Disenchanted at the Discothèque

November 19, 2007
The velvet rope glares at me, a bulwark separating me and a supposedly good time. As it is drawn open, my friends push me forward, past the immense man in a black leather jacket who guards the doorway. I still can’t believe I have come here.

Mom doesn’t know that I came to New Haven to go to Gotham City Café, a hip nightclub that shakes the foundations of every building on its block with its turntables and speakers. She thinks I’m at a birthday celebration for one of my friends. “Where exactly is this taking place?” she asked me when I told her I had plans for Saturday night. “Peppy’s Pizza, on Wooster Street. It’s gonna be great. Pizza, pepperoni, and who knows...maybe I’ll get a little crazy and have a cannoli or two” I lied, trying to avert her attention from the fact that the “pizza party” would be finished at 1:00 am. To my surprise, she sanctioned the outing, although I was a bit disappointed that I had outright lied to my own mother. She would flip if she saw me amidst the two-steppers, flashing lights, and deafening speakers– but she’ll never be able to flip because she’ll never find out my pizza party self was actually at a nightclub in New Haven.

I follow my group into the main room. It’s early, and there are only about ten other people present. There’s only one person dancing; a bootylicious young woman gyrates to the thunderous beat of the numerous speakers placed around the room. She tosses her hips from side to side and lets her rear plummet to the ground in perfect harmony with the beat. She is a jiving giantess who is comfortable in her own skin, and none of the onlooker’s glares or giggles phase her. She would put Beyoncé to shame in a dance off, I’m sure of it. She is spectacular.

I focus once again on myself and my surroundings. My coterie is busy at work, stripping off their winter coats and reassembling their skimpy, sequin-clad clubbing garb. They regain their poise and in doing so become wall flowers. We stand against a wall and wait. For what, I do not know but it is what everyone else is doing. I am so bored that I begin to conjure up memories. I remembered the day Caitlin had invited me to go to Gotham. I wasn’t very excited, and had rejected the offer. Caitlin, though, was quite the master of persuasion. “Tony, don’t you understand that every other kid our age goes clubbing? Why don’t you want to do something fun for a change?” I wondered at what she said. Did everyone really go to clubs on a regular basis? If so, it was some well kept secret that had never reached my ears whilst walking the halls of Masuk. And just what did she mean by “don’t you want to do something fun for a change”? I think playing checkers at Starbucks with blue Equal packets and yellow Splenda packets is the stuff of good times, and that’s not including the mountains of foreign films we watch every other Friday night.. I agreed, thinking it would be good to do something different.

Slowly, more and more people begin to enter and mill about the room. The DJ must have observed and seen that an agreeable number of people has arrived. Out of the speakers comes a cacophonous rumble. Bodies start moving. The dance floor is no longer the realm of only the gyrating giantess, but of many others who seek to dance the night away. The masses love it. Hands go up, cheers emanate from the mouths of the clubbers, and all hell had brakes loose. Apparently, Pit Bull’s command to Miss Bojangles, “Bring it back”, has a hypnotizing effect. The crowd loves it.

I don’t. I leave the dance floor and sit on a couch in the corner of the room. Watching this exotic sight is fun enough for me. In fact, I have never seen people move like this before. I didn’t think that most of what is taking place in front of me was anatomically possible. Just watching is intense.

My thoughts take over me again. What if Mom finds out. Will I ever be allowed out again? Have I sacrificed aspartame laced checkers for one night of dancing? What would I do if she were to appear in the crowd? What would she do? Well, I know that. First she would bless herself and extract her rosary from her handbag, which should not be on my mother’s shoulder but rather on the hips of the Pope. It is fully equipped to serve as a Holy Roman Catholic utility belt, complete with an array of holy waters imported from around the globe. After procuring the grace of The Lord, she would navigate the dance floor. “Put some clothes on” is a regular in her conversations with young women. “Move out of my way, you hell-bound stock!” would be another you could expect. And if you listen very closely, not to the music, not to her chastising comments, but to her self-muttering, you will hear her repeat her mantra to herself. You will see that she has a heart of gold, and that she is just a woman who fears the worst for her child, and only wishes him the best. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil...”.
Back to the club.My friends are not pleased with my behavior. They will not have me sitting about, reflecting on my inner thoughts while they dance in the sweaty mass that occupies the dance floor. With surprising strength, one of them drags me out to the middle of the throbbing sea of motion.

I am lost. I’ve never done this type of thing before. I don’t know how to dance. I’m really wishing there was some type of prep class one could take before clubbing. I would be the first to sign up. Not because I want to do it; no. I would do it because the feeling I felt while out there was horrible. I’m disoriented and confused, and I can’t hear a thing because Fergie and Will.I.Am are having an obscenely loud spelling bee over the speakers, and everywhere I turn, some foreign moisture from some sweaty person lands on me, and after an experience like this, I don’t think I’ll ever misspell delicious or tasty (Many thanks to Fergie Ferg for that boon to my vocab). Oh, and, lest we forget, I can’t dance. When I dance, it’s like watching Britney Spears at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards; it’s so bad that you’re embarrassed for Britney. Anyway, I am that person that when people look, they feel embarrassed. I am embarrassing everyone at Gotham right now.

Thank God! My cell phone tells me that it’s 12:30. It’s time to go home. I set out to collect everyone in the group and as I do the music changes and more cries of approval come from the crowd. I have no clue what song this is, but I can’t care less because in a few minutes my eardrums won’t be at the mercy of DJ Bam Bam or whoever else is manning the booth tonight.

As I make my way through the labyrinth of vibrating bodies, I feel a tug on my shirt collar. I’m violently pulled backwards, and all I can think of is my mother standing in an empty club with a chalk line traced around where my body was found. I’m jerked back and forth to the beat of MIMS explaining to the club just exactly why he is so hot. I look up to see what is happening, and I think what I saw will haunt me forever. Holding onto my shirt was a very large hand, belonging to a very large, strapping woman – the one who twisted and shook all alone on the dance floor when I had arrived! She is rapping along with MIMS while jerking me back and forth. I feel like a puppet suspended that moves with every twitch of her powerful hand. Utter terror.

Her hand lets go, I grab my friends, they grab their coats, and we are out of there like a bat out of hell.

At breakfast the next morning, my mom asks me how Peppy’s was, and just what could we have been doing at Peppy’s that would have gone into the wee hours of the morning. Her eyes are puffy and bloodshot. She had been sitting in her an armchair in the living room when I had walked into the house at 1:00 am. “I never want to go back to Peppy’s again.” I reply. “I don’t care if everyone likes it. I don’t!” “Good.” she says. “I knew you wouldn’t have a good time. I would never go to Peppy’s for pizza. I told you it would be disappointing.”

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