this weird, empowering feeling

(the names of the innocent have been substituted with elemental abbreviations; partially because 3 of the 6 names begin with h, partially because it seemed fun)

this past weekend was a very good weekend, in terms of how much fun i had and in terms of how much i was able to take away from it (not including the new shorts, amazing new shoes, and this lush ocean salt scrub* that has been the best thing for my skin since the stocking stuffer H gave me when we lived together).

 

clubs haven’t been my thing recently. and by recently, i mean pretty much since i left college. but lately, i’ve been wanting to go dancing. and by lately, i mean since i made the playlist i’ve been listening to at work 12 days ago. so in spite of – or maybe in defiance of – my near-agoraphobic, anxiety-ridden self, i found myself getting more and more excited for a night or two out as H, Mg, and i drove down the highway towards charleston for H’s bachelorette party.

after arriving at our gorgeous abode for the weekend (courtesy of H & He’s aunt), a quick smoke session with a rat, and getting ready once He and Hs arrived, we uber-ed to mynt, a neon dance club that was, we learned, more neon than dance before midnight. with over an hour before anything was purported to happen at mynt, we headed next door to trio.

i preferred trio. mynt might have been more fun both nights if we had uppers. but i really appreciated trio for its grungy all-black, bare-walled, no-doors-on-the-bathrooms dance club feel. i danced until my feet hurt and my legs felt like they’d fall off. i took shots. i helped celebrate three bachelorette parties, including our own. i sat in something wet and sticky. i took my shoes off when we went to find food. i felt beautiful and fun and mysterious and like all the world was perfect for a moment.

between dancing downstairs at trio and checking out the VIP section upstairs, we sat for a breather outside. Mg wanted a cigarette, but none of us smoke. it’s never been difficult for me to bum a smoke from someone, but i didn’t feel like continuing to talk to anyone out there after asking for one. so i didn’t. but H did. and all she did was point to Mg, say, “she wants a cigarette,” and the guy handed her one before turning back around. it was the most straightforward exchange of a cigarette between 2 drunk(ish, on H’s part) people of the opposite sex i’d ever seen.

of course, the guy eventually turned back around to talk to us, but it was okay because we were done resting and wanted to check out the exclusive upstairs, which he said he could take us to and get us drinks since he had a key card. that was an actual thing the club did, but as we learned when we got upstairs (through two doors, neither of which had anyone checking for key cards), it was less a VIP thing, and more an anyone-with-probably-$5-can-buy-these-things thing. so we decided to get something to eat and go home.

after a misty day of fish tacos and margaritas, shopping, creamsicle martinis, and waiting for the sun to come out so we could go to the beach, He and Hs headed back home. we decided to pass on the beach and laid out on a dock over the marsh instead before coming back in where it wasn’t so windy to nap. i couldn’t nap. but i was able to make it out another night in a row without dreading it, despite all the SVU episodes i’d watched during naptime.

the drunk guy with a cigarette from the night before recommended prohibition, so that’s the club we decided to start at on saturday night. we never made it. our uber driver got distracted and dropped us off 11 blocks past it. once we walked back those blocks, we couldn’t find it amidst all the other clubs, so we stopped in one with a relatively short line, relatively good music, and what turned out to be a roof-top bar. on the roof, it was too crowded on the bar side, so we decided to just get drinks and head to the other side, which we later found out was near-empty for a cold, windy reason.

in an attempt to get to the bar, we found ourselves standing parallel to one of its sides, 4 rows of people deep. the two rows closest to the bar had drinks already, but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) move. the 3rd row between them and us turned out to be the “walkway,” so in trying to get drinks, all we’d managed to do was create a hallway for the people leaving between us and row 2.

at a break in traffic, i stepped closer to row 2, causing the walkway to divert behind us. rows 1 and 2 still had full drinks, either because they weren’t drinking them or because they were within ordering range of the bar. so, channeling H’s straightforward-ness from the night before, i made eye contact with the two guys in column 3, and said, “i need to get to the bar.” they said something to the effect of, “oh, yeah, sure,” got the girls they were talking to in column 4, and moved toward the empty side of the roof, making room for H, Mg, and i to get to the bar and our beers.

