Photo: Izabella Balcerzak

How to survive a straight club

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By Jen Chan

So you have these new pals you just made, and you’re all trying really hard to be friends with each other. You’re doing the thing where you recognize each other on the street and actually make eye contact and say hi, instead of staring at a point above their right ear trying to pretend you didn’t notice each other.

Your new pals are really cool, and you’ve actually got tons in common with each other, you think—until they invite you over for a pre and then what they promise will (but very likely will not be) a very lit night out on the town.

As someone who has suffered through what has got to be more than her fair share of extremely unlit nights (the benefits of having lived in Waterloo), I’ve learned some tips and tricks to try to cope with the unbearable straightness of it all. Here are some important things to do to help you survive the night:

1. Form a gay square on the dance floor

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but in the event that you’re unable to locate enough other queers to invade the dance floor with: you’re going to have to find another way to queerify your space. Protect yourself from accidentally grinding up against a straight person you have less than zero interest in, and dive into dancing within the circle of your friends.

2. Remember how weird they are about their bathrooms

Quick reminder: straight clubs really like their gender binaries. Accidentally walking into the “wrong” bathroom could be potentially disastrous, because that kind of thing bizarrely matters at straight clubs. You may be tempted as you find yourself looking longingly at the blissfully deserted men’s room as the women’s queue stretches out the door and down the hallway, but you’re going to need to resist it.

On the other hand, security probably patrols any given straight club’s bathrooms 10 times less than at Crews. Get yourself a great gay-hookup-in-a-straight-club-bathroom story for the next pre if you can.

3. Play “spot the other queers”

Once you’ve returned from your bathroom adventure back to the vantage point of your gay square (or ally circle), keep your eyes peeled for anyone else who’s got the same look of morbid fascination and/or slight despair that you recognized in your own reflection in the bathrooms. It might take a while, but eventually the right opportunity might present itself.

And by that, I’m referring to being able to spot the only other people in the club who can keep up with you when Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home” comes on.

4. Immediately leave when the country music comes on

I’m sorry you ended up at that straight club. I’ve been there too, only in my case someone got the DJ to stop Nicki in the middle of “Anaconda,” to switch to a country song so that everyone could start learning how to line dance.

At this point you are fully allowed to sidestep the spontaneous yet eerily well-choreographed line dancing and congratulate yourself on having put forth your best effort. That’s what I did.

5. Check Tinder on your way home

Remind yourself that the world consists of so much more than what your night had morphed into. And try to promise yourself that you don’t have to put yourself through all of it again, especially if you come across one of your new friends on gay Tinder as you’re swiping away.

Good luck!

(Note: the author hasn’t actually stepped foot in a straight club in nearly a year)

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