Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oh, What a Night! (Middle-Aged Style)

Join me, if you will, on one middle-aged party animal's night on the town.

You primp and you polish, then you glance in the mirror. On a scale of 1-10, you are a *generous* 2.5 You pile on another layer of concealer and decide it will have to do.

Not a parking space to be found for this new hot bar. You cruise around in your minivan for 20 minutes until a decent spot opens up. ("Decent" meaning no more than 50 yards from the door, so as not to render you prone and hyperventilating on the pavement.)

You frown as you size up the crowd. Clearly these must be middle-school students, keeping the Fake ID Industry alive and well. The girl beside you sports a micro-top that reveals most of her as-yet-unsagging cleavage. Her heels measure approximately one-fourth of your full height. You're fairly certain one of your children used to babysit her.

You glance down at your presumably fashionable smock top and hope no one mistakes you as pregnant. It dawns on you that not one person here might imagine you as still of child-bearing age. In between heavy gasps from your 50-yard walk, you sigh.

You shake this off and squeeze through the crowded dance floor because you need a drink. Or six.

When you've made your way to the bar a half-hour later, you order a Miller 64. It's all the calories and alcohol your body can handle. The bartender finishes pouring tequila shots for other customers and sneers at your order. If you were his mother, you'd ground the little bastard.

Finally, you spot your friends in the mob. You attempt to hold a conversation, but you can't hear a word over the music. You nod and smile when anyone appears to say something in your general direction. You make a note to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, right after your mole-check and colonoscopy.

You spend the next couple hours pretending to enjoy the music. The band is playing Oldies, which apparently now consist of songs from the nineties. You don't recognize one. You were too busy during that decade changing diapers and driving to soccer practices to keep up with the latest from Nine Inch Nails.

A couple friends suggest dancing, but you're not entirely sure what type of dance moves this music requires. Besides, your bad knee isn't likely to handle any moves at all.

When Mother Nature calls, you welcome any reprieve from the thump of the bass. You head to the restroom. Pushing and pausing through the endless crowd, you remind yourself to plan ahead for any future bathroom breaks--well before you are once again stooped over and crossing your legs. This wisdom comes in handy tonight the next four or five times you have to pee.

One glance and whiff in the restroom causes you to recoil. You fight back the bile rising in your throat and ransack the room in search of a toilet brush and can of Scrubbing Bubbles. Your quest is futile, since most of the staff here reside blissfully in the questionable hygiene of a college dorm.

As you rush from the restroom one last time, you glance at the clock: Just after midnight. Well past your bedtime!

You shout an apology to your friends and make your way to your minivan. You squint and swear as you crawl down the highway. You need to talk to your optometrist ASAP about this freaking night blindness! But your failing vision is the least of your worries right now. Because, Holy Mother of God, do you need to pee!

The next time your friends call about getting together, you suggest a Saturday luncheon at the art museum cafeteria.

If you're going to feel outdated and ancient, you're going to do so with a hint of class. At a place where no one is likely to flash a fake ID.

But if they ask for your damn AARP card, you're out of there.

Can you still hang with the Wild Ones? What constitutes your big night on the town? What ever happened to cover bands playing the damn Beatles?


  1. I cannot hang in crowded bars or clubs any more. Give me a nice quiet bar with a decent jukebox and some beer specials and I'm a happy camper.

    Of course my buddies and I have a foolproof way of making some elbow room in a bar packed with youngsters. We just start yelling, "Where's my daughter? Is she in here? Is she with that Loser?"

    Instant exodus.

  2. Bluz: Not sure I can stop laughing long enough to deliver that line!!!!

  3. This cracked me up. The last time I went to a "club" I actually had a blast -- it was this bar/dance club in my hometown in PA that catered to the middle-aged and up crowd. It was so much fun! Everyone was just there to dance and have a blast; there was nary a 21-year-old guzzling sugary shots and looking for a hookup to be found. Two thumbs up.

  4. Your writing makes me laugh only second to David Sedaris. And no, I'm not blowing smoke up...nevermind.
    Hats off to you for going. I couldn't do it. The last time I was back home we went to a newly opened dance place. In Smalltown, NY they were charging a cover which makes me crazy, and then we got in and I was you. Miserable. So after my friends and I decided we were done proving that we were young enough, we left and went to one of the local dives that we grew up going to. Beer, peanut shells on the floor, and a foosball table in the back. And we sat all night at a long table straight out of the VFW, shooting the shit until they kicked us out. It was a great, great night.

  5. I'm going out with some friends tonight - after reading this, I'm wondering if it's too late to cancel.

  6. What a great post, Sherry--you know you're preaching to the choir here, as they say. My husband and I joke about this all the time. I know as much as I like to think hitting the dance clubs like we once did could be great fun, I don't kid myself that I would still prefer home with him, homemade drinks (can be cheaper, stronger and don't require any driving!) some stinky Trader Joe's cheese and a movie...

