best friend just moved to D.C. for a directing fellowship at Arena Stage – first of all, can we take a moment for friend pride?! Seriously, they’re awesome and I’m so proud to know them.

She wanted to go clubbing and as many times as I’ve lived in NYC and visit frequently, I’ve never actually been clubbing in the city, so I was down for the experience.

I’m more of a grandma now more than anything, but back in the day (freshman year of college) I was a party animal and would frequently “go out” on the weekends. Mainly to “venue parties” which were a thing that frats did where they didn’t tell you where you were going (to prevent drunk driving) and would have a bus transport you to some secret location. The parties were usually themed like toga night or neon night, etc, and it was always at some club.

I enjoyed these parties back in the day, mostly because I was a new freshman in college and that’s basically what you did as a freshman in college, but also because I love dancing. I love the way the music can make you feel out of this world and you just move to the rhythm and forget about everything else.

As I grew older, I stopped going to these parties,  mostly because I valued sleep and feeling productive the next day instead of hungover, but also because I started valuing connection over the craziness that is clubbing.

We went to a club in Chelsea that had a line way down the street. Our friend said a promoter could get us in while skipping the line, so we waited. After he didn’t show, we stood in line. When we finally got in to the crowded chaos, we could barely move, let alone dance with each other without being surrounded by men. Seriously, they were like vultures.

When I was younger, I used to enjoy the attention, but now it truly disgusted me. Feeling the unwanted male gaze anywhere you turn when you’re just trying to enjoy the company of your girlfriends and dance with one another, was overwhelming. I felt uncomfortable. The music felt too loud, the strobe lights made me feel like I was having a panic attack, people kept spilling their drinks on me, and there was something sad about watching the “club dancers” on the stage with gaggles of older men just gawking.

I truly started to wonder why anybody did this for fun. What’s fun about getting shit faced and then groped at by some strangers? I’m not going to lie, at some point in my life,  I did find this all fun.

But now, I’ve realized I’ve grown. I had more fun going to McDonald’s with my friends before the club and laughing while eating fries and McChicken sandwiches. I had more fun trying to find a jazz bar in the beginning of the night, only to get kicked out because there was no more room. I had more fun on the subway ride home as we held hands and rode the 40 minute journey at 3 in the morning.

If you’re someone who loves clubbing, then more power to you. I don’t understand how people can party all night and then function for the next few days. If I party too hard, I am out of commission for awhile. So, seriously, props to you.

I’m not even sure why I was compelled to write this piece. It’s just interesting to see how our definitions of “fun” can change over time.

What about you? What do you like to do for fun?

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