I’m suffocating. The pungent aromas of smoke, body odor, sweat, and lust clog my nose and throat.
I’m melting. I’m melting into the tangle of limbs that sway, thrust, and grind in all directions that surround me. The sweat pours down these bodies and pools in the floor beneath our feet.
I’m desolate. I’m extremely uncomfortable as I stand in the middle of this lustful and boastful crowd.
I glance around the dance floor and see the comfortable faces of those I came with. I use them as an anchor so I don’t get lost in the swarm of people. I came here because my girl friends told me it was exhilarating and unlike any other experience. They were right, it is like any other experience. Unfortunately, it is an experience I would rather not repeat. I’ve never had the personality to throw away all my inhibitions and partner with some stranger, or multiple strangers, to dance the night away. I lack the “self-esteem” or wantonness my fellow female peers exhibit.
Entering the club the loud music surrounded me as stroking lights attacked my eyes. Scantily clad girls ran past me, enjoying how the men lining the walls would undress them with their eyes as they flounce by. I was able to pass undressed, I think, as I shrank in behind my companions. I tried to muster up the excitement they wanted from me. Here I was, finally participating in one of the hobbies most people my age enjoy. We entered the main room, and I gulped with fear. Sweat was already prickling the edges of my hair and beading on my forehead.
My companions threw their arms up in excitement, scanning the room with their eyes, trying to decide which part of the floor they would claim as their stomping ground. This is an important decision in the “clubbing” world, I learned. You want to make sure you are around attractive males that you wouldn’t mind dancing with, and stray away from the ironically more available creepy strangers that circle the floors like vultures looking for prey. They sit on the sidelines watching as girls who they normally wouldn’t have a chance with down enough alcohol to be almost completely debilitated. When the girls almost fall down in their drunken state, there are the vultures to hold them up by their breasts or buttocks.
So, once the perfect spot is chosen we congregate in a circle and my friends go to work. Bodies swaying, eyes suggestively but not aggressively searching the surrounding area for potential partners. I stand there awkwardly moving and trying to get into it so I’m not the butt of a joke from the ones who see me. People do make fun of other people at dance clubs. I’ve seen it. People point, laugh, snicker, and taunt. That’s not for me. As I move and get a little bit into the dancing, I get groped from behind. Turning I see it is an older Hispanic man. I politely say no thank you, declining his forward invitation to dance with him. As I turn back to the music, face hot and blood pumping, his hands find my hips again as he tries to sway behind me. I turn around more ferociously and put my hand in his face, proclaiming loudly, “No!” He finally leaves. If only that was the only awkward encounter I have stumbled through on the floor.
After the song is over, the emotions all begin to choke me. I see my companions being snatched up by attractive men, although some aren’t, and I watch as my friends close their eyes with half smiles as the men travel their hands across the plains of their bodies. I stand there alone and glance around me. The only thing I see is bodies. The only thing I feel is sweat and heat. The only thing I smell is perfume and sex. I can’t breathe. My blood is throbbing so loudly I feel like it has become one with the bass system the club has bouncing off its’ walls and reverberating through the floors. I have to get out. I have to be able to breathe anything other than the people around me.
Before my companions know I’m gone, I have pushed with more intensity than I ever put into dancing, out onto the back deck. This is where most come to get air and smoke. I try to covertly mask my feelings and emerging tears. I fumble for a cigarette and choose a spot that I will occupy. Either one of my closest friends or, more probably, my male cousin would come and comfort me. My cousin, Bruce, would come down from Lejeune and accompany us out to rustle up some entertainment for the night or weekend. Usually, but not always, sacrificing a night of short pleasure for himself, it would be him that would talk me down and boost my spirits through buying me tequila to sharing a cigarette with me. He would make me feel better by talking about how stupid the girls were at that particular joint. I miss my cousin. He was and still is much like an older brother to me. After he got out of the Marines, he went back home up north. Once my female companions would find me, they would try to get me back out onto the floor. Usually Bruce would help them, once he knew I was okay, and corral me to the floor. He would then dance with our group, making up ridiculous dances to just have fun instead of dancing for attention. That is what I enjoyed, if anything, at the clubs.
Towards the end of the night I would either be tipsy with the tequila Bruce had slipped to me, or exhausted with the roller-coaster of emotional turmoil. Eventually, I did get a little more comfortable going out dancing. Attractive men would want to dance, as would the never-ending “creepers”. I never have been able to get over the feeling of not belonging there. I know I don’t. I look around, sometimes with envy, more times with disgust, at the girls that flaunt themselves. And for what? For being the object of a guy’s attention and lust for one night? No, thank you. I’m good.
It’s amazing to me that I can feel so utterly asphyxiated by crowds and smells at clubs, but can feel absolutely at ease in the midst of the pressing throngs at concerts. I’m reluctant to say I lose all of my claustrophobia entirely, but most of it is gone. Maybe because I know most of the people around me are there for the same reasons as I; to enjoy the music and atmosphere. As with any grouping of adult males with females, adding the lubricant of alcohol, there are the females on display, and the men enjoying the view.
I will never desire to go clubbing again. The experiences, as I said, are not worth repeating. In the times that I visited the clubs, I never had such a good time that I would forego any of the worlds other pleasures, to be grinded on like a stripper pole by intoxicated men with sweaty hungry hands and hot stinky breath.
I am so content in Matt’s company and arms. Yesterday, we indulged in a guilty pleasure of our own. We laid in bed and watched football, and documentaries on ancient Egyptians, all day. I watched as my Giants won their fourth game in a row. About time, I know. They still have a long way to go. I also watched as my main man, Peyton Manning, led the Broncos to a huge victory over the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Next Sunday is my dream game. My most beloved football team, the Denver Broncos, versus my most hated team, the New England Patriots. Manning versus Brady. If that doesn’t get your panties twisted, I don’t know what will. It was a perfect day. I’ll trade getting dry-humped by strangers to a day in bed with my man, making love, watching football and historical documentaries, eating junk food, slurping on coffee with a cigarette, and washing the days’ laziness off with a late shower, any day.
Any damn day.