“You better take this all in.”
“Being out like this.”
“You’re getting married, dog. Your club days are over.”
I had a version of this conversation three different times at my bachelor party, with three different people. I also had it in a text conversation with a friend, during a Facebook chat with a former co-worker who caught wind of my (then) upcoming nuptials, in the comments section of an article I wrote about marriage, with my dad’s neighbor, with my dad’s neighbor’s recently married nephew, and…well, you get the point. I was a man getting married. And since I was a man getting married, I wouldn’t be able to hit the lounges, bars, nightclubs and parties with the same frequency. Although it was never explicitly said, the implication was that I wouldn’t be able to hit the lounges, bars, nightclubs and parties with the same frequency because my soon-to-be wife wouldn’t allow me. Or, at the very least, she’d have an issue with it. So if I wanted to actually stay married, I had to cut that part out of my life.
This was half true. I agree that my club/bar/lounge/party life–while not completely ending–had undergone a gradual change. After getting into a relationship, I didn’t do it as much as I did when I was single, and I imagine I’ll do it even less now that I’m married. But, they’re wrong about the reasoning. Although I’m mindful of whatever concerns my wife might have had about it, the motivation to cut down on clubbing was internal.
Why? Well, my primary reason to go to clubs, bars, lounges, and parties was to meet people. And by “people” I mean “women.” And by “women” I mean “women I was romantically interested in.” Now, since there’s no interest to meet women I’m romantically interested in anymore, there’s no interest to go to the club.
You know those people who go to the club just to hang out, have fun, and dance? Who can go with a group of friends — or just one friend — and have a good time, regardless of the circumstance? I’m sure you do. You might even be one of these people.
I am not.
From the time I started going to clubs and parties (the summer after my senior year in high school), meeting women was my sole motivator for going. Not hanging out and bonding with my boys. I did that on the basketball court, watching basketball on TV, or playing basketball games on Playstation. Not to listen to new music. The radio and DJ Clue mixtapes did that for me. Not to just be around people. I’m an introvert, so “No New Friends” has been my personal soundtrack for three decades now. And definitely not to dance. I’d only get on the dance floor because, well, that’s where all the women were. Dancing was (and still is) a necessary evil.
This continued through college and into adulthood. While others had their own nuanced personal rubrics when grading club experiences (How was the DJ? Was it too hot? Were the drinks expensive?), mine was simple:
1. Where there cute girls there?
2. Did I get any phone numbers?
That’s it. The DJ could have played nothing but a loop of cats meowing all night, it could have been 125 degrees, and the drinks could have been $32 each, but if I met someone I liked and got her number, I had a great time.
You might be wondering why I’m speaking about this clubbing cut off as if it’s a bad thing. I mean, clubs and bars are (always) loud, (usually) dirty, (always) stinky, and (often) dangerous. Regardless of the reason for a decrease in clubbing, a decrease in clubbing is a good thing, right?
Perhaps. But going out is a part of the urban social experience. Maybe you’re not at the hottest nightclub in the city every week, but it’s hard to be a professional and not have to occasionally attend a mixer or a happy hour or a private party at a club. So now, since I can’t base my enjoyment on how many women I met that night, I have to do what normal people do: just enjoy myself.
Because I’m married now. And, according to my dad’s neighbor’s recently married nephew, I’ll need to find fun now wherever I can. (My dad’s neighbor’s recently married nephew probably shouldn’t be married.)