  7. Just reading this post made me tired. Midnight? That time still exists? Ugh.

    Going out for me is going to a small towny dive bar in Maumee and drinking some $1.50 drinks while the juke box plays then I'm home by 11pm at the latest.

  8. Laura: Now, that sounds doable. I'll bet they didn't play any Nine Inch Nails.

    Lyra: And you didn't call me?

    Downith: Ah, you're a few years younger. You'll manage alright. If not, report back here with the details. Misery does love company.

    Erika: Nothing much better than movie night. No Trader Joe's in these parts. Is the stinky cheese worth a drive?

  9. Amanda: Wait a minute--you're FAR too young to sound this old. When I was your age... But now that we're on the same page, is this Maumee bar where we shall meet for our packing/purging break this weekend?

  10. Har Har! Looking back, I'm now certain those places were a waste of time even 'back in the day.'

  11. That's the closest to the bone piece I've read in awhile, Sherry. And those kids in the bar don't just look like Middle Schoolers, I swear they ARE Middle Schoolers and they've shown up to annoy us in this stage of life just like they did way back when.

    I was cracking up that the 'oldies' is 90's music. How freakin' sad is that?! And all wrong, of course. I remember at my 25 yr high school reunion, they'd hired a DJ to play "our music" and we didn't find out until it was too late that his oldies included rap and Eminem. It was a long night.

  12. Zoombag: Back in the day, you'd have found me cutting loose at the front of that dance floor crowd! Now you couldn't find me in the crowd if you tried. Especially since I'm growing shorter.

    Teri: Eminen? Are you serious? He didn't start recording until around 2000 or so, right? Although the man must be going on 40, which makes him an oldie in the eyes of middle-schoolers everywhere...

  13. I never did the bar scene at all -- missed it completely. I've never been so grateful in my life.

    And I'm in completely awe of you -- you stayed up until midnight? I need a running start and a nap to get through New Year's Eve!

  14. Sarah: Oh, the bar scene was fun once upon a time--especially when the band was good. And how did you manage to miss it? I'll bet your hearing is intact and your brain unpickled.

  15. I was at Club Soda a couple of weeks ago. I saw a boy with his pants belted down to his mid-thigh and had to reach to his knees to get his wallet. I don’t even want to know if the child had on boxers or briefs, or worse commando. I only thank the Lord he had on a long shirt. I just drank my beam and diet and smiled.


  16. Anna: Ha!!! I just snorted my Diet (minus the Beam) out my nose! And every time I see a guy trying to walk with his pants sagging to his knees, it reminds me of a toddler waddling around in a full diaper. Very sexy.

  17. Going out in Finland was fun. In the summer, all bars have terraces and the sun doesn't set until 1 or so. After the long winter everyone is manic and ready to party. Finns are so laid back and non-judgmental so there were always people of all ages. It would be just as likely a 20 something would come sit with us as a 50 year old.

    I think we need to take a field trip, Sherry!

  18. You give me such a chuckle!

    I went to a bar the other night with a girlfriend. She had a cup of coffee and I had half of a half pint of draft and I'm not lying when I tell you I woke up with a hangover. So pathetic but, hey, it's how I roll these days. I'm still holding out hope that when my kids get older and move out of the house, starting families of their own, I return to my partying ways. There's nothing cooler looking than a grandma who guzzles whiskey.

  19. Deb: Any bar is infinitely better with a terrace. I'm free all of August. Can we drive there?

    MSB: There is hope for you after the kids are gone. I may not be the party animal I used to be, but I can at least drink a full beer... (You need to take Deb up on that field trip offer.)

  20. Sherry: I haunted coffee bars with live music for the most part -- most of the musicians were my friends.

    I blew out my hearing with metal and orchestral whumpage a long time ago -- and my brain may not be pickled, but salt and preservatives will probably do the job nicely.

  21. You say you like you mean me . . . Oh shit. You DO mean me.

  22. Sarah: Coffee shops with live music are precisely my kind of big night out now! But I will still take a beer over coffee. Only if it's Miller 64, of course.

    Averil: Ha! Yet when we all end up finally meeting for our writers retreat/book club/big bash (which someone better be planning), I'll bet we all morph into wild women. I have no doubt that you still have it in you...

  23. Sherry, I think you may have mistaken me for a younger version of myself.

    P.S. Music was WAY too loud when we went out -I think the band had their speakers turned 11.

  24. Downith: I know, and you won't be able to hear a thing for a week now. I hope they were at least playing something with a good beat that you could dance to. I said I HOPE THEY WERE AT LEAST PLAYING SOMETHING WITH A GOOD BEAT THAT YOU COULD DANCE TO.

  25. What??? Who you calling a dead beat phantom????

  26. This is great! And true. And funny as hell when it's someone else, but me? ME? Yeah, me.

    A hot night out sadly means sitting on the deck with a Corona light or a trip to the CVS for vitamins. Just shoot me now.

  27. Downith: Is that what I said? Sadly, my memory's fading, too.

    Lisa: Exactly. And do you need your reading glasses for those vitamin labels?