It’s hard to be a single woman, but the upsides are exquisite at a nightclub.
Before you even go clubbing, you have to make sure you’re wearing the cutest high heels possible. ("Oh my God, they hurt, but tonight I’ll break them in.") You have to wear the right dress. You put your face on.
Then you join up with your girlfriends. ("Do I look cuter than them? Or do they think they look cuter than me?")
Actually, clubbing starts way before this process, because Vegas is all about maximizing. Maximizing consists of pregaming: You go to the gym, get your unwanted body hair removed by lasers and wax, shop for clothes, shoes and makeup despite the debt you’re lugging from loans, credit cards and the recession.
There’s the maximizing of looking your best on Facebook and Twitter, and picking friends who are good eggs, who won’t hit on your man, or who won’t block you from leaving a club with a man.
Anyway, so you arrive at Gallery nightclub at the Paris in your toweringly tall shoes, with your waxed gym body and your (hopefully trustworthy and nondramatic) girlfriends.
The club lets you in for free and probably lets you skip the line simply for being a lady in a dress, then you await offers of free drinks and attention (the upside) — but knowing there could be the occasional unwanted grope or awkward conversation from a strange, inebriated man (the price you pay).
You look around. The club is jam-packed, and everyone is pretty, handsome or at least maximizing. How are you going to compete against all these other hot women?
There are hot female models employed by the club and dressed in S&M bondage and wedding dresses, and several wear bikinis while they simulate girl-on-girl erotica.
There are hot cocktail waitresses in itsy-bitsy outfits, smiling at men and touching their arms to get them to order drinks, raising these men’s confidence and expectations for affection from regular women.
As for those regular women in competition, do you see that one there? The young beautiful one dancing with the older mustachioed guy smoking a cigar? Yeah, she and her type will snare all the rich guys.
Look at that brunette over there with her friends. She’s literally flapping the front of her skirt up and down as a sort of Morse code — flash-flash-flash ("hi there"), flash-flash-flash ("soup’s on"). How are you going to compete against that brand of siren?
When men look at you, they wonder, "What exactly is this woman here for? Are you competing for a man?" If so, you must understand club guys aren’t at their most George Clooney-esque suave. Men are on the hunt and will speak to you as such.
But that’s OK, because men assume you are on the prowl too — unless you’re here only to party with girlfriends, or unless you’re just looking for free drinks, or unless you’re celebrating a birthday with your boyfriend, or unless you’re playing tourist-host for your friends from out of town and you don’t want them to see you in full-force party tilt.
For men, trying to figure out what a woman wants at a club is like guessing where the ball will land on a roulette wheel. Men will keep their eyes on the ball, willfully hopeful against the odds.
Most guys will mind their manners. But look at those two dillweed guys near the DJ booth. They just walked up and put their hands up that girl’s dress, and she jumped away, freaked out. Fortunately, she’s familiar with clubs, so she goes about her business and five minutes later, she’s smiling and dancing.
At the end of the night, your feet feel crippled, after dancing for hours on high heels and mysterious intentions. You may even put Band-Aids on your feet mid-clubbing experience.
But then again, it’s worth it, right? To club is to embrace an extravagance of living a full life, if you’re into it. Girls grind on men. Men grind on women. It’s by and large the consensual and freeing dance of life, and you look cute, and people are looking at you, and you know the words to the songs, and it’s certainly better than being at work. For in the club, every woman is a girly princess, who just might be open to the idea of running off with an overnight prince.
And that’s why it’s awesome to be a man in a nightclub.
Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.