Welcome back! (I know it’s been awhile)
This installment of my list may seem a bit odd because the list is all about doing things before you turn 25 and this item is about going backwards a bit to when you were 17. Well, I am a firm believer in staying young and not aging “before your time”, and I want to make sure this one life that i’ve got to live is lived right. The way I want. I want to make sure the time I have here isn’t wasted. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of times where I could have gone out on the town or been off gallivanting around outside in the woods on a pretty day, but instead I stayed in and ..oh idk… binge watched Netflix (Supernatural all day erry day. AMIRIGHT!?) Don’t act like you haven’t done it either. Everyone needs a Netflix and chill kind of day every now and then. I also don’t mean that the way these youngins use it nowadays. My Netflix and chill means ‘I’m going to sit around in my sweats with my dog and cat, eat noodles, probably drop a few on myself, and not give a single…’ you get the point. Yes, there have been many of those days throughout the years, but I do also believe that you are only as old as you feel. I’m not going to stop doing fun, silly stuff until I physically can’t anymore. Why would I? I can use my ‘old’ days when I’m actually ‘old’, like when i’m 104 and my search for the Fountain of Youth has finally failed.
For this list item, I tried to think back to when I was 17. What was I doing? What was I thinking? What horrible thing was I wearing that I thought was really cool at the time? I also tried to think of things that I could do that I wouldn’t normally still do. Watch Disney movies? No, I still do that. Go shopping and make occasional questionable purchases? Still do that too. I thought for sure that black and white tribal print body con slit skirt would be a hit. Well, I was wrong. So finally, I landed on something that I could technically still do now, but wouldn’t normally still do it. So I decided to make a trip to Masque.
If you are not familiar with the Dayton area, Masque is a gay club located downtown that is sort of a local ‘hot spot’ for many teenagers in and around Dayton. It has changed a decent amount from when I used to go there when I was a teenager (which I discovered when I was there), however, the overall nature of the place is the same. A loud 18 and up nightclub in a smallish metropolitan area that is fun while at the same time being a bit shady. More on that later.
So I gathered up some friends, read: 1 friend who agreed to go with me. Come on guys! Live a little! We proceeded to get all fancy because you are going to Masque guys! Its the “hottest place in Dayton”! You have to look good. It had been awhile since I had been to Masque and some things were unavoidably different on this visit than when I was 17. (Also, the fact that I was 17 when I went to Masque and not 18 may be surprisingly to some who know that the age to get in was a strict 18. I, as the rule breaking rebel that I was at 17, used to use a friend’s ID to get in because I was the baby of the group and didn’t turn 18 until later. I am very aware that the fact that I used a ‘fake ID’ to get into Masque and not to, I don’t know, buy alcohol makes me suuuuppppeeerrrr cool.)
Here are the things that I noticed that have and have not changed. Let me set the scene for you:
First off, we started our night at a bar because we are adults (or something like that) now who can legally drink and let’s be honest, there is no way i’m going to Masque sober anymore. Also, now we drink things like craft beer and good whiskey and didn’t down beforehand some cheap liquor and random mixer (it didn’t really matter, as long as we could taste as little alcohol as possible). Not that I ever actually did that before of course… you know i’m just hypothetically speaking. We arrived at the familiar parking lot with its parking attendant stand that was never and is still never attended. The line was nonexistent as we passed through the oddly unmarked door to enter the club. I remember when the line used to be out the door and snaking around the building. It seems Masque has lost some of it’s popularity since I was in high school. As opposed to the times I went to Masque before, I did not feel like hot shit this time when I walked in. In fact, I sorta slunk in and felt real weird handing over my ID that said 24. Were the door guys judging me? I feel like they probably were. This time when I paid my $5-10 dollars to get in, I did not receive giant unwashable Xs on my hands. Thank god, I do not need to be waking up with residual Xs on my face the next day.
We wandered into the first floor room which was much different from what I remember. I remember the first floor always had drag shows and there wasn’t hardly room to pass through the crowd. Maybe it was just the night we went, but this felt more like I just walked into a better lit, less shady Hammerjax (remember that place?! Speaking of places no one should ever go. For all my similarly aged Daytonians, you know it’s not there anymore? There was just one too many shootings I guess.) The music was definitely different on this first floor and there weren’t nearly as many people. I was actually able to walk through to the stairs without getting a brush of an arm or an unwanted hand on the small of my back. Talk about bliss. But the upstairs, the upstairs was always where the ‘party was.’ We climbed the stairs and got the obligatory up and down from at least one random dude who was just hanging out in the stairwell. You know, cause that’s the ‘cool’ place to be.
