Weekends can be better spent at home

Augustine Marinelli

A few weeks ago, I had the occasion to go out with an old friend and a few others to enjoy the nightlife of Philadelphia. My conclusion: I should have gone to bed early.

This served to confirm my longstanding suspicions that weekends in bars are only fun if any combination of the following things are present: a) Someone else foots the bill. b) You meet an attractive, engaging person of the opposite sex. c) Good live music permeates the air.

Well, we might as well scratch condition A, since stuff like this never happens. Live music is self-explanatory. A good band will make the most misanthropic tightwad like me endure the misery I will describe below. (And don’t worry: we’ll get to condition B)

Saturday night often finds me wedged between a grimy door and a new friend as our taxi takes us from University City into Old City. Our friendly driver is only too happy to take us the extra long way while that meter ticks its way over to Chestnut and Third. That ticking meter might as well have been a sign of things to come. The five of us wade our way into a trendy yuppie bar.

After my friends parted with at least 25 bucks, we were forced into an uncomfortably close football huddle so we could drink and talk. Drink was more like it; we couldn’t talk.

The roar of bad disco standards and at least 400 other conversations make it impossible to hear anything.

The shouting rendered me so hoarse that my voice starts cracking like a 12-year old girl.

The intense body heat left me sweating like a T.V. preacher in a brothel. I could only talk to someone by getting very close to them, and (mercifully) I’m not cozying up to anyone under those circumstances.

So why do people subject themselves to such things?

The most popular answer: to meet people. I’m not meeting anyone in there. I’m too busy inhaling someone else’s cigarettes, staring at everyone else’s girlfriends and trying to prevent my voice from cracking any further.

And then what would I do? Corner some poor female victim and subject her to conversational torture? I’d have the privilege of spending at least eight bucks a drink to loosen her up while I make up stories about how interesting and/or sensitive of a guy I am.

If I’m lucky, I’ll manage to poor enough booze down her throat to pry loose her phone number. When I work up the nerve to call her, she’ll realize what 25 dollars worth of liquor-induced haze managed to conceal: You’ll always meet uninteresting people in bars.

Of course, you have to realize that my hypothetical victim was probably just as uninteresting, sweaty, hoarse and miserable as I.

After all, deception is a two-way street in these situations. Where does this evening leave me? Tired, at least 40 bucks poorer (more when I factor in dinner and transportation), hoarse, possibly embarrassed (if I talked to an unlucky female) and pissed off about all of the above.

Luckily, that hypothetical scenario did not play out. It was middle-aged divorcee night at the yuppie establishment I was in. Forty year old women dressing like 20-year old girls is a bad idea. Eventually, I could not stand it anymore.

Secondhand smoking a pack and a half of Marlboros and an overpriced glass of wine had left me with the mother of all headaches.

As I fought to stay awake on the train ride back to Villanova, I realized two things that added insult to injury: First off, I was never getting those six hours back. Secondly, I could have stayed in my dorm and had the same experience for much less money, minus the cigarettes and divorcees.

How? Easy! I could have sampled the bass lines of bad music (courtesy of my neighbors) through my wall, listen to them scream and yell in the hallway and see the girlfriends of my neighbors outside when I made a trip to the bathroom.

This would force me to turn up my own music very loud, drink a glass or two of wine to take the edge off, thus leaving me with the mother of all headaches. I would then ease into unconsciousness with the same regretful anger, for less than half the cost and all in the comfort of my own room.

So in the end, all of this made me realize that weekend bar-hopping is overrated.

All you do is spend money and have a bad time. This makes me want to own my own trendy yuppie bar. If people want to fork over hard-earned cash for such an experience, I see no reason why they should not fork it over to me.