Our Arts Editor Goes Clubbing, Finds America

Near the back of my closet, I have two bright pink costume dresses I've worn to theme parties; I have my sister's garish red prom dress; five versions of the little black dress that hit too close to my kneecaps to be properly labeled little; and tucked somewhere near the back I find a shock blue ass-hugging piece of cloth that is a little too long to be a shirt and a little too short to be a dress I'd ever wear to the low-key, backyard watering holes where I usually drown my Saturday nights.

But if I'm going to go to an Uptown club, I'm going to behave like I did in college, when "going out" was just what you did on the weekends. That's why I'm downing a bottle of pinot grigio, stuffing my feet into a precarious pair of stilettos, smearing glitter on my eyes, and blasting music so loud it scares away the stray cats we feed on my front porch in Old East Dallas.

Before you accuse me of being an artsy snob who is planning to treat her night at a club like a travel writer approaches the Amazon, let me clarify. I'm just a few years out of university, where going down to Armory Square -- Syracuse's version of Uptown -- was a weekly ritual. I'd pre-game with my girlfriends, unless I was the "DD" (we were in graduate school, so we did responsible things like not drink and drive). We'd pile on the makeup, upload sexy photos to Facebook, blast Rhianna's newest song and feel like kings. That feeling when you're cruising down the highway, or walking into the club with crew, that "I shit gold" feeling -- I've felt it, and sometimes when I'm sitting through a particularly boring play, I miss it.

But these days my closest experience to dancing on a pole or taking shots with strange, friendly men and then ditching him to dance with my girls is when I get a little too drunk at Record Lounge and my roommate requests Herb Alpert and we start dancing. I belong in a Peanuts dance party, not in a laser-disco-panties-optional dance party. But that's where I was headed Saturday night to see DJ Inzo at Winston's Supperclub.

And an hour before I'm supposed to leave, I'm sitting in front of my computer, trying to remember what a club is like.

You've probably never Googled advice on things to wear to the club, or what to expect at a club (and why would you?), so you probably don't know that there are sites like AskMen.com that offer tips like "Slip it to Him" (to the bouncer, that is), or "Don't be a Request Pest" (to the DJ). I was hoping for tips on how to shake my ass without looking like my grandmother after too many cosmos, or how to take shots without passing out.

If the Internet is where we find like-minded people, I was having a hard time finding any online forums for self-described dorks nervous about going to the club. People go out to dance, to show off, to feel good -- not to implode their self esteem.

Winston's Supper Club: red carpet entry into a mirrored capsule, lasers popping around the room, tendrils of fake plants wrapping around the arms of chandeliers, and walking around the club is a polar bear carrying a sign that reads: "Welcome to the Jungle, Bitches." There's even a backroom bar (or front-room, I was pretty jumbled early into the night) called "OMG" that is like a soda parlor in an imagined adult Disney World --umbrellas float from the ceiling, an attractive girl in a bejeweled mask sits on a wooden swing overhead, and there are mirrors everywhere. This place is cooler than the clubs I remember.

The dance floor is tiny, but we've arrived before midnight so there's plenty of room to dance. Although, honestly I'd rather watch the go-go dancers. Outside of the club, I'd flick my boyfriend's ear and remind him that the white bikini he's staring at is barely covering somebody's daughter's ass, but in here, everything's OK. It's the black hole of polite company -- more normal than sex dungeons, but filled with naughty fantasy.

At one point, DJ Inzo sent over shots (he grew up with my boyfriend), and before I know it, I've exited the gleeful dancing stage of drunkenness, entering the philosophical pondering in which I love everything and want to kiss everyone (when I'm single). I pulled my boyfriend back into OMG, and began an impassioned speech about how everyone in the art world should be forced to go to the club once a month. Because real people inhabit the club, I remember saying, these people are America. My boyfriend laughed and responded with the suggestion that we drive through Taco Cabana on the way home (he designated himself the driver, because Winston's has plenty of parking).

As I stuff a fajita chicken taco into my drunk face, that glossy, silver-lined feeling snuck in. I was drunk, sure, and it was just a club, but I've spent so much of the past few years telling myself that one experience outweighs another. I've been so long convinced that the better pursuit in life is the career minded, serious one. And I still agree with that, but maybe it's a good thing to sometimes slip back into that hopeful mindset that with the night comes a million possibilities. And that you only have to "Go out" to find them.

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