The second floor was similar to how I remembered it. The same multi-colored swooping lights, the same platform in the middle of the floor, the same shady couch area where you could always find at least one couple vigorously making out, and you always wondered how nasty those couches would look under a black light. There were the same shirtless guys walking around offering shots of some unknown, sweet liquor shot. Obviously, these men were actually different people, or at least I really hope so, but their ‘uniforms’ were the same. Abs, underwear, and more abs. The same repetitive techno music, now with a little more dubstep mixed in, blasted too loud from the speakers as young hopefuls grinded (ground?) all around us. There were, however, many more young men without shirts on than I remember. Not the ones that were working, just guys frequenting the club. I understand it is hot, but is that an acceptable thing now? No. Put your shirt on. Stop it. There was also the same feeling of euphoria when they blast that fog over you, you know the one, and for the 10 seconds it’s on you don’t even care that there is a random dude creeping up behind you under the relative safety of the fog cover. When I was 17, when someone would come up behind and dance with you there were signals we used to tell one another if he was cute. Guys, if you are ever dancing with someone and their friends make a weird, out of the blue hand motion, they are signalling whether or not you are cute. I didn’t make up the rules, that’s just how it goes. If you creep up behind someone at a club and start dancing with them you evoke club law. Another thing that hasn’t changed: the utter determination of the ‘creepers.’ It was difficult to shake them when I was 17, and difficult to shake them now. Even though i’m much more direct now than I was when I was younger. Yet it seems that the 2015 creeper is in possession of the same deflection shield as the 2008 model.
Contrary to popular belief, and I can’t believe i’m saying this, I just want to dance. I did not come here to feel your hot breath on my neck, which is in no way welcome by the way. It is almost astounding to me the sheer resiliency of some people, or maybe it is just ignorance on purpose. I can’t see any other way that you don’t understand that when
A.) my friends pull me away to dance with them
B.) I “suddenly” want to get on the platform and dance there (we used to call it ‘high ground’ because they couldn’t get us there)(unless they were the more evolved form which tracked you there)
C.) I legitimately turn around to you and shake my head and step away. This is my technique now that i’m older. Shockingly, it still doesn’t work.
D.) ALL THREE!
Now don’t get me wrong, i’ve danced with plenty a gent when i’ve gone to a club. But there is a definite difference between dancing with a creeper and dancing with a normal bloke. The latter are harder to find, but I can tell you they won’t try and grope you after half a JT song. This past time I went to Masque I did indeed dance with a few guys. It wouldn’t have been a trip to Masque without a few dances. Dare I say, I even ‘grinded’ (seriously, ground? I honestly don’t know) with one guy. Woo craazzyy! Although, then I saw that he had Xs on his hands and I got really weirded out and slunk quickly away. A huge difference from this visit was that I was able to actually buy drinks at Masque and not just annoy the bartenders for water. There are also bathroom attendants now. I don’t remember them ever being there before, but now Masque is apparently upscale enough to have them. I did have a lovely conversation with one on one of my numerous trips to the bathroom. Two huge differences from the 17 year old me’s trips to Masque and the 24 year old me’s trip was that 1.) we left before the lights came on and 2.) we didn’t stop at Steak and Shake or Speedway (for slushis) on the way home. Although, 24 year old me would have gladly stopped for chicken fingers and cold drinks we just decided not to that night. Also, 25 year old me really wants a slushi now.
That sorta wraps up my last (possibly ever) trip to Masque. I’m sure if you’ve ever been to Masque that one or more of these things i’ve mentioned you’ve witnessed as well. As much as the sarcasm and snide remarks I made in these last few paragraphs may lead you to believe that I had a terrible time and that I have a very low opinion of Masque, I assure you this isn’t at all true. I really did have a good time! I’m sure that probably has a lot to do with the company and my normally cheerful disposition, but regardless I had a fun time. We danced, goofed off with strangers,
paid for overpriced beers, avoided the creepers, threw our hands up in the cold fog, and had a good time. Not saying that i’m going to be at Masque every weekend because i’m definitely not. I’m also not saying that i’m super over going to clubs to go dancing. I went to plenty of clubs in China and elsewhere, but those feel different.
Masque feels like a different time in my life. A time that is over, and that’s OK. I know I said at the beginning of this post that I believe in ‘staying young’ and I still do. I think it has much more to do with the fact that I was such a different person when I was 17. Just because I thought a place was fun when I was 7 years younger, doesn’t mean I still have to think it’s cool now. It would be like still playing with those Polly Pockets you got on your 7th birthday, when you are 17. You’ve just sort of grown out of them. That’s ok, as long as you never feel like you’ve grown out of having fun and being goofy. You are never too old to laugh and goof around. Anyone telling you otherwise has obviously spent one too many nights in with Netflix. Go! Get out and be goofy. That is something that will never age. That and legos. Legos are always fun.
Until next time,
Adventure is out there (although sometimes you may have to make some yourself), so never stop exploring!