The Clubbing Scene

A narrative of the first time I went clubbing.

4-18-2003 --> 4-19-2003


By Michael Chungkun Chen

Copyright (C) 2003 All Rights Reserved.

From a quiet introverted guy, the first time clubbing is definitely an experience to write about.  I think I had fun, but then again I always make sure I have fun in everything that I do because life should just be that way.

I will begin from the entrance to the club, Highlands in Hollywood, LA.  It was roughly 9:20 pm, I was with my roommate, and his girlfriend; we had arrived there about twenty minutes after the club opened and we were waiting around for some friends of my roommate's girlfriend.  UCLA and USC had basically joined together in providing free entry for graduate students and one of their guests.  They call it GradBar.  One of the people we were waiting for wanted to get in free and I had no guest of my own so I agreed to bring him in, I'm always happy to help someone out.

When the guy arrived around 9:40 pm or so, a line had started to form and we were a little confused as to which line to line up in.  So after a little bit of shuffling back and forth we wound up in the front of the line and they checked my student ID and driver's license, once I passed their test, I got a happy face stamp on my hand which sort of looks like "^_^".

Once I passed the red cordon I started to get excited, this is where they're supposed to use metal detectors or something to check you don't have anything dangerous.  I got my keys out and put my ID back into my wallet and held my hands out while they guy patted my torso, arms, and legs...  I'm sure glad he skipped my crotch, because I don't feel too comfortable with guys touching me there, I might not mind girls, but that would be a whole different story that probably won't happen until I get married or something.  But I was getting giddy since it was the first time I've been patted down.  I think the time at the airport they only used the metal detector swept over my body.

With that excitement passed I was eager for the rest of the night.  I basically followed my roommate and his girlfriend to the main club area that was pretty big considering it was on the top floor and there was a mallish type of community around that building.  From the start not many people had arrived yet so the floor was pretty empty still and the music was just going in the background.  My roommate’s girlfriend wanted to get some of the free sampler drinks so we headed towards the VIP room reserved for us graduate students.  We meandered around until we figured out the general direction of the free drinks and we headed towards it.  We walked past some people and I overhead that there was a line for the samplers, so I inform the rest of the group I was with about it and head towards the end.

After negotiating through the people traffic and confirming that I reached the end of the line, we waited for quite a while and the line never advanced.  My roommate and his girlfriend decided to join the other people that didn’t get in as graduate students that were part of our group and I stayed in line.  After a few more minutes, there was a bartender bringing over more supplies and the line started moving again.  They must have run out of supplies and that was what caused the line to not move for the longest time.

There was some music there so I decided to start bobbing my head to the beat to try to look cool and more importantly to figure out the beats.  Having never really danced before except maybe once at a dormitory organized dance in the parking lot really doesn't give me much experience.  So I was patiently waiting, moving forwards slowly but steadily.  All the time I was looking around, seeing the people, and drinking in the experience.  Soon my roommate's girlfriend's classmate's brother joined me at the front of the line and we started chatting.  We didn't say much and it was mostly a simple exchange of where we are in school and stuff.  Soon we were at the front and I asked for two Sidecar drinks.  I had no idea what it was but I figured it beat scotch.  So I grabbed the two drinks and headed out to find my roommate.

Trying to negotiate through people traffic in a crowded club while holding two drinks in shallow glasses is not such a good idea.  I nearly spilt them on multiple occasions, especially when people insist on greeting people they know by handshakes and back pats that pushes into other people.  So I finally spot my roommate and hand one of the drinks to him and I sip my own.

Now that was a taste that is hard to forget, initially sweet, but then the alcoholic aftertaste flares up and bites, while the liquid starts to warm up the bottom of your stomach.  The scent is disguised within the sweet aroma that conceals the burning liquid hiding underneath.  I didn't like it... but then again I really don't like anything alcoholic, it's always bitter.

After I met up with my roommate, our small group headed towards our larger group to join up, the dance floor started to have people on it and we were on the sides drinking our drinks.  My roommate took a sip, handed it off to his girlfriend to sip, who one by one handed it off to her friends to try.  No one liked it and my roommate was stuck with it to finish.  Sort of funny I think, and I on the other hand had no one to hand it off to, so I worked at the foul liquid gulp by gulp.

This reminds me a the Star trek movie where Data finally installs his emotion chip and tests out a drink from Guinan at ten-forward... He smells, then sips... wrinkles his face and begins to describe his sensation...  "I... I...I hate this stuff...."  Data says after Geordi provides the description that Data was expressing. "Give me more!" exclaims Data.  That is sort of how I was taking it, I hated the stuff but I just kept on sipping more.

