All night danceathons, putting on your highest heels and that dress that makes you feel all woman. Meeting eyes with a wickedly handsome stranger from across the club. This is the stuff of urban legend. For what its worth, the club isn’t the worst of places, but for a 20-something girl who was craving mental stimulation and more than a ridiculous credit card tab at the end of the night, the club was the last place I needed to be.
In a world where our culture is inundated with bottle popping and the jet setting lifestyle of celebrities, partying usually gets top billing. We see musicians, athletes and personalities living it up with $500 dollar bottles of champagne, decked out in expensive duds and having the unbelievable kind of fun that comes with unlimited bank accounts and high profiles.
At the age of 24, when my peers and I were knee deep in our first and second jobs, when our money was truly our own and accountability was low, partying and going out was de rigueur. Long day at the 9-5? A happy hour was sure to ease your troubles. Summer Fridays, don’t mind if I do. Saturday and Sunday night sweaty dance sessions, cue Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” For the stretch of one summer, partying, nightclubs and a Monday morning hangover were standard. I know what you’re saying, “You were young, who cares?” And in the moment surely not I.
But then suddenly the fun ended. The allure of out all nighters and excessive drinking started to fade. I looked at my young life of 24 and realized I was no closer to my dreams than the day I donned a cap and gown and proclaimed the future mine. Leisure took precedence and instead of celebrating the fruits of my hard work, I was partying like the rockstar I wasn’t nor wanted to be. My clock had struck midnight and sadly I was still at the ball, both glass slippers still intact.
My disillusionment with the club/party lifestyle isn’t singular. Genese Jamilah certainly doesn’t think so. Her own need to find other social avenues spurred her to create Idon’tdoclubs.com. “I Don’t Do Clubs is an event and lifestyle website that caters to African American professionals who want to be out and about just not in a nightclub.”
In our oversaturated nightlife culture finding fun that doesn’t involve a crowded venue was top priority for Genese. Never a fan of clubs, Genese was like many other 20-somethings, this writer included, looking for creative social outlets.
“I’ve never liked clubs. Even in college, I only went because there was nothing else to do on a Thursday night,” Genese says. “Clubs are hot, people step on your feet and spill overpriced drinks on your clothes. And let’s not forget the random men grabbing you as you and your friends hold hands just to make it to the restroom.”
For me, my club life reached its expiration date after a summer of nonstop fun. Each night started to look the same and I began to to feel like an extra in “Cheers” where everyone knew my name. I was burnt out and was in dire need of other stimulation to fill a void that had been growing. Instead of putting all my energy into Saturday nights I wanted to cultivate my artistic sensibilities: see plays, go to poetry readings, enjoy good food and most of all get back to pursuing my dreams.
Going cold turkey, I left the scene and I had no intentions of coming back. Throwing myself into my work and a new relationship, I discovered that going out wasn’t the only ticket in town. Club Couch became my hotspot and my own endeavors became VIP. And I didn’t have stand on line to get it.
While it may never happen to you, becoming bored with partying is a pretty regular occurrence for 20-somethings. When I grew tired, I sought to withdraw completely. But according to Genese that’s not the only way. In addition to visiting Idontdoclubs.com which features events in major cities including NYC, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami, Genese recommends using Facebook, Twitter and Google to see what your friends are doing or what events are going on in your area. She says, “Also join a group (or five) on Meetup.com to find people with common interests.”
After about a year hiatus, my work and creative life were picking up and other avenues were opening. I actively sought out art shows, visited museums and redefined my idea of a good time. And surprisingly I went to a club or two. Instead of having a lackluster time because of overexposure, I actually enjoyed myself, shook a tail feather and resolved to never be a slave to the club again.