Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Club Scene: “My Body Weary, I Can’t Do It Like I Used To”

A reference to his diminishing virility, Bernie Mac offered the quoted title of this post in Spike Lee’s 2000 release The Original Kings of Comedy and at the vigorous age of 22, I can’t help but feel the same way about the club scene. It just doesn’t have the appeal that it once had -- all of 6 months ago.

Perhaps the delusions of grandeur have finally caught up with me. A little over a year ago I would find my space in the basement of the library of my undergraduate institution, spread my books over my desk, power up my laptop and immerse myself in seemingly endless hours of coursework. At the time, a good deal of my academic discipline could be attributed to my faith that once I had paid my academic dues I would be living a Gotham city lifestyle where I would be “popping bottles and dating models” on a very regular basis.

Well, I’ve popped my share of bottles and have a girlfriend who is comparable to any model (modestly speaking of course), so I can’t say that hasn’t been the case, but in the process of spending the majority of my weekends posturing and two-stepping in the club, I always find myself departing with significantly less fulfillment than when I entered.

I’m not quite sure when my attitude towards the club scene changed so drastically. Perhaps it was one night at the Roxy late last year when the DJ asked all those who made at least 30K and drove at least a 2001 model vehicle to raise their drinks to the sky. Like a shallow drone, I followed suit and proclaimed my status alongside all the other patrons, only to chuckle at the trivialness of it all once I left the club.

Another area to be considered is my radio listening habit in the daily drive to and from work. While my morning commute is strictly AM news, the evening drive home is my FM time to unwind, shoulder leaning and finger snapping all by myself in the driver’s seat. Sooner than later, even the triviality of this exposed itself, as the lack of selection amongst New York City’s hip-hop radio scene quickly creates a shallow individual out of the best of us. And people wonder how New York MC’s fell off -- it’s because they listen to the radio!

Or maybe it was the frigid night I stood on line with Brother Brolicness outside of a club that shall remain nameless in the Meatpacking district, only to be asked if our names were on the guest list that didn’t exist. An accomplished two-stepper and sharp dresser, I took that slight to heart, silently pledging that I would never again position myself at the whims of the narrow minded metro meritocracy. The inconsistent human being I am, only a week later I found myself online at another club, again subject to the whims of the bouncer.

And it seems like every time I’m at the 40/40 club the patrons in attendance seem older. For the record, I’m far past the point in my life where adolescent grinding behind a stranger is enjoyable, but when a significant amount of the people that surround me look like they’ve hired a babysitter to care for the several children they’ve left at home, there is something fundamentally wrong.

Those situations and countless others aside, I think I’ve finally arrived at the point where the club holds very little draw for me. After all, I never drank too heavy in college and spending a significant portion of my paycheck at the bar after pushing aside those next to me to get a drink never really was much fun. I’m even finding that my two-stepping doesn’t bring me the same joy that it once did. As one who has cut his fair share of rug in the club, the appeal of it all is beginning to be lost on me. And who do I really expect to meet in the club that’s going to add any significant value to my life?

I’ve quickly realized that the best company in the club is my friends. Persuading a woman to dance off the strength of my aesthetic appeal has become old all too quickly. So where does my social ambition go from here?

I’m seriously beginning to think that all of those prayers my God-fearing mother cast that I would not be tempted by the spoils of this sinful world are beginning to come to pass. It happened much quicker than I thought it would, but church, mentoring, and the company of close friends are easily becoming the most fulfilling aspects of my life. I suppose it should be that way, but the rate at which it has happened (did I mention I was only 22??) is staggering.

I’ll take it all as a sign that I’m well on pace to achieving something greater than the club might have to offer. That’s something to raise a drink to. I’d like to propose a toast!


Brother Smartness said...

Wow Brah,

I'm so glad you wrote about this. The thing that really hit me was what you said about meaningful relationships that are cultivated at these establishments. These relationships never happen because everyone has a mask on at these clubs.

It's all a show. Women put on their best and most revealing outfits. Men flaunt money knots the size of an X-Box (Cam'ron reference). It's all very fake and yet I'm drawn to the showcase.

Brother Lightness said...

Perhaps we should refer to the club as Vaudeville, because this showcase we're drawn to isn't anything but a minstrel show.

Brother Afrocan said...

Lightness, I share your consternation on the issue of declining appeal to out. But I also find myself faced with a second dilemma that is almost diametrically opposed to my club indifference problem. I dont know how many people face this, but I am finding that the long hours I face in my office staring at excel worksheets and typing my fingers raw are monopolizing my freetime. When I do get time to enjoy away from work- usually on Friday and Saturday evenings, the options are limited to a quiet evening at home, maybe a blockbuster rental with company or the club scene. Despite the fact that the club scene offers a poor excuse for social interaction, for myself and I believe many of the other people that find themselves in the club, it is the only avenue of social interaction available given our busy schedules. It makes me suspect that college was probably the height of our social lives, when we had time and an abundance of diverse activities to share with people beyond the restrictions of what the club has to offer.

Brother Smartness said...

Clubs have monopolized the night scene. I can't think of anything else to do on a Friday/Saturday night that affords me the same sense of anticipation that I receive in knowing that I'm about to hit up some new night club that's supposed to be 'the muphuqin truth.'

The thought is quite sad actually.

I'm certainly up for suggestions if anyone has one.

Brother Lightness said...

I suggest we start our own social gatherings on Friday and Saturday nights in our own residences. Bring together brothers and sisters of like mind and have them sit down to talk about whatever they desire. It doesn't have to be heavy discussion, but discussion that evolves on its own merit. Something as simple as watching music videos or movies together and letting conversation develop.

There are certainly more engaging ways to express ourselves than by finger-snapping to music that many of us don't even agree with.