A few weeks ago, I went to the club for the first time in about three years. I had a wonderful time, mainly because it was a hilarious experience. It’s no secret that going to the club when you’re 30 is different than going to the club when you’re 21. And while this wasn’t a shocking revelation for me, I couldn’t stop laughing at how awkward I felt on my old stomping grounds.
If clubbing were a sport, I would’ve won a medal five years ago. I literally spent every Friday and Saturday night “out” (sometimes Thursday nights too). After a devastating breakup, I convinced myself that I needed alcohol and male attention. Really, what I needed was a healthy way to deal my loneliness and heartache. Instead, clubbing became my coping strategy of choice – until graduate school took over my life.
Five years later, I know 30 isn’t old. But when you’re yawning before you’ve even headed out the door, it’s hard to remember that. Seriously, when the clock stroke nine o’clock that night, I contemplated bailing. The thought of watching House Hunters in my PJs was just so tempting. The thought of leaving my dog behind tore me up inside, too.
But I didn’t bail. Instead, I asked my friend to join me. And together we went to another friend’s going away party at “Pittsburgh’s premiere, upscale party bar.” Here are a few things that happened that night that would have NEVER happened during my twenties.
1. I Wore A Dress That Came Down Past My Knees
Not one of those cute maxi dresses either. You see, I had a speaking engagement earlier that day at a local middle school. Due to my busy schedule, I had no time to change afterward. Which is why I wore a conservative purple dress to the club.
Years ago, I spent hours getting ready for a night of clubbing. In fact, I had a routine: I’d go to the mall for something sexy and clingy, head to gym for a few hours, and then get dolled up to go. It was my own version of Jersey Shore, except I never went tanning because I’m black.
While I wouldn’t say I felt sexy that night, I did feel like myself. And I certainly didn’t miss the five inch heels and miniskirts either. My wardrobe suits me just fine these days, though I’m sure in a few years, my tastes will change again. For now, I figure, if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for the club.
2. I Ordered a Glass of Wine
Once we arrived, my inner Olivia Pope was yearning for some red – it didn’t matter what kind. So after shooing away a Miller Lite girl, I headed straight to the bar and inquired about my options. After disappearing for five minutes, the bartender came back and offered me one choice: merlot. “Sorry, we don’t have much to choose from…not a lot of folks order wine here!” she yelled over the loud music. “It’s fine. I just need one glass!” I yelled back, giving her my card. Again, she disappeared, on the hunt for a bottle opener. Minutes later, she handed me the biggest glass of wine I’d ever seen. Seriously, she practically filled it to the top.
“Since not a lot of people get wine here, she probably didn’t want to waste the bottle,” my friend theorized.
My inner Olivia Pope smiled. I used to order two shots of Patron whenever I went clubbing, but I had an early meeting to attend the next day. One heaping glass of wine would have to do.
3. I Felt Scared To Dance
It’s silly, but I almost ordered another glass of wine because I felt so shy on the dance floor. Then I remembered how heavy-handed the bartender was and decided against it. Instead, I had a brief dialogue with myself. It went a little something like this:
“Akirah, you love to dance! Why are you scared to dance?”
“Because when I dance, I move my hips a lot. And I’m scared I’ll look silly dancing like that in this conservative dress. I just spoke to middle schoolers in this dress. Now I’m going to booty shake in it?”
“Girl, who cares? You didn’t drive all the way here to not have fun with your friends. Treat. Yo. Self!”
Then, at that exact moment, Taylor Swift came on. And I shook it off.
4. I Told Men To Leave Me Alone (Using My Words)
My inner pep talk must’ve worked because during “Back That Thang Up” two guys came up to me wanting to dance. I can’t really blame them because “Back That Thang Up” is my jam and I know I looked good backin’ my thang up. Even so, their intrusion needed to be nipped in the bud real fast because I’m too old and too married to be grindin’ with strangers at the club.
As soon as they scooted closer to me, I stood still and crossed my arms. (I think, maybe, time stood still too.)
“Nope. We’re not gonna do that,” I said to them, in my stern “mom voice.”
As they walked away, surprised and dejected, I turned my attention back toward Juvenile. Not needing the approval of men felt like such a win that I think I did a few extra twerks to celebrate.
5. Afterward, I Complained About My Aching Body Parts
My ears were ringing and my friend’s knees hurt, so we complained about that all the way to the car. The second we realized what we were doing, we turned to one another and laughed. We had only planned to stay two hours and ended up hanging in there for four. So, in a way those body aches felt like battle scars. And since we earned those scars, I guess we thought we earned the right to complain about them, too.
So we got in the car and complained some more.
I’m probably not going back to the club any time soon. Even though I had fun, when it comes to Friday night plans, I’m definitely more of a dinner-and-a-movie girl. Even so, it’s nice to know I can still get down. I might not do shots of Patron in five inch heels anymore, but I had fun in my purple dress. It felt good to get out of my comfort zone a bit, too.
So what’s my big takeaway from the night? Well, perhaps even though I’m 30, I don’t have to watch House Hunters in my PJs every Friday night. Perhaps some Friday nights what I really need is the dance floor.