Most of my Saturday nights begin the same way. Around 10-ish I cash out the last few customers at my part-time serving job, finish the tedious task of hand-rolling bundles of silverware and count my tips. Then I head to my girlfriend’s house and we debate our options: Stay in and give ourselves pedicures? Grab a mellow drink at Lahaina Coolers? Wait around until nearly Last Call, then race over to the Sly Mongoose and pretend we’ve been raging all night?
On nights when my friend gets a new pair of sexy heels in the mail that she ordered online—which is more often than you’d think—we go out dancing. It’s a good excuse, though we also go out dancing to celebrate birthdays, going-away parties, new boyfriends, break ups, good hair days and days ending in “y.”
So I spend the obligatory 20 minutes in her walk-in closet trying on low-cut tops and mini skirts, play with all 12 of her shades of MAC eye shadow and then slip in to at least half a dozen pairs of adorable-though-expensive do-me pumps before heading back to my house to put on some of my own, much less sexy but far more comfortable clothes (which look eerily like what I wore the last time we went dancing) and we’re on our way.
These days we lean towards the Oyster Bar in Lahaina. Yes, it’s crowded, the music’s nearly always the same and there’s often a 20-minute wait at the door, but when all you want to do is take turns buying Red Headed Sluts and Irish Car Bombs for your friends and shake your bon bon somewhere other than in front of the mirror in your bedroom, crowded and repetitive does nicely. Plus there’s a cute bartender.
At the top of the wide, wooden steps there are a couple of black-clad bouncers nervously watching the door. As we walk up to them, they scrutinize us, our outfits and photo IDs, then pretend to ignore us as we pass into the bar. It’s dim inside, but not so dark that I can’t clearly see the randy couple playing tongue twister all the way on the other side of the room.
The tables and chairs that line the room by day are absent and the big windows that overlook the exhibition kitchen are dark. Colorful party lights swirl around the dance floor; on a large screen in the corner, a strange black and white video plays, though no one seems to be watching. Legions of night owls pack into every nook and cranny in the room.
Girls stand around in groups, some in slinky black dresses or glittery tops and heels, others casually dressed in jeans and slippers. The guys, who outnumber the ladies at least two to one, guard the bar or yell over the music to their buddies.
A few brave souls have taken over the dance floor, grooving to a remix of “Billie Jean.” A girl dances circles around a dumbstruck but very happy guy whose best move looks something like cross-country skiing meets throwing the dice.
Not feeling the Michael Jackson, we head to the bar. This is where we start to get into trouble, because Jagermeister shots are just $3 and, after the first one, they go down much too easy. Our saving grace is that the bar’s usually crowded, which slows the service enough so that a good song usually comes on before we can do much damage.
The DJ—usually DJ Nutmeg on Saturdays—plays a familiar mix of old school hip hop, new-ish R&B and dance music. Prince meets the Black Eyed Peas and then melds into Blondie.
It’s funky enough—and the drinks are kicking in—so I hit the dance floor with my girlfriend and we shake our butts under the watchful eye of the group of guys that lean on the railing separating the dance floor from the designated drinking area. But I avoid making eye contact with anyone who might be looking for an invitation to join in on the fun.
Some time around Last Call we teeter down the steps to join the mob of smokers gathered outside. After parties and late night food options are discussed, we wander home to warm beds and raging hangovers.
Most of my Sunday mornings begin the same way, too. MTW