I hesitate to call this a survival guide, since it might only add to the intimidation that some guys feel from dance clubs — that fear of being surrounded by Woman Godzillas in high heels and short skirts, and not knowing what to do amid the blasting noise. But hey, survival guide has a nice ring to it, and I’ve done much more than survive by following the guidelines I’ll be sharing with you. This first part will focus more on what you do before you’ve met the girl or socialized.
Know what you’re getting: Let’s say you’re a guy who lives for hip-hop, and without doing your research you pay a $20 cover to enter a club that plays deep house all night. That might ruin your mojo and keep you from being social. I always try to look at the event calendar to know what kind of music to expect, and if I haven’t been there, I’ll research the club on Yelp or ask friends to get some opinions on it. For you San Francisco guys, I use SF Station — they have an active nightly calendar that can hook you up with some discounts.
Be in the right mood when you head out: This part is crucial, and you can read my post on energy for elaboration. I like having a pre-party with some friends or getting some exercise whenever possible to get me in the zone.
Set a goal for the night: What are you really looking for? Do you want to just goof around with your friends and have a good time? Do you want to make friends? Do you want to meet a woman you can see another night? Do you want to make out with a girl or leave the club with her? It amazes me how I often get what I wanted before I got to the venue, and if I had nothing in mind, I’m likelier to get nothing.
If you’re inexperienced with clubs, and you’d like to take a girl home, it may seem pointless to aim so high (though you’re still capable of it). But at least set small goals — dancing with a girl or meeting the staff, for instance. That way you might feel you accomplished something, and you’ll be likelier to come back another night.
Know your logistics beforehand: This applies night or day, but there’s a reason why it’s one of my Big Four. Logistics can make the difference between having a memorable night and going home to drown your sorrows in midget porn. These are all examples of managing logistics:
- If your goal is to get into some post-club activities with a girl that night, be prepared for it. For instance, if your friends are depending on you for a half-hour ride home and you meet someone, you’ll either need to pay their hefty cab fare or mumble to yourself in frustration during the drive back. Also before the night starts, know where and how you’d take her somewhere else. And for Buddha’s sake, keep condoms with you.
- If your club is popular, and waiting on long lines isn’t your thing, show up early or get on a guest list so this won’t happen. Or if you’re a high-roller and with a few friends, you might spring for bottle service. This would create the added logistical benefit of having a place to sit throughout the night. (Although I’ve had fun crashing other people’s tables.) Making friends with the staff, which is a good idea for several reasons, can also get you past the lines.
- Know the lay of the land inside the club. If you haven’t been there, it pays to show up early so you can scout some quiet spots should you need them.
There are, of course, other logistics to consider as you’re getting into trouble during the night. Check out Part II.