It was good because once I was done with the foul liquid, there was a nice cherry left to eat, and that cherry was a lifesaver, it got rid of the nasty taste in my mouth and provided me with a very pleasant sensation of sweetness that wasn't accompanied with a heavy burning kick.

All this while the girls decided to start dancing in a circle and left the guys holding onto the drinks.  I was the first to finish, since my body weight and mental focusing skills allowed me to consume the foul poison at a faster rate, and I left the glass on a counter top nearby, the brother person that got the drinks with me in line also finished his and so had his female friend.  So I walk up to my roommate's girlfriend and her group of friends and start dancing next to her.  At the time there was a random guy that was just dancing as part of the group, it was sort of strange, but he wasn't doing anything bad.

The music was blaring loud, conversations were pointless and nobody tried, people just tried to bop to the beat and some like me failed miserably.  While there, the volume seemed decent and you wouldn't notice how loud it was.  So I bopped along trying to match the rhythms, trying out different moves, basically making a fool out of myself, but I didn't care, and nobody else seemed to mind or make a big deal out of it, so I continued.  For the most part I was moving way too much, but I didn't stand out too much since there were probably many crazy dancers out there also.

For the longest time I was just moving.  Trying to match the rhythm whenever they had a song switched, and failing at some, and getting others down ok.  It was definitely fun, I was viewing it as a great way to move around and get exercise, and it was nice seeing so many people happy.  I continued to move, the group that I was dancing in a circle with moved away little by little and in the end it was just me, my roommate, and his girlfriend.  We continued dancing and I was basically the lone dancer and I didn't really care... I'm used to feeling awkward and can shrug it off like rain.  The original group had formed a new circle on the edge of the dance area, and we were still in the centerish area.

That continued a bit and after a while one of the girls from the original circle dragged me over to the new circle, and my roommate and his girlfriend followed.  So we continued to dance, I continued to exercise, by now I had sweated up a storm already and was still going.  Thankfully I wasn't dripping, just soaking my very absorbent shirt.  I had already partially unbuttoned my overcoat type shirt because of the heat, and it was nice since I had a thinner shirt underneath.

After a while, I guess I was sweating too much or something and my roommate decided to pull me outside, so I think whatever, why not, and we headed out.  Out side was nice and cool, but full of smokers, fortunately though I was able to get to an opened spot that had fresh air blowing inwards.  I got a chance to take off my overcoat, and aired it out to try and dry it.  I basically was taking a breather, but my body was definitely just warming up.  It is quite amazing, but I think I'm actually more fit than many people believe.  My body doesn't really get tired when exposed to low-level cardiovascular activity, and dancing is definitely low level.

Right as we got outside I was able to notice that I couldn't hear very well, all the sounds were muffled and it felt like my ears were under pressure and needed to be popped like when you go up in high altitudes.  That was how loud the music really was.  It's hard to notice when you are hearing it, but when you get out you definitely notice.

When we were out there I basically asked my roommate lots of stuff, mostly about how horrible my dancing was, and either he's being nice and said it's not horrible, or it's actually not horrible, but definitely not good either type of deal.  I also asked which girls from his girlfriend’s group were attached because I didn't want to accidentally get the wrong impression.  It's important that I get the right impression in my mind because I think most people do lots of stuff unconsciously, which reflects what they think.  If I thought that certain ones may be available, I might have done something unconsciously that would have scared one of them.  I found out that most of them where attached so I felt safer, I knew I wouldn't do something stupid.

So after we aired out a bit my roommate suggested that we walk around, but as we neared the VIPs lounge, he heard a song he liked so we headed in to join up with the group so we can dance more.  It was cool, I tried to move less to make sure that I didn't overheat again, and since I basically have been getting feed back that I was moving too much and off beat, I was paying more attention to the beats.  That was when these two sleazy guys tried some funny stuff with the girls in circle.

One of the guys cuts into the center of the circle and starts dancing with the girls, I began to take note of the reactions to judge if that behavior was wanted, the girls seemed sort of adverse but wasn't offhandedly rude.  Later I find out that they at first thought it was someone that I knew or the other roommate knew, but after they were informed of the reality, they began to shrink away from these guys more visibly.  These two guys would alternate bursting into our circle and freaking the girls, normally if the girls didn't mind or enjoyed it I wouldn't have any right to interfere, but I noticed the distaste and maybe disgust these girls seemed to be directing towards these girls, so I try to keep them out of the circle by acting like a human wall.  Some of the other guys that were part of our group noticed also and started to head to my side to help form the wall of guys.

