Nightclub Research Brought Me Back To My 20s


Over the past several decades, life has gotten in the way of my “clubbing.” That is to say, I have not been to a nightclub in a very long time. Or a dance club. Or any of those places 20-year-olds go in order to burn off the extra energy they have zooming around in their bodies, demanding release.

So, last Saturday I went out.

It’s not like I had happened upon a pile of unused energy all of a sudden. No, that had been used up over the years by kids, jobs, housework, yardwork and the occasional vacation.

And it’s not like I felt as if I was 20 again. Far from it. It’s not even that I felt like dancing. Least of all, with girls.

I simply found myself in a situation with two other women, one a tourist, who thought it might be a good idea to go out and have a glass of wine at a club. This idea was hatched over dinner at a fine restaurant when we realized that we were having a good time, enjoying each other’s company and were not quite ready to go home.

The club idea was mine. I was curious. I did not intend to infringe upon the 20-somethings in any way — it was more like I was doing research, trying to see how things had evolved in the club scene now that I had left. And here’s what I learned:

You can’t be one of “the in crowd” (pardon the colloquialism) without paying a cover charge.

Drink prices have gone up considerably.

Most women may think that a perspiring bartender in a bikini is distasteful, but most men don’t.

No one drinks white zinfandel anymore.

One out of every three young people now has a visible tattoo, and there’s certain to be even more that are not visible.

There is no such thing as an ugly 20-year-old.

Boots are still cool, and cops are still avoided.

Every bar absolutely must have a television over it somewhere.

Chairs are often regarded as merely “in the way.”

Pink balloon animals have taken a turn, now being twisted into semblances of anatomical parts, which brides-to-be would like you to autograph in celebration of their upcoming nuptials.

Things don’t really kick into gear at nightclubs until at least midnight.

Girls still dance on tables, and I still don’t like cigarette smoke.

Drunks still swing off lamp posts and low-hanging signs.

And, upon leaving the club, if a person rousts himself from the bushes on the corner, hops on his bicycle, hollers, “Are you a size 10?” and tries to sell you something out of a shoebox, you are under no obligation whatsoever to go over there and see what he is selling. In fact, your best decision may be to cross the street. Quickly.

Thanks to this comprehensive research, you do not have to go to a nightclub ever again. Unless, of course, you want to.

In which case, you’re 20.