It took two hours of applying make-up, blow-drying, straightening and scrunching hair and trying on outfits every Thursday night to get ready for Pop Scene, our favorite nightclub. After sitting on the bus for an hour, we walked over two blocks, and rested our loveliness directly at the bar to order two Tokyo Teas.
“Hey man,” David Bowie sang out. We dropped our conversation and ran to the dance floor. A special blend of madness and chutzpah allows twenty-five year old women not ready to grow into wives and mothers the ability to keep rhythm and grace in three-inch heels.
One Thursday I attracted an admirer: a pale blond who wore black eyeliner. “I can’t find my friend,” I said over Brit pop guitar. She had a habit of leaving me alone at the club and it was beginning to annoy me. “Now every one thinks I’m up for grabs.”
“I’ll help you find her,” he said. I clasped my fingers around his shoulders and he guided me forward through the crowd.
I haven’t got a thing to wear, Morrissey whined.
“I’m Evan,” the blond said.
One look into his kohl-lined eyes and I could tell he was looking for an unobtainable female to flirt with, shower with compliments, and use to torture himself mentally and emotionally.
“Lighten up, sweetie,” Natalie said when we found her. “Isn’t he cute?” I looked over to see a black-haired guy staring at Natalie’s backside. “Do me a favor. Find out his name and tell me when I get back.”
“David,” I said, glancing away from Evan, swirling around when she returned to join us in the sea of black clothes on the dance floor.
During the day we folded three hundred dollar sweaters in a boutique for what, after deductions and bus fare, was minimum wage. But at Pop Scene we were like the languid paper thin models with disheveled hair we saw in the store’s ads, wearing silk soft enough to wrap a baby in, but with necklines low enough to raise the eyebrows of strangers on the street. These were the dreams we’d had since we were little girls saving our allowances for tight, shiny dresses that said, “I’m here so watch in wonder.”
Friday morning we always recapped who was kissing whom, who went home with someone they shouldn’t and who looked the best on the dance floor. “I think I’ll wear this next Thursday,” Natalie would say, holding up a sequined shirt that would set us back a rent payment.
“You’ll look gorgeous in it,” I’d tell her, holding up a knee-length beauty made of three different kinds of lace. “I’ll wear this.”
We’d laugh, thinking of the looks of envy we’d get walking into Pop Scene the next Thursday night. The girls with a hint of green in their eyes, shoving us with their shoulders and purses on the dance floor, never able to touch what we had to offer.
published 27 March 2013