You can find me in the club

Clubbing a rare chance to get out of your shell, escape Hyde Park

By Alison Howard

Tonight, barring any unforeseen disasters or the regaining of my senses, you will find me in the club. Club Volkan, that is: an 18-and-up Latin dance club. I have made elaborate plans with several like-minded friends to attend this nightspot, including a trip to Forever 21 in search of sparkly tops. We made our decision between Club Volkan and Club Mambo, another Chicago venue catering to the underage, which reportedly can accommodate up to 1,500 “aspiring hipsters.” The prospect of Mambo was too terrifying, not to mention too close to day-to-day existence here at UChicago, so Volkan (which I have to repeatedly remind myself to not pronounce “Vulcan”) won.

From what I can tell, these plans are mostly out of character for me, a girl who, embarrassingly, has never been to a frat party at this school. When asked about this, I normally cite a friend’s assertion that you haven’t really been to a fraternity until you’ve had beer spilled on you, and my lack of enthusiasm, snob that I am, about such an occurrence.

Nevertheless, my lack of interest in campus fraternities does indeed make my desire to go to a nightclub strange. (Kudos, however, to the brother gyrating in the Psi U window last Thursday night.) I own both Old School and the music video for Ke$ha’s TikTok, so I know that both frats and nightclubs have the same basic ingredients: small, enclosed spaces for dancing and alcohol. So why in the world do I think going to a club is going to be more worthwhile than a campus party that is, in many ways, “club lite”?

Coat check is a big factor. Dressing in Forever 21 “sexy gear” is much more appealing when it can be covered with a more generous (generous referring to the amount of fabric) garment guaranteed to be in your possession for the return journey. An editorial entreating either fraternities to add coat checks or Chicago to remove the need for coats may be in order, but I’m guessing that it would be a waste of words.

But that’s obviously not the biggest factor. The reality is that going to a club like Volkan is a break from my reality. It is entirely outside of my realm of experience, not only in the partying sort of way (un)seen (by me) at the frats, but in most imaginable ways. I’ll be in an unfamiliar place wearing unfamiliar clothes. I would say I’d be dancing to unfamiliar music, but I’ve been preparing for that one with my iTune’s playlist. Sure, there will be the familiarity of my friends, but the important part is that we’ll be out of Hyde Park. The point of this experience is to put ourselves out of place.

I see the consequences of this night in at least two ways, barring any unforeseen disasters and the loss of my self-control. It could be terrible—lots of sleazy guys insisting on dances (surely due to my gender and not my limited dancing abilities), coats lost at coat check, even beer spilled. Or we could have a great time. In the first case, I get to reevaluate my normal, boring life at UChicago, and realize all the great things about the opportunities for fun (frat or otherwise) on campus. In the second, I’ve found something new and wonderful to enjoy. Either way, it doesn’t seem like too bad of a way to spend an evening.

This must be what that saying, “Do the thing that terrifies you!,” is all about. Unless you’re terrified of going to Club Mambo.

— Howard is a second-year in the College.