One would think I'd be well aware that I don't belong in the club scene. I don't like hip-hop, I can't dance, and I prefer talking to dry-humping as a communication medium. I don't like crowds, nor do I like my drinks to be overpriced.
Tonight, I started my night at a quiet little dive bar, as is my style. I karaoked, I had a beer and two or three Absolut screwdrivers. Then I got stupid. As one might expect, there was an attractive female involved, but that is more of a lead-in to my talk of clubs.
I get to the club and have to wait in line. Luckily, I remember talk of pat-downs and metal detectors, so I leave my knife in the car. I wait my turn, patiently get checked for weapons, and pay to get in. I'm not big on paying to go somewhere I'll be spending money, but I may have said I'd be there, and I don't go back on my word.
I spot the girl I'm meeting, and she's playing pool. In my sort of bars, the hustlers will let you win once or twice, then increase the bets. In this club, a guy is playing pool with her, and it looks like it could be a way to pass the time, except for the number of quarters he's put on the table. Apparently, he notices my suspicion or just realized I was not the sort who'd sit back and allow him to play his little game, so he tells me "friendly game--just friendly game." After his next shot, he realizes I'm not convinced and says "we're all friends--just a friendly game." Well, that's pretty much the easiest way to tell he's a hustler, since anyone else would be less worried about convincing me.
Turns out, near the end of the game, he decides to make a wager. The girl on the other side of it doesn't go for it, and she even has someone else make her final shots. Later, he tries to apologize, but she sees through that. After seeing him try for a few moments, I wait for him to be out of her earshot (in a loud club, that could actually be inches). I tell him that he'd be better off leaving her alone if he wants to hustle any more pool.
In the bars I go to, a hustler who tries to impose a bet on a near-finished game wouldn't be hustling long. And he certainly wouldn't be hanging around trying to hustle the same people twice.
Also, the bars I go to charge about as much for Absolut as this club did for McCormick, and they aren't so full you touch people everywhere you move.
The icing on the cake was when a bartender saw me come over to her little beer/jello shots portion of the bar with two ladies, sold me three jello shots she saw me divvy up, and she asked whether I was with anyone or just hanging out. I told her I thought I was with those two, but I wasn't so sure any more. She was nice about it and said that sometimes things are different in that sort of setting. I left shortly thereafter, since it was obviously not my scene, but their scene.
Whatever happened to music that had a melody rather than just a bass line? What happened to hustlers who make bets before a game starts? What happened to walking into a bar and not being searched? What happened to music just loud enough that it would drown out others' conversations, but not those at your table?
What went wrong when we decided bars should become clubs?