it was a weird, sort of empowering. i’d gotten what i wanted not from asking for it, apologizing, and making sure not to impose on the other person (as is my usual method), but by saying that this is what i want and implying that i don’t care if you do have to move for me to get it. i felt like i’d walked into the club on george clooney’s arm when i ordered my michelob ultra.

we headed back downstairs to dance. by our second song down there, more people had come down from the roof, and more people had been let in the door right next to us, making the dance floor significantly more crowded. by the third song, a bachelorette group decided to start taking pictures on the edge of the dance floor, right where we were dancing. they didn’t notice themselves backing up, not even when my arm was planted firmly between one of the girls’ shoulder blades.

that wasn’t intentional; i just couldn’t move. a girl from another bachelorette group on the other side of me refused to move and even started backing up to take my space when i accidentally bumped into her one too many times. i couldn’t go backward; one of the two men over 50 in the entire place was standing there just staring at me. i couldn’t go forwards; the other of the two men over 50 was on the other side of H and Mg dancing and staring at them. i wasn’t about to send any of us closer to either of them.

so i stood my ground. literally. i’d carried that empowerment from the roof down with me, and planted my giant, thick heels right where they were, finished my beer while still shaking my ass to the 90s pop-influenced dj, and walked out with H and Mg, apparently only just before it looked like bachelorette bitch #2 was going to try to start a fight with me. i’ve never had anyone look at me like they wanted to fight me before. i’m not the type to figuratively step on someone’s toes, or literally elbow** them in the back to keep them from running over me. but, again, weirdly empowering.

we rode a bike cart back to trio, where we’d all had fun the night before, but the line was too long for us to anticipate getting in before the mandatory 2:00 a.m. close on saturday nights. So we popped into mynt. There was certainly more dancing, it being after midnight, but the dance floor was a near-impossible-to-move-in mass, through which we had to pass to go pee before refilling on drinks. so we decided to stay on the landing above the dance floor (the one that wasn’t roped off to VIPs) that had a few small tables, room to dance, and cute guys staring at us.

earlier that day i’d read on timehop some tweets i’d sent a few years earlier, calling out people who say they want to party like gatsby for having never read the book.*** standing 6 feet above the mass of people, watching them, seeing how they react to each other, I thought back to those tweets. and i realized i was (and that i didn’t really mind) actually “partying” like gatsby; and, in fact, i enjoyed it much more than i’d enjoyed the night before. i wasn’t in the midst of what i’m sure others would call the actual party, but i could still dance; i had easy access to drinks. i had a trace feeling of superiority. and it felt good.

after last call, we came home exhausted. sunday morning, we left later than we’d anticipated. we spent too much time waiting at the restaurant to eat brunch to be able to get to the beach before we had to come back. it was a little disappointing, but it would have been more disappointing being on a beach where i couldn’t get in the water. plus this ocean salt has a great way of making my skin feel like it’s been lovingly sea-and-sand beaten. brunch was good; the mimosas were great. the ride home was exhausting, but i always thought rides home should be. when you’re tired when you get home it’s easier to decompress and not miss where you’ve been.

it’s not surprising that this feeling came about after being surrounded by positive, uplifting girl friends for a few days. and i need to remember how that’s something that caused this serious of a positive effect in my life.  i need to keep this confident, competent, weird, empowered feeling going for as long as i can. because i really love it, and i think i could really get used to it.

 

 

 

*i linked this so you can treat yo’ self to some cause seriously it’s the best thing ever.

**okay, i didn’t actually elbow her. my elbows were sticking out farther than the tops of my arms, and she kept backing into my right one. it was her own dumb fault, but like i could’ve convinced her drunken self of that.

***the argument being that people say they want to “party like gatsby,” but what they mean is they want to party like a participant at one of gatsby’s parties. gatsby only ever “attended” one of his parties; the rest he watched from his office, waiting for one person to show up.

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