Heather O’Keeffe: Up in the club

Turning 21 is an energizing feeling: you’re finally an “actual” adult that can do adult things and go adult places. When the clock strikes midnight, the government grants you independence and a whole new world of opportunity unfolds. In the words of Beyoncé, “[you’re] a grown woman, [you] do whatever [you] want.” For many the first taste of the this new, exciting world is a trip downtown to West 6th, the hub of nightlife in Cleveland.

This new world is invigorating, yet also a tad overwhelming. Where do you go? What do you do? What do you wear? How do you act? To aid in the transition from the Sparty to Velvet Dog, here are my pro tips (categorized by some of my favorite jams).

“Oh you fancy huh”–Drake

Most days I’m all about messy buns and t-shirts, but on select Friday and Saturday nights I like to make some effort and create a stunning outfit. A big part of the going out experience is looking good, so many ladies spend at least 10 minutes making sure their “nails done, hair done, everything did.” Us ladies, we dress to impress and dress up for the occasion.

Guys, since we women make so much of an effort to look good that Drake literally wrote a song about it, could you maybe, please try a little harder? Throw on some slacks, slick shoes and a nice shirt; reciprocate the fanciness. When you’re getting ready for a night on the town ask yourself, could I work out in this? If the answer is yes, take another look into your closet.

The most important thing, though, when getting ready is choosing an outfit that you are comfortable in. If you spend the whole night pulling your bodycon dress down or your feet are killing from heels, it’s probably not worth it. Find your balance of confidence, fancy and comfortable, and then work it.

“And they going gorillas”–Kanye and Jay-Z

When you convene with your crew, create a tentative game plan. Ask each other what everyone wants to accomplish with their evening. It doesn’t have to be clinical but it should be a little more understandable than “going gorillas” (no one knows what that means, although it does get the people going).

Are people trying to tear up the dance floor or relax over a couple of drinks? Do you plan on sticking together for the evening or is someone trying to make a friend (wink, wink)? Does someone have to head home early for a decent night’s sleep? Or is everyone down to stay out ‘til close? Don’t ever underestimate the importance of setting expectations and having an agreed upon consensus before hitting the club chaos.

“Killin’ someone’s vibe should be a freaking crime”–Rae Sremmurd

While music and alcohol can be intoxicating, don’t forget that you are sharing the establishment with others. No matter how great of a dancer you are (or think you are), you do not own the dance floor. The Bernie is a great move, but remember that someone else is dancing right behind you. Everyone is entitled to their space on the dance floor. This space is limited so try not to impede upon the space of others. Elbows to the face, random butts to the gut and a sharp stiletto to the foot are extremely effective at killing a vibe. Pulling out the whip, hitting the quan or throwing it back to Soulja Boy is awesome, but as long as you stay in your lane.

“Up in the club […] I’m doing my own little thing”–Beyonce

Most importantly, have fun and do your thing. Make a conscious decision to enjoy yourself and the night. Allow the music to sweep you off your feet and steer yourself towards good times. Your feet might hurt, your friends might embarrass you, the line for drinks might be too long or there might be an old man awkwardly lurking in the corner. A night on the town is full of interesting characters, drunk strangers and plenty of opportunities to let drama drive the evening.

Ignore the haters, let loose and when the DJ plays your jam bust a move. You’ve been waiting 21 years for this night, so enjoy the hell out of your new, exciting world.

Heather O’Keeffe is a senior studying biomedical engineering and minoring in sports medicine. She wants to learn the entire “Single Ladies” dance.