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Sunday, April 21, 2024

The Art of Flying Solo, Topic 2: Cover Charge — and a Change

Over the weekend, I got to thinking about the implications of the dance club cover charge. Essentially an admission fare into a land of fun, the door fee resounds for most of us as a common annoyance that we overlook in order to fulfill an evening need. In some ways, the anticipation generated while waiting is better than the reality on the other side. As I stood in a meandering-yet-moving line of hopefuls unluckily absent from a promoter's guest list, I observed a number of kiddies chattering and texting as they anxiously killed time. Even though the line had yet to cross the path of the bouncer blockade, I could detect a general sense of excitement in the dolled-up crowd. Hair and makeup had not yet been mussed by the humidity that results from gyrating hips, and untucked oxford shirts were still crisp and free of drunkie spill stains. The night was young, the mob was hot and the prospect of an epic night was still an option.

As one who has a history of dating guys who either play in a rock band, create art, have ironic tattoos or over-intellectualize fashion photography (because they are hoping it will one day land them a girl on the runway... I'm on to you boys!), I will come clean and say the typical men who frequent the Midtown scene do not readily fit the "type" of guy people assume I'm attracted to. But let me fill you all in on another secret: Those who jump to that conclusion are dead wrong. As much as I cannot deny the immediate (albeit frustrating) attraction I have toward men likening Chris Martin, how could I possibly write off the clean-cut, J. Crew, "preppy" guy a la Chris O'Donnell circa mid- to late-'90s? Plus, I never got to wear my super-short, tight, spaghetti-strap, sparkly dress purchased and previously designated to New Year's Eve. It was time for some clubbing.

(Before I go any further, let me just say that yes, I know that there are lots of types of people who hang out in Midtown. But for brevity's sake, let me just talk broadly and generalize the hell out of this area of Gainesville. Thanks.)

Let's get back to the line outside of the club in Midtown. I'm watching people grow anxious and pumped to go inside when it occurs to me that the way into a dance club is kind of an odd thing. Here, there was a large congregation of people willing to waste a chunk of their weekend on anticipation: the closeness of a good time within view yet not quite reached. I came to the conclusion that the mystery that characterizes the admittance process is the justification of the cover charge.

Of course, some attendees such as ultra-good looking girls get the go-ahead with ease, but it occurred to me that even this is part of the mystery game. Through the act of organizing a hierarchy based on superficial qualities and parading those who trump the tower to the front of the line, the combination of jealousy and longing to get in continues to multiply with every minute spent waiting. Bouncers can play their safety card of "capacity issues," but anyone with a brain knows that a packed club is a popular club, and a popular club is a moneymaker.

While thinking about these shenanigans, I reached the point where it was my turn to show some ID. Rifling through my handbag in search of my (seemingly undercover) wallet, I could tell the door guy was getting annoyed by my lack of preparedness. "Lady, what have you been doing all this time in line that you couldn't have your ID ready?" his facial expression screamed after I finally found the almighty money holder.

Having passed 21 ages ago, I was motioned in with the rest of the herd, stopped only once more to pay cover. Was it worth it? You'll have to wait until next week to find out.

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