It wasn't working too well because the guys were really just standing there so the two sleaze bags were pushing their way into the circle once more.  After this happened, I decided to use my most powerful weapon!  Awful dancing.  So I stepped up my movement to crazy butt sticking and basically bashed the guys whenever they tried to get by me.  I definitely enjoyed being able to keep the girls of the group safe from some sick drunk.  It was very effective, I had a wide berth behind me, and the two guys moved on towards less defended people.

I don't know how many people noticed the strange behavior I was exhibiting and connected it with my true goal to protect and serve.  But luckily it worked, and I didn't have to worry about it.  One worry I had was that I might have overstepped by authority as a concerned person who happens to be part of the same group.  But I abstained from action until I felt sure that those two shady characters were truly unwanted, so I don't feel too bad.

But we all danced happily some more and had lots of fun.  I might have accidentally bumped into a few people, and my keys in my pocket might have jabbed some people in their butts if we collided, but for a first or maybe second time dancer, I don't think I did too horribly.  After an hour or so of dancing we started to head towards the VIP room which by now was opened to all since they weren't giving away free drinks anymore, and our group headed in.  I was holding my jacket on my arm, and on the way in a girl in front of me stopped and as I was walking past the part of my coat that was sticking out somehow got caught on the zipper on her bodice.

I immediately felt a slight tug on my coat and knew it was caught on something, when I realized it was someone's zipper I thought it was funny, like who would wear something with zippers that large that it would catch onto stuff.  Definitely not a good design of clothing, but a simple release of tension on the coat separated the two articles of clothing and I was able to move on and catch up with my group.

Some of the girls decided to sit down on the arm of the couch, and my roommate's girlfriend wanted him to get her a cup of ice water, and I started to feel kind of thirsty also so I tagged along.  We got ourselves some water and drank it; it was mostly filled with ice though.

After we came back to the couch, I was drinking my water, while my roommate’s girlfriend drank hers and passed it around to the other girls.  Sooner or later there was a ton of people walking behind me so I was having trouble keeping upright because I kept on getting bumped into and at one point I almost fell over on some people and that’s when I went over to the edge of the arm to sit down to keep myself from falling.  So we were mostly sitting there, a few spoken words at odd intervals, I was mostly observing the people seeing how people acted and the basic atmosphere.  Parts of our group kept on going out to dance and coming back, and it was quite confusing.

There was a large number of people that were part of my group all known through my roommate's girlfriend, so I basically spent most of this time trying to keep the people straight in my mind... I'm certain by the end I either wound up more confused than I started, or I figured it our and just plumb forgot because there was just so many people.  After a long time sitting and resting nothing much happened, pretty uneventful at that part except some idle chatting.

It was still too loud so conversation really wasn't happening, and our voices were starting to get hoarse.  I started using my diaphragm to speak in order to save my vocal chords the pain.  It actually works pretty well so that is a cool trick I picked up.

At around 1:10 am we started to head out.  We've been there for a bit, I was getting hungry, my roommate's girlfriend was tired, so we called it a night and headed out.  When we got outside, my hearing was definitely shot; everything was muffled and toned out.  After about ten minutes outside, I started to hear ringing in my ears.  And it's now been two or three hours and I still hear ringing, in fact it's louder now.

When I got home I immediately tested my ears with different frequencies and found out that my ears were ringing at about 6.2KHz.  Interesting is it not?  But that concludes my first night of clubbing.

For those of you who've never gone clubbing before, would it be right for you?  If you're a guy, it's a cool place to be, fun to dance and people watch, if you have a special lady, it's fun to dance with each other, but you have to keep one eye out so you can keep the dirt bags away.  Many people meet people there, I wouldn't... you really don't get a chance to converse at all, people meeting there must judge based primarily on looks and ability to dance.  Not a very good prospect for long term relationships, but to each their own I always say.  I just wouldn't go there to find a girlfriend.

If you're a girl, if you like dancing, and getting miscellaneous strangers coming up and dancing or freaking with you, then it's for you.  If you want to dance but don't like the strangers part, get some of your guy friends or your boyfriend if you have one to go with you so they can keep an eye out on you.  If you just want to meet people for intelligent conversation, it is definitely not the place, one thing is that you can't hear the other person, another is the other person probably can't think with the loud music blaring.  But if you just want to pick up a guy for a fling or something, clubs might just be the place for you, once again, to each their own.

So anyone have any comments?  Ideas to add?  Flames because what I say is stupid?  Definitely use my message board or email me.  I'm going to drink some water to make sure I don't get a headache.  Of course I only had one drink and with my body weight there is barely any alcohol to go around for even 0.1% of the cells, but better safe than sorry.

-//\ ichael  ( hen

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